By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
Tori Teesateskie, a senior member of the Cherokee Lady Braves varsity basketball team, will continue her career at the next level as a Johnson (Univ.) Lady Royal. She signed a letter of intent in the Charles George Memorial Arena on the morning of Friday, April 5, to play for Johnson University, based in Kimberlin Heights, Tenn.
“It’s very exciting,” said Teesateskie who first picked up a basketball at the age of five. “I’m excited that I get the opportunity to go to the next level because not all people get to do that. I am very thankful that I’ve had people behind me supporting me and pushing me to where I am today especially my family.”
Teesateskie is known for her work ethic, often putting in extra workouts and weekend practices. Her message to younger players reaching for dreams is, “Keep working. If you don’t work, you’re not going to go anywhere and you’re not going to succeed.”
As a senior, she was honored by playing in the 43rd Annual Blue-White All-Star Game. Last season, as a junior, she surpassed the 1,000-career points milestone, and she was named to the Smoky Mountain All-Conference team each of her four years in high school.
Sarah Teesateskie, Tori’s mother, commented, “This opportunity for Tori is very deserving. She’s put in a lot of hard work. Her work ethic and determination has gotten her this opportunity, and we are very proud of her. She’s driven. From a very young age, she knew what she wanted to do and that was to have the opportunity to play collegiate ball.”
She added, “She’s overcome obstacles. She’s had adversity just like any other high school athletic player has. She’s always stayed true to her goal.”
Tommy Teesateskie, Tori’s father, said, “It’s really exciting because I get to see her move on to the next level and improve. She’s a hard worker. I’m just super-proud of her. She’s self-determined, and I can’t wait for the next four years.”
Dr. Debora Foerst, Cherokee High School principal, said, “We’ve all watched her grow up, evolve as a basketball player, and grow up into an awesome human being. Not only is she great on the court, she’s also a great student and a great person to have here at Cherokee High School. She’s a good friend. She’s a good role model…we have lots of good memories with Tori. We will certainly not forget her.”
Craig Barker, Cherokee High School assistant principal, said she is a “great role model and student”. Around 100 people showed up for her signing, and Barker noted, “This is a testimony to how everybody feels about you. I appreciate you letting me share in this journey the past few years, and I look forward to seeing you succeed and reach your goals in the future as you always have.”
Chris Mintz, Lady Braves head coach, was her coach for four years in high school. “It was her dream to go play in college and for her to be able to get a chance to go fulfill those dreams is a special thing for her and her family. She’s worked hard her whole career. She’s been great for us for four years, and it’s just a special thing for her and we’re all proud of her.”
Amy James, Johnson University head women’s basketball coach, was present at Friday’s signing and noted, “Her basketball alone speaks for her, and we’re excited to have her as a basketball player. But, we’re even more excited for her to join our Johnson (Univ.) family…she immediately just felt like family and, honestly, that’s what we’re built on. We pray about it. We’re a Christian university that leads, hopefully, by example on and off the floor.”
Johnson University, a member of the NCCAA (National Christian College Athletic Association), plays in Division II.