By JENELYN RUSSO     8/14/2016

Maizie Gonzales first stepped on the basketball court at the age of five, following in her father’s footsteps, a former basketball player for Servite High School.

The Cornelia Connelly High School junior plays power forward for the Koalas and enjoys that position for both the pace and the challenge.

“I really like it because it’s very fast paced, and I like to shoot the ball,” says Gonzales of playing power forward.

Competitive by nature, Gonzales’ participation as a student athlete at Connelly doesn’t stop on the basketball court. The 16-year old also plays volleyball and softball for the Koalas, and while she is a newer player to those sports, it’s the intrigue behind trying new things that keeps Gonzales active.

“I play volleyball because it’s very fun to play…It’s really fun to learn it and get to know how to do it,” says Gonzales. “And for softball, it’s a new experience and really fun.”

Having played on a number of teams over her younger years, representing her high school as a basketball player holds a special place for Gonzales.

“It’s fun to play as a team because it’s fun to get to know people [who] like to do the same thing as you do,” says Gonzales of playing basketball for Connelly.

Not unlike many student athletes, Gonzales finds the confidence side of her game to be the most challenging to navigate, but she’s working each season to improve upon that, both for herself and her teammates.

“I have a lot of trouble with being confident in what I’m doing,” says Gonzales. “This year, I really stepped out of my shell with my team.”

As one of the younger players on the squad, Gonzales has made an impact on her team, and especially on her coach, Scott Sangren.

“Maizie is a soft-spoken girl on and off the court, but her play is that of a hard-nosed veteran who wants to compete and win,” says Sangren. “She plays hard on defense and hits timely shots for us on offense. She usually guards the other team’s best offensive player and can normally shut them down. She is a very important part of our team and our school, and she is a joy to coach. I’m glad to have her back another two years.”

As she looks ahead to life after high school, the Cypress resident has her eyes on University of California, Davis with plans to study to be a veterinarian. Away from athletics, Gonzales enjoys cooking and drawing and is a member of Connelly’s chapter of Spanish National Honor Society.

Grateful for her parents who serve as her strongest role models, Gonzales patterns her approach to both sports and life after their commitment to hard work, especially her father, whose experience playing basketball has no doubt influenced his daughter’s love for the sport.