Sierra’s D’Nae Wilson excels academically and as an athlete
By Marcus Hill
The Southeast Express
Nothing says confidence like knocking down a 24-foot three in the fourth quarter of a basketball game.
Sierra High School senior girls basketball captain D’Nae Wilson exuded it all night on Dec. 17 in Pueblo County, and continues to be a cornerstone for the Stallions in her final campaign.
Her belief and the swagger in her step are traits Wilson earned at a young age and has carried ever since.
“Growing up, my brothers had a lot of confidence playing basketball,” Wilson said. “Then the club coach who I played for, Tommie Johnson, placed a lot of confidence in us and made sure to talk us up no matter what we wanted to do. I grew up being around confident people. That forces me to play with confidence on the court.”
She continued to ooze self-assurance and poured it on in overtime, where the Stallions defeated Pueblo County 53-46, scoring seven of the team’s nine points in overtime and hitting 5-of-6 from the line.
Coach Joseph Williams said it’s vital to have someone like Wilson lead the charge.
“That’s a special feeling,” Williams said. “We’ve been through some battles through the years, so having her on the court helps relieve me because she can help pull the team together and has the ability to take the game over at any given time.”
As she did with more than four minutes left in the fourth.
Wilson held the ball at the top of the key, glanced at the defender, took a glimpse at the hoop and let it fly from deep to make it 43-33.
“With her and [Azaria] Lacour, we have two combo guards,” Williams said. “So they’re learning how to play together and play off each other. Defenses can’t settle on them doing just one thing when they both can be ether a scorer or a distributer. That’s the strength of our team.”
Even better for the Stallions, however, is Wilson’s behavior outside the lines.
Bob Bentley, Sierra athletic director, praised Wilson for her lifestyle as a student and how she’s a beacon of positive energy for teammates and classmates.
“D’nae is one of the most radiant students at Sierra,” Bentley said. “She always has a smile on her face and is personable with everyone she encounters. Students and staff gravitate to her personality.”
Bentley added that Wilson excels academically.
“D’nae is part of our concurrent enrollment program, where she takes college classes as a high school student,” Bentley said. “Academics is at the top of her list and she has never, in my time as AD, been in jeopardy of not playing because of grades.”
Wilson knows how vital academics are to her ability to be an efficient hooper.
While her dad taught her athletics and her brothers and others honed her poise, her mother instilled the importance of school.
“Always being pushed in both (academics and athletics) made me be able to be a leader,” Wilson said. “If girls need help when we have study hall, I can help them out. Around the school, a lot of people look for me to help out. It doesn’t put much pressure on me because I know what I need to do in order to play college basketball.”