PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Bendu Yeaney has one goal in mind: to lead St. Mary’s Academy to a state title.
“Getting there and winning my senior year would honestly be amazing, because you can’t end your season no other way than winning a state championship,” Yeaney, a 5-foot-9 point guard, said.
Yeaney helped the Blues reach the state championship game her sophomore year.
“Her sophomore year we lost in the championship [against South Salem] by six points,” Jamie Gabbert, St. Mary’s Academy varsity assistant basketball coach, said.
“Before that state championship game – I think three weeks before that – I rolled my ankle really bad,” said Yeaney. “I thought I broke it because I heard three pops and I thought my ankle was done. But then my doctor said it was a really bad sprain, and I was able to come back in less than two weeks. And then I was able to play at state, and then we got to the state championship.
“A lot of people praise me for my offensive ability, but they don’t see how I affect the game on the defensive side.”
“I think probably where she is going to break the [school] record is with blocks per game,” said Gabbert. “She almost hit her head on the backboard one time blocking a shot.”
Those athletic skills and good grades helped Yeaney earn a basketball scholarship to Indiana University.
“When I went down on my visit the coaches showed me around [and] the players showed me so much love that I felt like I was already a part of their team,” said Yeaney. “And just being on campus and feeling the atmosphere around [the Indiana University campus] … it just felt like I was meant to be there.”
Yeaney said she also considered Oregon State, Arizona, Washington and Colorado before choosing IU.
“She leads by example on the court and in the classroom. You know, I have classes with her and we work together and do homework together,” Sally Luciano, a shooting guard on the varsity basketball team, said. “We’re both striving for the same goal on the court and off the court for good grades, and for a good score and a win.”
Here’s something else we learned about our Athlete of The Week:
“She’s quite the little singer so be prepared,” said Luciano with a smile. “She’s got a voice in there, too.”
“[During the] Pregame I sing a lot. In the locker room I sing a lot,” said Yeaney. “In practice I sing a lot and dance a lot.”
There is no doubt that Yeaney will be remembered as one of the all-time greats at St. Mary’s Academy.
“I want to be one of the best point guards to come out of St. Mary’s,” said Yeaney.