Lady Rams Are Playing For A Lot More Than Just Victories


Eliott Coda

Highland’s Cecilia Olevao, 34, and Mele Giles, 5, play against Cedar High School on December 15th varsity game.

Andrew Gardner, Staff Writer

With nearly half the team made up of seniors, the Highland Highs girls’ basketball team believes it has all the elements needed to make a run at a region and state championship.

Last year’s season ended with a heart-breaking loss in the 5A semifinals, however, the Rams are looking to at least match or better that performance.

Highland coach Sala Asiata has been preparing well for this season and thinks the team has what it takes to dominate on the court, especially after working so hard during the summer and fall.

“I think the team has been working hard executing and staying disciplined throughout the offseason,” Asiata said.

The optimism for the season is due to the senior leadership in the program. Sophia Legate, Maddie Dillon, Lata Fakahahafua, Kayla Molisi, Sose Langi and Cecila Olevao are all experienced. Juniors Olivia Tausinga, Mele Giles, Danae Aiata, and Quin Earl will also be counted on to make significant contributions to the varsity scene.

Because of the team’s experience, depth and chemistry, Asiata believes the team has all the elements needed to be a force.

“The team is slowly getting together,” Asiata said. “We just need to learn how to all jive and play together.”

The season has started with mixed results, with Highland losing three of its preseason games. But everything is about getting ready for region play. Asiata has already seen growth.

“They’ve all come together and there’s a lot more unity within the team,” Asiata said. “I think if we can learn how to play together and not worry too much about other stuff outside of basketball, we will see success come naturally.”

This year the Rams are playing for more than just wins and losses as they intend to dedicate their basketball season to a formerly known graduate of Highland, Soko Brown, who recently and suddenly passed away. Soko played basketball for the Rams for three years. She was deeply loved by all that knew her but especially loved by her teammates on and off the court.

Soko’s passing has been very difficult on the team, particularly the players who are close with her family. The team is certainly aware of what is most important. While basketball is fun and engaging, it will never compare to the long-lasting relationships with teammates and family members.  The team wants to show their love to Soko this year by honoring her legacy as a great teammate who always put others first. Basketball will come and go, but friends and family are forever.

“I think it means more than just being able to play a game, and how we are able to come together as a team, and a family, and a community,” Sose Langi, a former Highland basketball player said. “Also, just be able to have fun and realize that it’s more than just playing a basketball game.”

The Rams are sincerely grateful for Soko’s legacy of leadership as she has elevated the team to be more united. They will persevere through each game knowing that six players are on the court, five on the floor, and one in their hearts.

The Rams’ current record is 2-3. Although they’ve had a few tough losses, the team is looking to create some momentum going into the holiday break.

Their region play starts Jan. 6, so they are in for a competitive holiday season. With their team having a lot of senior leadership they also have a former Ram adding inspiration.