SANTA ANA, Calif. — They say a leader is someone who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way.
If that's the case, Mater Dei High School senior Brooke Demetre is a leader through and through. Leading by example has been the senior guard's goal from the first time she set foot in the gym down in Santa Ana.
“When I was a freshman, the culture of the team was just OK," she said. "I don’t think a lot of people would want to be a part of that. But with the help of my seniors, we were able to change the culture. That’s a big legacy I hope to go away with.”
Over the last four years, with the help of the four other seniors on the roster — Alyssa Durazo-Frescas, Meaali'i Amosa, Ayana Johnson and Natalie Ibarra — she has in fact changed the culture.
Last year, the Monarchs won the premiere Open Division championship. And this year, after a roller-coaster of an off-season, they are 12-0 and currently outscoring opponents by over 46 points per game.
Demetre credits their success to the way they practice.
"We’re competing every single day," she said. "It’s tough. Sometimes, one team is kicking the other's butt, and the other time, the other team is. So it’s super competitive.”
To longtime head coach Kevin Kiernan, no one is a better example of that competitive drive than Demetre. He can still remember his first impressions of the standout guard from a youth camp about six years ago.
"It doesn’t take a genius to know Brooke was going to be a great player, and I’m no genius, so it was a perfect fit," he said. "The basketball was great. We knew it was gonna be great. We knew she’d develop into a Stanford like player, and she has."
But more than just her skills on the court, it was Demetre's off-court persona that truly impressed Coach Kiernan.
“It's all the other stuff she brings to the table," he said. "She’s a great teammate, a great leader. She’s empathetic to people, just the kind of person you want to be around.”
Even now, as the Stanford-bound senior looks forward to the next steps in her journey as a basketball player, she is set on enjoying every game she has left as a Monarch. To her, it's more than just winning games.
“I think we’re playing really well basketball wise, but I think for me, I hope people will say that we had a great culture, that we’re great leaders and great people on and off the court.”
Demetre is surely a senior captain that Mater Dei might not be able to replace in the coming years, but one who has definitely left her mark on this program.