Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Liberty Hawks girls basketball player Ashton Berry signs her National Letter of Intent to play at the University of La Verne next year. With her are her parents Tyler Berry and Kelly Dolph.
With the stroke of the pen, Liberty Hawks girls basketball player Ashton Berry signed her National Letter of Intent to the University of La Verne.
Berry became Liberty’s first girls basketball player to sign to a four-year school.
“Ashton is the heart of the team this year and last year,” Liberty girls basketball coach Ashley Chavira said. “She only plays basketball. You can tell this was the only sport she wanted to play. She always went hard.”
“It felt amazing to sign,” Berry said. “I accomplished my biggest goal of my life — to play basketball in college.”
Berry had other schools interested in her, including schools in Oregon and New Jersey.
“There were other schools,” she said. “I just knew La Verne so I only applied to one college, La Verne. There’s opportunities out there.”
Berry was Liberty’s leading scorer the past two seasons after transferring from Madera High School.
“It was a long ride,” she said. “I started in elementary school and ended up here. I transferred from Madera High to here and it was a good move, obviously.”
“I felt like she had a lot of pressure on her the past couple of years because she is the only main basketball player we had,” Chavira said. “She handled it very well. Every time we stepped on the court, it was her, her team and basketball. She gave it 100 percent all the time. She’s an amazing player and amazing player to coach.”
By going from a bigger school to a smaller school also helped lead her to a smaller school in the University of La Verne. She also had an inkling La Verne was the school she wanted to go to.
“I made my highlight film and sent it out to coaches,” Berry said. “La Verne emailed me back. Before I did that, I toured the La Verne campus and I said this is where I am going and it ended up where I’m going. I liked the private and the small, better than big.”
The school, located near Pasadena, accomplished two goals for Berry — playing basketball in college and living in Los Angeles.
Berry, who carries a 3.5 grade point average, will major in business at La Verne.
“I’m actually working on my own clothing line so I want to be able to market that,” she said. “It serves the skate population. It’s something I’ve worked on for the past two years. It’s going. I had designs and a name, but it was trademarked, so I have to find a new name.”
Now that Berry signed her National Letter of Intent, she can take a deep breath knowing where she will go to school next year.
“It feels amazing,” she said. “A lot of people told me I couldn’t play basketball in college and now I’m going to do it.”