Exams High Priority for Ferns Prospect

Prompted by her mum Kim Wells, along with family friend and "super coach/mentor" Mata Cameron, Tito has gradually climbed the age group basketball ranks and it is looking pretty difficult to stop the guard from reaching even bigger achievements.

At the recent Te Tai Tokerau Sports Awards held in Kaitaia, Tito's natural athletic ability and prowess on the court were recognised when she won the Junior Female Sportsperson of the year award, which she shared the honour with rugby league, touch and tag player Kahurangi Peters.

The award came as a complete surprise for the unassuming but ambitious athlete.

"I was really shocked to get the award. It came out of the blue ... but it was such a good feeling to win it," Tito said.

Last year was extremely busy for Tito, who was selected for the emerging junior Tall Ferns team that contested the Oceania Youth Tournament, in New Caledonia. The team came runners-up to Australia but it was a huge learning experience all the same, Tito said.

On top of her age group representative duties, Tito has to make time for her club basketball, school netball and volleyball playing commitments.

But with the thought of tertiary education looming next year, the Whangarei Girls' High School Year 13 student, who was fittingly named Sports Captain, decided 2011 was all about school work and sport had "kind of" been put on the back burner, she said.

"I will still play club and school basketball and maybe go to a couple of New Zealand Basketball Women's Academy training camps, but I decided not to trial for the under-19 touring NZ team as the tour was early this year and school is too important to miss this year."

Tito also plays goal defence for the WGHS premier grade netball team, who begin their season proper on April 15 after the second round of grading games.

University is on the cards for Tito in 2012. Heading overseas to study and play basketball is an option and if a sports scholarship was offered, she said she would jump at the chance. With her ambition to play for the NZ Tall Ferns, it is more than likely Tito will not be too far away from home.

The Northern Advocate - 8 April 2011