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Bonsky Heating and Cooling Athlete of the Week: Streetsboro basketball’s Naomi Benson

Bonsky Heating and Cooling Athlete of the Week: Streetsboro basketball’s Naomi Benson


By Tom Nader

Publisher and Editor


Basketball seasons are long.

With as many positives that are celebrated, there are just as many layers of stress and periods of physical and mental exhaustion.

They are all ingredients in helping the maturity of a team and its players across a season that begins in October and pushes into February.

Or if you are the Streetsboro Rockets, a hope that the season extends into March.

Through all of the introduced pressures, Streetsboro 6-foot-3 junior Naomi Benson, one of the nation’s highest-rated basketball recruits, has found a very simple way to manage it all.

Smile more.

Be happier.

“Honestly, on a personal level, I have gotten closer to God, and I have found more happiness and more peace in my life,” Benson said. “I made a decision that I wanted to chill out more, not be so stressed out and find more peace of mind.”

It is working.

Benson’s Rockets are 11-1 in the Metro Athletic Conference and just one win away from securing the school’s first-ever girls basketball league championship.

The team has two more league games staring back at them in their chance to make history. Streetsboro hosts Coventry on Thursday, then will host Ravenna on Feb. 14.

On a team filled with talented and committed players, Benson is the leading factor, with averages of 16.8 points and 12.2 rebounds per game.

On Saturday, she became just the third girls basketball player in school history to reach the 1,000-point milestone, while still having the rest of her junior year and all of her senior season ahead of her.

Benson joined Rachel Bolyard (1,348 points) and Kim Taylor (1,034) as the only other players to reach the prestigious scoring achievement.

With all of the individual and team success, it may be difficult for some to stay grounded, but Streetsboro head coach Carl Singer has seen exactly the opposite with Benson.

“I think Naomi’s maturity has definitely grown a lot in the past year,” Singer said. “She has always been mature and humble, despite the amount of attention she receives, but this year, we have seen that translate into her being a better team leader.

“She understands that if she stays positive and leads by example, she can help the team battle through some difficult times that occur throughout the game.”

ESPN ranks Benson as the second-highest rated player in Ohio for the Class of 2025 and the 57th-best recruit in the nation. She has received multiple college offers, including many from power-five conferences.

That projects to a bright future, but Benson is genuine when she explains that her focus is on today and the goals that she wants to work toward with her beloved teammates.

“I feel like we have grown into a family together,” Benson said of her team. “We talk a lot all the time, even in the off-season. We set some goals together, and we want to follow our plan to get there. Not because of what it will mean to us individually, but more because we want to do it for each other. That is our focus.”

It is a focus that materialized throughout the off-season, then naturally became a healthy component once the regular season got underway.

“We have a large group of players that showed their commitment throughout the off-season,” Singer said. “When you see your teammates coming to all of our summer events, coming to open gyms after school and even coming in at 6 a.m. to work on shooting, it shows everyone that you are all in.

“Along with believing in each other’s commitment to our goals, we are lucky to have a great group of kids,” Singer added. “They are all kids that our high-school staff would say are leaders in the building and represent our school very well.”

They are on the verge of representing the school in a historic way.

As it happens, Benson will be smiling. She will be happy.

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