For River High School in-coming sophomore Jensen Caretti, her first AAU Basketball experience has paid off in a big way.
After scoring a team-high 288 points last season, winning a sectional title, making it to the OVAC Tournament and making it to the district playoffs, Caretti continued her basketball playing during this summer playing for Rocky Bragg out of Weirton in the 15 and under AAU West Virginia North Stars.
She not only scored 287 points during her first AAU season, but she helped them secure a spot in the Disney Wild World of Sports International Basketball Global Cup, a five day tourney that attracted players from more than 20 countries.
These athletes had the opportunity to get exclusive training from former professional players and top-notch coaches, while competing against some of the top youth basketball teams from all around the world.
Last season, the North Star 15/u team played in 11 games against the world's best in division III and came in third place, while Caretti's team this season jumped up to play in division II this year.
At 6'1," Caretti is the oldest girl on the team and plays at the center, forward and guard positions during the season. "I'm so excited to play not only for Coach Isaly at River, but for Coach Bragg as well," stated Caretti. "I love basketball and want to get in as many games that I can and play against the best in the world and fine-tune my game.
"I really like the girls that I play with and that was a big factor in my wanting to play with the North Stars."
Caretti is the youngest of six girls in a family of nine adopted children. Over the years, that family has included more 70 other foster children.
While in Florida Jensen's North Star team won their first three games 55-32 over Florida Flame; 66-64 over Kentucky; 57-43 over Georgia Metro, before losing to Memphis Tenn. 66-53.
Then they started bracket play and had to win them all if they were going to get ninth place in the 40 team Division II bracket. And they did, beating Virginia 60-40, Massachusetts Deeds 50-48 and Tenn. Pride 57-48. Caretti scored 110 points in those seven games. She scored a game-high 28 points in the 66-64 double overtime victory against Kentucky , and 26 in the win over Massachusetts.
She had a wonderful time and learned a great deal against the top youngsters in the nation.