SOUTH WHITLEY — It was an extremely memorable day for Whitko’s Brianna Cumberland. The senior, surrounded by her family and friends, officially signed to continue her basketball career with the University of St. Francis.
Cumberland has a long list of accolades and she was able to add one more right after she signed on to be a Cougar. Minutes after her signing Cumberland received word that she had been named named to the IBCA All-State Honorable Mention list, a well-deserved honor for the hard-working Wildcat.
Cumberland finished her career at Whitko with 1,150 points, second all-time in program history. She has the seventh and 10th-highest scoring individual seasons in Whitko history, is fourth all-time with a career average of 11.7 points per game, fourth in career assists with 222 and sixth in career steals. She leaves Whitko as the greatest three-point shooter in history with three spots in the top 10 of single season percentage from beyond the arc, the most career makes from three (173) and the most attempts (536). She’s also first in career three-point percentage at 32.3, most threes made in a single season (53), most attempts in a single season (174) and best single-season percentage (39.3).
There is no doubt that St. Francis is getting an accomplished shooter, but what led Cumberland to the Cougars?
“I really enjoyed their style of play and how well it fit with my game,” Cumberland said, explaining her commitment. “I loved how well the girls got along. I really wanted a place that I could call home and a team that I could call my family. Coach (Jason) Ridge made it very inviting. I’ve always had a good relationship with him so playing for him seemed like a great opportunity.”
Prior to being named head women’s coach at USF, Ridge served as the vice principal at Whitko High School for three years.
Cumberland has spent the past four years excelling on the court, but has been doing just as well off the court. Four the past four years Cumberland has worked with special needs students and the passion for helping them lit a fire under the Whitko senior.
“I want to get my degree in education with a minor in special needs and I’d like to learn sign language,” Cumberland stated without hesitation when asked about her plans. “I’ve worked with the special needs kids here and they’re all so unique and have such fun personalities. To be able to work with them was really exciting. Last semester I worked with elementary kids and it was a blast. I’ve just really fallen in love with the field and the people that are in it.”
Cumberland finished her senior campaign with 316 points as the Wildcats posted a program-best 21 wins. Cumberland, along with her senior classmates, were the most successful girls basketball class in Whitko history. That’s something that Cumberland takes a lot of pride in.
“I want people to look back at our time here and realize that we did something special,” Cumberland remarked. “We started something really special. We went 52-2 throughout our middle school career and when we got to high school I feel like everyone looked up to us.
“Working with the elementary kids, even they would look at me and know who I was because I played basketball for Whitko. That’s awesome. It’s a great feeling to know the impact we had on this community. I always want people to remember what we did.”