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From Spain to the Wisconsin State Basketball Tournament

Published: Feb. 23, 2021 at 8:54 PM CST
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WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. (WSAW) - The Assumption girls basketball team is going to state, and Ainara Sainz De Rozas Martin has played a crucial role in that.

“It looks like she came out of the womb with the ball in her hands,” said Royals head coach Ryan Klein.

For foreign exchange students from Spain, it’s as natural as it comes.

“I like going fast. And that’s how I was taught in Spain, like go fast,” Ainara explained.

But the journey begins across the Atlantic ocean in Spain, where she was born and raised. Growing up with a passion for basketball, this is what she wanted.

“I knew I wanted to come here,” she said confidently.

That’s because her mother had already started that thought.

“Ainara’s mother, Carlina, came to the United States in high school,” explained Ainara’s host parent Terra Duellman, “and stayed with Todd, and my husband’s mom and dad.”

The relationship was already fostered. When it came time to choose where to go, the choice was easy. She was staying with the same family her mother stayed with.

However, due to transfer regulations, she couldn’t play varsity last year.

“I think it was good for me to first, see how everything was,” Ainara explained, “Because now, this year, I knew how everything was working”

“When she got out on the court, she didn’t have to worry about being uncomfortable,” added Klein, “She makes other people uncomfortable.”

As a point guard, though, there were some communication adjustments.

“It’s hard to for me. Sometimes I say the play that we have to play. But they know me and they have to help me,” Ainara said.

“We translate some of our plays into Spanish and know all the colors in Spanish,” added Klein with a laugh.

She’s the team’s leading scorer, adding speed to an already tall team. Now, she has a chance at a state title.

“It feels really good to be able to go to state and just do our best,” Ainara said.

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