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Every second of every game, St. Joseph Notre Dame senior guard Makena Mastora is focus on one thing.
“What motivates me is I want to win,” Mastora said. “There’s no second place, losing. I want to win every single game, every time I step out on the court. There’s no option to lose. It’s to win first. That’s really what motivates me and my teammates as well.”
At. St. Joe’s, win, win, win is all Mastora has ever done.
She averaged 6.5 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game as a freshman when St. Joe’s won 28 games and a league title. She posted 5.9 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game as a sophomore when St. Joe’s won 22 games, a league championship and a North Coast Section Division IV title. And then, as a junior, she was routinely a double-figure scorer when St. Joe’s won 24 games, another league crown and an NCS Open Division title.
That competitiveness – along with her versatility – boosted her into becoming a winner every step of the way.
“I think for me just having a little edge and a little something special to my game,” Mastora said. “I think that’s really made me successful and something that I can always, not fall back on, but I just have something special that differentiates me from different players. I’m able to play at all different spots on the court. You can put me at spots 1-5 and I can get it done for you. I think that really has just changed my game.”
But this type of success was noticed from a young age, when Mastora was dominating from the lower levels of basketball to the present day.
Mastora, who started playing basketball in kindergarten, was playing basketball and soccer competitively for years. With the high school schedule placing both in the same season, Mastora was faced to make a decision: Which sport would she rather play?
So, basketball it was, choosing it to be the one she would devote all of her time to.
“Really that was kind of the turning point for me when I realized that I think I could really take myself further in an elite level with basketball, so that’s why I chose my decision to play basketball,” Mastora said.
All of this success lended its way to an incredible opportunity for Mastora to compete at the Division I level collegiately, committing to St. Mary’s in May.
The decision was an easy one for Mastora, who loved the way St. Mary’s plays with its up-tempo nature, and Mastora’s ability to run up and down the floor can bring another dimension to the Gaels women’s basketball program.
“I also bring a different style of play where I can also drive to the basket and I’m pretty quick up and down the floor, so getting transition buckets will be good for me next year,” Mastora said.
“And really the coaching staff also helped me make that decision a lot faster because they’re really connected and close, and like my school now they’re also a small private school, which is nice and I enjoy that environment, so it really helped make my decision and it really all came together for me and fell into my lap.”
During the offseason, Mastora found the unique time period to be an advantage for her. It taught her more self-discipline, finding the time to grow by herself because there can’t always be teammates or coaches around right now.
Plus, her game continues to take off.
“I’ve been working on my ability to handle the ball,” Mastora said. “This year is going to be a big year for us. Hopefully we play. I’m expecting we play, and I’m really looking forward to it, so I’ve been working on my ballhandling skills and just getting repetition with my shot so that I’m more consistent.”
Mastora strives to add to that development and be the best possible teammate and leader for her St. Joe’s teammates.
“Individually, I just want to be the best player I can for my team and help us win as many games as we can so we can get to that point,” Mastora said. “And I just want to set that good example on the court, off the court, show them how much I’m serious and how much that I’m committed to the game so that we can all come together and play our butts off so that we can win.”
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