Ashley Ousley and Briana Gatson are looking forward to their continued time together.

Shoemaker honored three basketball players with a college signing ceremony Friday at the  high school. Renard Thomas signed with Ranger College and Gatson and Ousley both committed to play at Sul Ross State University in Alpine.

“I’m really excited to play at Sul Ross,” said Gatson.  “They’re starting over the program, and there are a lot of freshman, so I’m hoping to get a lot of playing time.”

Ousley added: “The starting over part is great. It’s really exciting to be part of a new program like that. Puts a lot of pressure on you though. Every mistake we make is going to be huge.”

Shoemaker coach Lori Shead also talked about her players, and added: “I used to have to tell Ashley to shoot.  She wouldn’t shoot. So I had to give her a shot total to take during the games, and it really helped make her a complete guard.”

Both Ousley, a point guard, and Gatson, a forward, had other reasons to choose Sul Ross beyond athletics.

“I really want to study psychology, and carry that with me after school,” said Gatson. “They have a really good program for me there.”

Ousley said: “Sul Ross has a great veterinary program, so it was a no-brainer for me to go there. It’s also pretty great to have Gat going with me as well. That will make the experience so much more fun.”

Also present at the ceremony was Ranger coach and former Houston Rockets forward Robert Reid.

“We’re really excited to sign Renard,” said Reid. “He’s got this great leadership that we want on the court. When he visited the campus, he was playing a pickup game with some of our conference all-stars, and he was telling them where to go on the court. You can’t teach that.”

Reid’s NBA experience was one of the reasons Thomas was drawn to Ranger. Reid was only recently promoted to head coach, and Thomas is his first signee.

“With all that he knows about the NBA, and all of his experiences, he has all this knowledge,” said Thomas. “I just want to be like a sponge and soak it all up.”

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