TAMPA - For the fifth time in five years, Cassidy O'Brien will be shooting three-pointers for a different team.
The Sickles High School senior will be firing away at Montreat College, an NAIA private Christian school in North Carolina, the state where she played her junior year. It's been quite an odyssey for O'Brien, but she is looking for stability now that she's found a home at the small liberal arts school.
"It's nice to have some stability," O'Brien said. "I saw the school and fell in love with it and knew that was where I wanted to be."
O'Brien went to Sickles as a freshman, then moved to South Dakota when her father, Pat, was hired as a college football coach. Pat was a former football coach at Sickles and jumped at the college job. After a disappointing season in South Dakota, Cassidy moved to North Carolina to live with her grandparents, who just happen to live about an hour from the Montreat campus. Finally, she moved back to Sickles for her senior year and her dad took a job on the Sickles football staff. Now that she's found a home at Montreat, O'Brien hopes it's home for at least the next four years.
"We sent them some film and they showed lots of interest," O'Brien said. "They only have one other real shooter and she's a senior, so I am excited."
O'Brien stepped back into the Sickles lineup right away despite the absence and brought with her back court buddy Sarah Hartman, who sat out her junior year. The pair led Sickles to a 25-5 record and a berth in the regional final where the Gryphons fell behind, 18-3 before coming just short at the end in a loss to Winter Haven. O'Brien was the only Sickles player to average double figures in scoring, with 13.1 points per game. She also averaged 38 percent from three-point land.
O'Brien had previously said she never wanted to leave Florida again, but the offer from Montreat was too good to pass up. Schools that play ball at the NAIA level rarely offer full basketball scholarships, but O'Brien got a big break at Montreat. The Cavaliers finished 17-14 in the Appalachian Athletic Conference last season.