Lely's Gabby Lopez and Parker Ayers, Marco products, write about their thoughts on being named 4A players of the year for soccer and baeketball respectively. Watch »
I started playing ball in grade school. I played in the Marco YMCA and it was basically just get the ball to the tall kid, which happened to be me.
I’ve played with many of my Lely teammates since grade school. Christian Tateo, Brandon Love, Zach Hornsby and Cody Mendel, we’ve all played together since. (Tateo, Love and Hornsby were starters on this year’s Elite Eight team finishers in the 4A state playoffs. Mendel was a key substitute.)
When I started Marco Island Charter Middle School, I learned the importance of grades. Due to a bad grade in one of my classes I was unable to tryout for basketball and later found out I couldn’t play the rest of that year. That year was rough for me, but I would try and practice with them on a regular basis.
It was at this time when I would spend most of the time playing against my dad. He would always do this move called the “No Look Hook.” It was impossible for me to stop so I soon started doing it to him.
I mastered this shot and took it to my ninth grade high school tryout. Everyone thought the shot was dumb because when I would shoot it without even looking at the rim, but it was soon added to every post man drill and eventually became the move everyone in the stands liked.
Coach Don Stewart would shout out to me, “Shoot the baby hook Parker!
My biggest moments in sports would have to have been my 34-point game against Golden Gate and my buzzer-beater against Palmetto Ridge, which led to a district championship.
Palmetto Ridge was the toughest defense I played against, even though I scored 20 and 25 points against them. It wasn’t just one player that stopped me, it was a combination. Every way Peter Falasi turned me there would be another defender waiting for me so I would have to shoot over the top of them. It didn’t stop me from scoring, but it definitely took me out of my comfort zone.
My pre-game routine included taking a power nap at home. When I woke up I took a shower. When I got to school I worked on some post moves, then dressed into my uniform. I sat at my locker and said a prayer before we came together as a team.
When Coach Stewart told me about this state award, I was so excited. I told everyone at lunch and called my parents. Sports has kept me out of trouble and has kept me and all of my teammates disciplined. In college I plan on majoring in sports management.