By Josh Brown
Miami Valley Today
TROY — Tia Bass had her choice of colleges.
But in reality, she had made her choice long ago.
“I’ve played there every summer since freshman year,” Bass said. “It’s a college that caught my eye. I’ve had so many options, but Wilmington just caught my eye.”
And during a ceremony Wednesday at the Trojan Activities Center, the Troy High School senior — a standout athlete in both basketball and softball — signed her National Letter of Intent to continue her basketball career at Wilmington College.
And when asked what played a role in her decision — the team’s coaches or players, or even the college itself — Bass chose all of the above.
“All three,” Bass said. “The coaches had open arms, constantly asking how I was doing. The girls were super nice when I went and met them, and the campus is just really nice and has a really nice energy.”
In the end, though, the biggest factor may have been how close Wilmington is to Troy, so she could remain near her family.
“I had Ohio Northern, a school in Canton, some options from North Carolina and Florida and a graphic design school in New York. But I wanted to stick close to home,” Bass said. “With my parents both sick, I didn’t want to go far.“
As a center for Troy’s girls basketball team, Bass has been a force since her freshman year. She led the Greater Western Ohio Conference in rebounding her junior year and is currently second in the Miami Valley League this season. And later Wednesday night after her signing, she became the Trojans’ all-time career record holder in rebounding during a victory over Stebbins.
“Tia has been a dominant presence, and she established that her freshman year,” Troy girls basketball coach Aaron Johnson said. “She’s one of the best, if not the best, post players to come through here. And not just from a scoring aspect, but she’s the school record holder in rebounding. Our offense has gone through Tia for the last four years, and we wouldn’t have had the success we’ve had the last four years if she wasn’t a part of the program.”
And even though officially signing was a weight off of her shoulders, Bass still has plenty to work for during her senior year before leaving for Wilmington in the fall.
“I still have the rest of basketball season and then softball left,” Bass said. “I want to go far in the tournaments — that’s what I’m trying to accomplish still. Plus I’m three home runs away from the career record in softball, so I’ve still got to beat that.”
And Johnson knows that once Bass — who plans to study graphic design — sets a goal, it’s only a matter of time.
“Even more than her productivity on the court, watching her mature into the leader she is today (has been great),” Johnson said. “As a freshman, she was kind of wide-eyed and lost, and every year her maturity level and leadership role has increased. And she’s stepped up on her own and improved herself as a player. It’s been great to see the growth of this young girl into a young woman that, I think, is going to have a lot of success at Wilmington.
“When she puts her mind to it, she’s unstoppable. And this next step for her — not just in a basketball sense, but her education, as well — is just going to be a stepping stone to even more success.”
Contact Josh Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.
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