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Year-round athletics normal for versatile Lady Lion

Most athletes are lucky to enjoy moderate success in a single sport, and they have to work darn hard at it.
Success has come easily for Ennis High junior Tina Anderson in a trio of sports, or so it would seem. The fact is, Tina just makes it look easy. Behind the scenes, the Lady Lion is working her tail off to balance schoolwork and a sports season that never ends.
You see, Anderson has been a varsity standout in volleyball, basketball and track since she arrived on the high-school scene as a freshman in 2005. When one season ends and many of her teammates kick back, Tina puts on a new jersey and taps into a different athletic skill set.
“It takes a lot of discipline, hard work and commitment to bounce from one sport to the other, because you never get a break,” she said.
“It’s easier now to handle all three sports compared to when I was a freshman because I’ve gotten used to it. As a freshman going into three varsity sports right out of junior high, there was a lot of intimidation. Now I’ve seen what other people can do and know what I need to do with my goals already set.
“Being immediately counted on was exciting and definitely makes you want to step up your game. They put me [on varsity] for a reason regardless of age or grade and I just wanted people to look at me as an athlete – not a young athlete.”
At the 4A level, achieving all-district status once in a sport is something for any athlete to be proud of. With a year and a half left to go at Ennis High, Tina has compiled quite the resume.
She was a first-team all-district volleyball selection as a freshman and a sophomore before missing most of district this season due to injury. Make no mistake, however, Tina still has plenty of game on the volleyball court and will look to bounce back in a big way as a senior.
As for basketball, Tina was all-district honorable mention as a freshman and a second-team selection as a sophomore. She’s playing lights out in district this time around for the 3-0 Lady Lions as potential first-team honors loom on the horizon.
Moving to track and field, Anderson has placed second in the district high jump each of the past two seasons and she also finished seventh in the event at regionals last spring. Tina didn’t miss regionals by much in the 100-meter hurdles in ’07 as she placed fourth at the district meet.
She also plays basketball throughout the summer to stay in shape and work on her game, so Tina doesn’t even give herself the chance to be a couch potato – not that she’d want to. Someone so active must face down times at some point, and the triple threat recognizes when the going seems to get toughest for her each year.
“You have to be mentally strong because when track season comes around I’m tired, but you have to push through it,” Tina said.
“Track is really hard and there are other sports I like better, but I know the other ladies on the team need me because not a lot of girls go out for track. The girls we do have are good athletes and usually able to go far with it, so I want to be a part of that.”
At least Tina can take comfort in the fact each sport helps her excel in the others. Volleyball involves a lot of diving and jumping and she said that helps her prep for basketball. The weight training involved with Lady Lion hoops helps strengthen her legs for track season. The running and high jumping in the spring gives Tina a boost in both of the other two sports as far as she’s concerned.
Every multitalented athlete has a favorite sports season and Anderson is right in the middle of hers. In fact, Tina is fresh off of hitting the game-winning shot in a 65-64 road upset over state-ranked Lancaster on Tuesday. It’s not an overstatement to say this was a monumental breakthrough win for Lady Lion basketball, which is hunting a return trip to the playoffs.
“[Tuesday] night I was so excited,” Tina said.
“After [point guard] Sharna [Polk] passed me that ball, I didn’t see anything but the basket and I went for it with the time running down. That’s the moment I’m most proud of so far [in my athletic career] because our team has come a long way [from 10-20 in 2005-06].
“Now we’re beating good teams like Lancaster, which is a big accomplishment. We’re out there making a statement for ourselves, hoping more people will start to believe in us and take notice.”
On the season, Anderson is averaging 9.6 points, 9.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 3.2 steals and 1.3 blocks. With that being said, she’s putting up bigger numbers recently and has consecutive double-doubles in district wins over Waxahachie and Lancaster. Her 3.2 steals lead the team and the 1.3 blocks are a fantastic figure in girls’ basketball.
“I’ve been very excited about this season and it’s been pretty good for me so far,” she said.
“I’ve really tried to work on the offensive part of my game. I want to earn a college scholarship, so I have to get my points up.”
Tina has always loved basketball and been playing since she was a second grader at the Boys and Girls Club. The Lady Lion said she wasn’t very good in those days, just fast. Anderson attended basketball camps each summer and worked to reach the level of play she’s exhibiting now.
Considering her love for the sport, it’s no surprise Tina looks up to another female basketball standout.
“I definitely admire Lisa Leslie [of the WNBA] because she’s had an awesome career,” Anderson said.
“She was the first woman to dunk. I wanted to do that, but she beat me to it.”
Tina is proving to be a good role model for the young female athletes of Ennis and she shared some of the keys to her success.
“Mental toughness has always been very important for me,” she said.
“I would also tell a young athlete to never give up and push through the hard times. Make sure to stay out of trouble and don’t let people bring you down. On Saturdays I have fun with my friends, but Sunday is a time to relax – along with getting homework and chores done.
“Balancing school and sports is very hard. I must say there are times when I get a little behind, especially during tournaments, but you have to catch back up. Sports are my life, but student comes before athlete.”
Tina would love to find herself at the University of Texas after graduation and she credits her coaches for keeping her on the right track.
“All of my coaches have given me great advice over the years, whether it’s about their sport or something in the classroom,” Anderson said.
“They’re positive and constructive, so I really feed off of that. If you trust in your coaches and follow their directions, you’ll reach your goals.”
Don’t be surprised if you see a spectacular play at an upcoming Ennis High girls’ basketball game and hear the student section yell “Tee-NUH” in unison. This Lady Lion has earned it.

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Posted by on Dec 20 2007. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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