Basketball is a sport full of momentum swings. How a player deals with adversity, whether in the form of a missed layup or a questionable foul, often determines how successful they are on the court. The same principle can be applied to life.
Take Rialto High junior Carrington Davis, for example. The 5-foot-10 junior guard and team captain has been dealing with the ultimate distraction yet continues to perform at a high level game in and game out, a testament to her inner strength and a strong support system.
Davis has been living out of a suitcase since her family was displaced after an electrical fire damaged their home the week before Christmas. Her 5-year-old brother was napping and her mother was in the shower when the fire started in the garage. Neither was harmed and the fire department was able to put out the blaze, but not before it destroyed most of what was in the garage, including some hidden Christmas gifts. Smoke overwhelmed the rest of the home, which has since been gutted down to the studs in several rooms. The insurance company estimated it will be roughly six months before the family is able to return home.
“I was at school at the time, around 3 p.m., and there was a game that night,” Davis recalled. “My brother was going to text me but my mom told him not to. So I played without knowing what happened and we won. On the way home, my dad told me the whole story. We got there and the entire place smelled really bad. I’m just happy no one was hurt.”
Davis and her family have been staying at her aunt’s house about 30 minutes from campus. Despite the unexpected upheaval, she is averaging 28.6 points, 12.5 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 4.5 steals and 1.3 blocks per game while making 49% of her shots from the field. Davis has been on a tear lately and the hardwood has become a sanctuary, a place she does not have time to dwell on her unfortunate situation.
“What happened hasn’t changed anything — she’s been scoring like this all season,” Knights head coach Robert Goodloe said. “I put a lot of trust in her. She’s been trained mentally and physically to face any challenge that comes her way. Her work ethic has set such a positive example and I can depend on her in any moment.”
An honor-roll student, Davis aspires to play in college and is well on her way to getting a full-ride scholarship. On Jan. 13, she recorded 28 points, 18 rebounds, three assists and two steals in a 53-42 victory over host King/Drew in the Drew League’s No Excuse Just Produce Classic. Afterward, she was selected player of the game and her Cal Sparks coaches told her they want her to play on the 17U Gold team this summer alongside Aliyahna Morris and Grace Knox of reigning CIF Open Division champion Etiwanda.
“I want to be a Division 1 student athlete,” she said.
Davis netted a career-high 47 points against Summit on Jan. 9 and scored 39 more against Kaiser two days later. The Knights (21-3) are ranked No. 13 in the Southern Section Division 2AA poll and since Davis became the starting point guard as a 14-year-old freshman Rialto has lost a total of 10 games. As a sophomore last winter she averaged 24 points and led the Knights to the Division 4AA championship, earning player of the year in the process.
She gets all of the encouragement and support she needs from her biggest fans — her family, who never miss a game. That includes her grandparents, aunts and uncles, her two brothers, her mom, Angela Parks (who played multiple sports in high school and was a left fielder on the softball team at North Carolina A&T) and dad, Tyrell Parks, an assistant coach at Rialto who played for Goodloe at Carl Johnson Community Center as a youth.
“It takes a village — I do more strength and conditioning,” said Tyrell, who set up his own sibling group chat and keeps in touch daily. “At practice I treat everyone the same.”
“There’s an understanding,” Angela added. “Car rides home are all about the game, but as soon as you walk through the door, basketball is off limits.”
Davis inspires not only her teammates, but her 11-year old brother Carson, who recently made his middle school basketball team. Though she was not present when the fire occurred, the trauma it caused her loved ones has taught her to appreciate what she has. Her mom will never forget hearing the smoke alarm go off, grabbing her son, moving the car out to the street and calling 911.
“It was scary but I feel grateful … it could’ve been worse,” Angela said. “Everything in the garage was unsalvageable, whatever was left got thrown away. I grew up in that house and it’s like starting over. The insulation in the walls, the beds, the carpet, it all has to be replaced. We’re hoping to be back in mid-July.”
Davis has adapted as well as any teenager can and while NCAA basketball is in her future, her immediate goal is to power the Knights to another section crown.
“We’re in a higher division so I’m sure the playoffs will be tougher, but we face the same teams in league and our tournaments prepared us,” Davis said. “I’m looking forward to it.”
Having already clinched their second straight Sunkist League title, the Knights can wrap up another perfect league record with a victory Tuesday at crosstown rival Eisenhower, her parents’ alma mater. Davis had 37 points in the teams’ first league matchup, a 71-37 Rialto win.