If you judge Anye Washington by her size, you’re in a lot of trouble.
Washington is a junior point guard on the MaST Community Charter High School basketball team, and she barely stands 5 feet tall.
That frame doesn’t scream basketball player, but you couldn’t be more wrong. In fact, she’s not only been a starter since she hit freshman year, the Olney resident has become a huge part of the team since she arrived on the scene.
And though she might not be one of the bigger players, she has had a big voice on the team ever since.
“Everyone looks at my height, and thinks she can’t produce as much as she does,” Washington said. “But I can. I don’t have a trick, I just go out and play and tune out all the negativity. Usually they stop when they see me play. I’ve learned to tune out all the negative energy. It’s not hard to do, really.”
And since she got there, she’s been able to run the offense. She started as a young freshman on an experienced team and every year, she’s improved little by little.
“When I came here, there were a lot of seniors on the team, and I played point guard with them, so that helped a lot to be around older players,” Washington said. “I’ve been playing basketball since I was in fifth grade. My dad used to coach at Harriton High School, so I was always around the game. I went to a lot of games and I loved the tempo of the game and how the game was played. So I was ready to play when I got here.”
This year, she led the Panthers to a great season that is still going on.
MaST is 18-6 and, on Friday night, played Palmerton in the subregional final. It didn’t go the Panthers way, they fell to the Lady Blue Bombers 54-27 in a game that was for seeding purposes for the Class 3A girls state basketball tournament, which begins Tuesday. The Panthers will play near their home gym at Bensalem High School against Bloomsburg. Tip-off is slated for 6 p.m.
There are a lot of familiar faces in the bracket. Conwell-Egan, Neumann-Goretti and Imhotep Charter are also in the field. For Washington, it’s a chance to play more games with a very talented senior class and show the entire state what MaST Charter basketball is all about.
“Going to states means a lot to me since from my first year we weren’t winning right away,” Washington said. “Now as a junior, we’re achieving all these different accomplishments. I think the reason for that is our team bonding. We grew a relationship with each other over the years. It wasn’t hard. Most of us played with each other in middle school. We just had to reconnect, and then with the new pieces on the team, we had to add to the mix. We all get along really well.
“This season meant a lot to me, coming back from COVID. Once we started winning, it felt good. We had the mindset that we can win every game. It was a really good year in every way. It’s fun to have a local game instead of driving an hour and 30 minutes to play somewhere. We just played far away. Sometimes it’s fun because you’re bonding with the team more, but it’s better to play in front of your fans.”
If you’re a fan of MaST, and you hit up their game Tuesday, you’ll see a team full of good players looking to extend their season, led by a point guard who will make plays all over the court.
“I’m the type of point guard that gets teammates involved but also looks for my shot as well,” Washington said. “I’m a facilitator, a floor general. When you’re a small point guard, it’s a little harder, but I get the ball to my teammates and they make plays. I work well with them and they work well with me.”
Washington isn’t looking at this as a practice run for her senior year.
As she learned during the COVID-shortened seasons, nothing is guaranteed, and who knows if the Panthers will be back next year? She wants to make noise this year, but once this season is over, she’s on to next year.
She also stays busy away from athletics.
When she’s not playing basketball or hanging out with her friends or family, she’s working on the yearbook, doing things for student council, contributing on the robotics engineering team or participating in SAT prep.
She found the perfect spot for herself on the yearbook and student council activities.
“I love both of them,” Washington said. “For the yearbook, I handle most of the sports pages, I really like doing that. And on student council, I mostly plan things. Right now we’re working on the prom.”
Soon, she’ll be working on her senior year.
“Next year, I’m going to have to be an even bigger leader because we lose some really good seniors,” Washington said. “I’ll take them in and help them, but I’ll also be hard on them if we need to be. I’ve learned what it means to be a leader. You want to help people as best you can. We lose great seniors so we’ll need the younger players to be key players next year. And I’ll be here to help them.”