North senior Ally Lako has always dribbled to the beat of her own drummer.
From her neon pink basketball shoes to the purple hair she sported during the 2017 Ohio Varsity Senior Shootout last weekend at Ursuline College, Lako has always been a bit different.
It’s no wonder she’ll close out her high school basketball career in an unusual way.
Lako will play high school basketball for the final time on Saturday in the News Herald Classic at Lakeland Community College, in the very gym where she’ll play her college ball.
“I think it’s sad but exciting because high school basketball is over,” Lako said. “But, a new chapter of my life is starting.”
Lako, who scored 651 points with 181 assists, 121 steals and 82 made 3-pointers in her four years at North, signed a National Letter of Intent with Lakeland on March 22.
“It’s an awesome experience because I know not many girls get the chance to play at the next level,” Lako said. “Lakeland is close to home so I can live and home and I will be saving a lot of money and I want to become an X-ray technician and they have that program at Lakeland.”
In addition, she’ll have the continued support of her dad, Brian.
“It was important to stay close because my dad is one of my biggest supporters, so I know he wanted me to stay close,” Lako said.
Lako, who switched from shooting guard to point guard as a senior, developed into a solid overall player and team leader.
“Ally has come a long way in four years,” said North coach Paul Force. “It’s been fun to help her mature as a player and person. As much as we will miss her leadership and ability, we are excited and confident the she is ready to move on successfully to the college level if she continues to put in the work and effort that she did for us here at North.”
Lako isn’t sure what position she’ll fill for Lakeland but she has the ability to play either point or shooting guard and has the tenacity to be a solid contributor on the defensive end of the court.
“She brings a good mix of offensive and defensive skills to the table,” Force said. “She can handle the ball, pass well, shoot, attack the basket and impact the game on the defensive end. It will be fun to see how her game develops at the college level.”
Lako’s four years went by quickly and she leaves behind some advice for her former teammates at North.
“Show up to everything you can because it will be gone before you know it,” she said. “You’re going to wish you would have put just a little more work in.”
Lako will suit up on Saturday for the Red team, coached by Perry’s Brindi Kandel.
The News Herald Classic is scheduled to tip off at 11:00 a.m. with the boys game scheduled for 1:00 p.m.Tickets are $5.
Click here for full rosters.