Mikyla Grant always liked basketball.
And she loved to score.
But the Little Flower High school senior likes it more now that she knows the right way to play.
Grant grew up playing for the Triple Threat club team, and she always had the ability to pour in points, but she wasn’t always making those around her better.
“I was a little bit of a ball hog,” said Grant, a forward who lives in North Philadelphia. “The coaches here taught me a lot, the biggest thing was that even if you have the ball in the paint, but there are three people on you, that means two people are wide open and if you get them the ball, that’s going to be the better play.
“I love scoring, especially in close to the basket. When I’m in the paint, I want to shoot, but I needed to learn fundamentals. The better play is to pass it. But I still get to score. I’ve learned a lot of moves here, so when the opportunity is there, I’m going to score. When it’s not, I’m going to pass it.”
That’s one of the ways Grant has improved as a player.
But she’s gotten better in all aspects of her game since she arrived in high school, and she credits that to coaching and hard work.
That’s good because this year, she’ll be counted on for a little bit of everything because the Sentinels are a young team. Grant will be counted on as a leader.
“It is going to be hard because we had some really good seniors last year and they’re not here anymore,” Grant said. “I went to a training session to make sure I’m ready. Now that we’re starting tryouts, we’ll know what we can do. It’s been tough.
“It’s hard because we’re not in school all the time, we’re going hybrid, so I’m not sure how that will go with practice. We need the whole team to practice together, but some of us are in school and some of us aren’t. So we need to figure out what we’re going to do. But once we get some practices in, we should be good.”
It’s never easy to win in the Catholic League and it’s even harder when teams are rebuilding. But with the interruptions because of coronavirus, Grant knows this year will be difficult. But she’s ready to put in the work to get things rolling.
“I love playing in the Catholic League because of the competition,” said Grant, who helped Little Flower finish 4-6 in 2020. “I love it because even if you lose, you get better every time you play. We have been getting better every year, and last year was better because we had the (Red, big school, and Blue, small school) divisions and we didn’t play the top teams.
“It was still fun because we played good teams, but not the ones who are really good. It’s hard when you play teams that are a whole lot better than you. So the new schedule was really good for us.
“Truthfully, I like playing teams that are really good even if you lose. Playing against people better than you, it makes you hustle. I’ll be angry right after the games, but the next weekend, I’ll be at the Salvation Army, working hard to get better.”
Grant has improved a lot during her days at Little Flower, mostly through hard work. But even after her first year at Little Flower, despite putting in the work, the improvement didn’t come easy. But once it started, it was the beginning of her steady improvement.
“I think the summer between my sophomore and junior year was when I got a lot better,” Grant said. “Last year was my best year. It helped to have good players around me. And the seniors were so good about helping everyone. But I did work hard. I think last year was when people started to see what I can do.”
Grant is good on the court, but she’s also good in the classroom.
She hopes her success in either of those phases will help her next year.
“I really hope I can get a scholarship to college and I want to play college basketball,” Grant said. “I don’t care if I get a scholarship for basketball, I just want to go to college and I would really like to play in college. I just want to keep playing.
“I’m not sure what I’m going to study in college, it’s between political science and biology. I like science a lot, but I think I’d like to be a defense attorney. Everyone tells me I’m a good debater. I’m well spoken and I’m good at getting people to see my side.
“If I do biology, I’d like to be a physical therapist and I’d want to do it in my neighborhood. I’ve sprained my ankles a lot and I couldn’t go to therapy because there aren’t many in North Philly, and the ones they have are expensive. I’d like to help kids.”
On top of sports, Grant keeps a busy schedule.
She’s a member of the African American Club, which talks about issues in the black community, and studies African American history, she tutors her cousins and she works as a cashier at the Fresh Grocer.
“It’s a great job, but it’s hard with COVID,” Grant said. “You just have to be careful and make sure everyone is safe.
“I love tutoring. I try to help them, and they learn pretty well. It’s fun because I like helping people.”
Now she wants to help Little Flower have a memorable year.
“I want to have fun, maybe get a scholarship and help the team,” Grant said. “I think we should have a good team. We just have to work.”