In third grade, Veronica Sheffey had the basketball skills and talent to face sixth graders who were much larger and older. This set the precedent for her future sports career.
Over a decade ago, her passion for the sport blossomed while watching her older brother dribble around a basketball. She thought, ‘I want to do that, too.’ When she first started playing in the third grade, her hunger for the game quickly developed.
“I realized I could actually be good at it,” she said. “I fell in love with playing and that’s all I wanted to do.”
Ever since sixth grade, Sheffey dreamed of playing basketball on the college stage. She channeled her energy and passion into the sport, she said.
“My strengths are being aggressive and attacking the basket,” she said. “I've always been that type of point guard to find a way to the hoop. But over the past couple of years, I've really worked on my outside shot.”
Sheffey, now a senior at Sno-King Academy, consistently scores double digits for the Woodinville High School girls varsity basketball team. In fall 2021, the 5-foot-9-inch point guard announced her commitment to the basketball program at University of San Diego.
She decided on USD after visiting the campus in the summer of 2021. She said the warm air, welcoming coaches and positive team culture ultimately persuaded her choice. The academic reputation of the school also contributed to her decision, she noted.
“It checked all my boxes for what I was looking for,” she said. “I felt like it was the right place for me.”
Sheffey is excited to close out her senior season alongside WHS senior Tatum Thompson. The duo first met while playing on a Woodinville select basketball team in the fourth grade. They clicked immediately, she said.
“If you look back at pictures, we've always been that dynamic duo ever since fourth grade,” Sheffey said. “It’s been fun to play with her ever since.”
Thompson will continue her basketball career at Boise State University in the fall.
Until then, the WHS team is determined to finish with another winning season. The roster is full of new faces, Sheffey said. However, the athletes have grown close to each other in a short amount of time.
The season started with a non-conference loss (78-55) against Tumwater High School, she noted. WHS came back with a vengeance for the next four games, defeating each opponent by more than 20 points.
Three games were cancelled or postponed in December. As of Jan. 3, the overall record stands at 5-1.
“We’ve picked it up and figured out how everyone else in the district plays and their weaknesses,” she said.
Sheffey played a massive role in Woodinville’s near-perfect season in 2019-20, according to a news release from USD. She has collected numerous awards throughout the years including back-to-back End of the Trail All-Tournament awards in 2017 and 2018. She was also named the 4A KingCo Defensive Player of the Year in 2019-20.
The diligence and follow-through learned in basketball translated to Sheffey’s schoolwork as well. As a running start student at Bellevue College, she has maintained a 3.91 grade-point average.
She said the late-night competitions and 5 a.m. workout sessions taught her how to stay consistent in all areas of life.
“Keeping that focus mentality—whether it’s on a court or off the court—plays a role in all different aspects of life,” she said.
Sheffey hopes to follow in the footsteps of her father and two older siblings with a career in business beyond basketball, she said. She is also debating a minor in social justice.
“Basketball is not everything in life, even though it takes a lot of my time,” she said. “I've learned that basketball doesn't define me.”
Sheffey credits her success to current WHS coaches Scott Bullock and Sam Moscatel as well as her former Amateur Athletic Union coach Cory Sheppard. All three coaches have helped her through challenges faced on and off the court, she said.