By Jenelyn Russo     2/13/2015

The path to leadership for a student athlete can take many forms. For Scott Wesierski, being one of a handful of returning players on Santa Margarita Catholic High School’s varsity boys’ basketball team this season has called on the power forward to step up as a leader to a group of young but talented teammates.

“I want to continue to lead my team…so they can continue to perform to the best of their abilities,” says Wesierski. “I still think we can continue to grow and continue to get better.”

Wesierski has been playing basketball for as long as he can remember, following in the footsteps of his father, who also played the game.

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“I took a liking to it as soon as I started playing,” says the 18-year-old. “I never got tired of it.”

The senior credits his years playing the game with helping to shape his growth as a leader. And in this season that welcomes several newcomers to the squad, Wesierski has had to call upon those leadership skills, a step that Santa Margarita boys’ basketball head coach Jeff Reinert sees Wesierski handling with ease.

“Scott is one of the special ones you come across in your time as a basketball coach,” says Reinert. “He has the ability to relate to all different players on our team and help guide and direct them. We will have a successful season because of Scott.”

Coming off of last year’s CIF Championship and in his final season at Santa Margarita this year, Wesierski is grateful for the chance to represent his school and for the support his classmates have given him in return.

“I think I’m going to miss the most playing in front of a crowd that really cares about me and really knows me as a person,” says Wesierski of the school’s spirited student section, The Eagles Nest. “It’s been really fun playing in front of them, just knowing that they always have my back. It’s almost like they’re a part of the team.”

The Lake Forest resident is still exploring his options for after graduation, but is eyeing a career in business management with hopes of continuing to play basketball at the collegiate level.

But he is already taking the lessons learned from years of playing hoops and using them to affect students’ lives outside of the game. Through leadership roles at school retreats, Wesierski has been able to connect with others through their faith.

“I feel like I’ve opened kids’ minds to God and their faith and I feel like I’ve really helped them continue on their path,” says Wesierski. “So that’s something I’m pretty proud of, because it’s being a leader on and off the court.”