Hoop Dreams: Schimmel Sisters Inspiring Girls on the Rez
“I hope we are a big inspiration to Native American people to believe in their dreams”
--Shoni Schimmel, after the national title game on April 9
“I heard about them from the kids and teachers at school,” said Mariah Kozie, 15, about the Schimmel sisters, Shoni and Jude, who led fifth-seeded Louisville on an unprecedented run to the 2013 NCAA women’s championship game, played April 9.
Kozie watched the game Tuesday night with her 10-year-old sister Tana at their grandmother’s home on the San Carlos Apache Reservation.
“It’s good that they’re playing. They’re like our role models,” said Aaliyah Haozous, 11, who lives a few miles away. Haozous watched the game with her nine-year-old sister Ariel.
“They’re like us (playing rez ball). They play like boys,” said Dana Dosela, 17, who watched the game in another part of the Apache reservation.
The Kozie and Haozous girls and Dosela all have hoop dreams. They say watching the Schimmel sisters has given them hope.
“If they can do it, anybody can do it,” said Dosela. “It makes me want to be like them. They never give up,” said Kozie.
Dosela and Kozie are varsity starters for the San Carlos High School Lady Braves who made it to the state tournament this year.
Dosela has been following the Schimmel sisters since they were in high school. “I used to watch their videos on YouTube,” she said.
During the halftime break, the Haozous sisters ran outside to play basketball. Ariel, a third grader, is already winning Most Valuable Player trophies in pee-wee tournaments.
Like the Schimmel sisters, all these young women love the game.
According to mom Lena, with hard work, her daughter’s dreams will come true too. As the championship game came to a close, Dosela continued to talk up the Schimmels’ remarkable journey.
“Runner up is better than nothing. They still have another year together,” said Dosela.
Who knows what next year will bring, for the Schimmels and the young future stars of the San Carlos Apache Rez.