GLENDALE - Tess Oakley-Stilson makes the game of basketball look simple. She is in constant motion for the 30 plus minutes she is on the floor for the Glendale Community College women's basketball team running, jumping and hustling to help her team win.
And win they have during her two years wearing a Vaqueros uniform.
As a freshman last season from La Canada High, she was an integral part of the first team in school history to win a WSC South Championship and finish with a 22-6 record, a school record for wins at that time.
This year has the potential to be even better as the running and gunning Vaqs are 21-1 after winning 21 straight games heading into the middle stages of the conference season where they are 8-0. She is averaging 16.0 points per game, 4.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 22 games this season for the team ranked No. 5 in the state and No. 4 in Southern California.
But it is her consistency as a player and person that might be her greatest asset. Her understanding of the game and what role she occupies within it is another strength.
Take the WSC South opener at West L.A. College Jan. 8 as a prime example. GCC was trailing the majority of the game and was down by two with less than 20 second left, 69-67. A play was drawn up by Head Coach Joel Weiss for Oakley-Stilson to find a seam in the defense to get off a shot and she was able to score close to the rim to tie the game.
But Tess being Tess in the hectic last few seconds on the inbounds play, she stole the ball and nailed a 15-footer to ice the game for Glendale, showing the grit and determination to help her team succeed when the squad needed her most to make a big play. Or two for that matter.
"Tess represents the best aspects of being an intercollegiate athlete and displays mental toughness, discipline, and competitiveness daily. Tess is very intelligent, thoughtful, kind, a great teammate, and has an incredible work ethic. Her career at Glendale College has been exceptional and she plays both sides of the ball extremely well, said Weiss. "I feel extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to coach Tess and whatever coach signs her will be getting a terrific player and person. They do not make many like you No. 14. Thank you very much Tess for your commitment and dedication to our basketball program, we are all thankful for all your effort!''
Decisions, decisions. One minute the GCC sophomore is headed to the University of San Diego, the next she is wearing No. 14 for the Vaqueros basketball team and is helping to lead them to the 2019 WSC South title.
Some decisions are better put on hold for now. Don't ask the perky 19-year old to decide on an academic major because she loves the idea of becoming a veterinarian, is taking so many English classes and loves writing that she wants to become a teacher and can't believe she even considered going to a four-year school because she loves her experience at GCC so much.
In her own words she summed up her feeling about GCC perfectly, "Coming to Glendale College as a student-athlete is the best decision I have ever made. I love my classes and the teachers who have influenced me and the basketball experience I have had speaks for itself.''
(Courtesy Glendale College Athletics)