Bryna Stokes is one of the best players from the Niceville, FL area in the Class of 2023.
The 5-foot-4, 115-pound Stokes, who attends Rocky Bayou Christian School, is a dynamic player that works as a guard.
No matter the opponent, every game Stokes is determined to give it her all.
Stokes is going all out.
The motor is always at full throttle whenever Stokes steps between the lines.
“Many things go through my head when playing the game. I really try to focus on what my job is and how I can make in-game adjustments. I always strive to be a scoring threat,” Stokes said. “I know by doing my job my teammates can better do their jobs on the court. I want to keep my mindset positive so I can radiate good energy throughout the whole team.”
Stokes has great passion and energy whenever he’s on the hardwood. Stokes tells why she enjoys the game of basketball so much.
“Playing basketball gives me so much joy. My coaches are a major reason why I love the game so much,” Stokes said. “They believe in me to do the best I can. I couldn’t ask for better teammates who make the game enjoyable and fun while always encouraging me.”
Stokes has learned many valuable lessons from playing basketball that she applies to her everyday life.
The main one is applying perspective to all situations.
“Basketball has taught me to always work hard in everything I do,” Stokes said. “Strive for perfection to achieve greatness and never settle for just being good.”
Stokes recalls her favorite sports memory.
“It was a home game against Jay. This was the first game that I had played for our varsity team this season because I had to finish out my middle school basketball season,” Stokes said. “I came off the bench ready to compete. I was excited to start playing with the varsity team and I was ready to work. I ended up making six 3-pointers for a total of 18 points. We ended up losing the game but it was still a moment I’ll never forget.”
Molly Brown is in her first season coaching Stokes for Rocky Bayou Christian School.
Brown explains the best parts of Stokes’ game.
“She is not the tallest but we often put her on bigger post players because of her strength and work ethic in the paint,” Brown said.
Stokes takes her role as one of the leaders on the team very seriously. Stokes makes sure she’s a daily positive influence on her peers.
“She plays shooting guard and point guard some. She is a big scoring threat as a shooting guard and sees the floor very well when at the point position,” Brown said. “Bryna is an effective scorer because she is always ready to shoot. When her feet are set she's money. As a point guard she is long and typically a little taller than most players her ago so she is able to see the floor well.”
Brown adds that Stokes is one of those consummate teammates that every squad needs to be successful.
“Her leadership is astounding,” Brown said. “She is just an eighth grader but is confident in her abilities which shows in her communication with her teammates.”
Stokes is appreciative of having amazing role models that are supportive.
“I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter how old you are, how much experience you have, or even how much skill you have. If you don’t have a leadership mindset then you can’t be a leader on and off the court. My coaches have pushed me to rise to the challenge of being a better leader and it has helped me in basketball and my daily life. Knowing people believe in me pushes me to work harder and harder,” Stokes said. “All of my coaches have given me so much great advice and so many things they have said could be classified as the best. Some of the ‘best’ advice they have given is to communicate. Communication is absolutely one of the keys to success. Being on the same page with your teammates at all times is important. Being able to discuss with each other what we can do better and how to fix what we are doing wrong is also important.”
Brown is an advocate of Stokes’ capabilities.
“In her first varsity game this year she was 6-of-9 from the three point line all in the second half,” Brown said.
In addition to making clutch plays, Stokes also has a high level of basketball IQ as well.
Stokes has excellent basketball awareness that puts her in position to thrive.
“Her IQ of the game is prevalent in her play,” Brown said. “She is a smart player that makes the most of her opportunities on the floor.”
Stokes is on the grind to perfect and hone her craft in any way possible.
“Her work ethic is driven by her competitive spirit,” Brown said. “She hates to lose and will work hard to do whatever she can to win.”
Brown explains why she compares Stokes to this standout.
“I'd compare her to a Diana Taurasi type player because of her length,” Brown said. “She is a shooter but also explosive to the basket. Just an all around threat.”
Stokes is constantly striving for greatness in everything that she does.
“I want to always try my best at everything I do in life. I also want to someday become a great leader and someone people look up to,” Stokes said. “I will always strive to be a good friend and teammate and I want to glorify God in everything that I do on and off the court.”
Stokes lists Spanish as her favorite subject in school.
“Spanish is definitely my favorite subject,” Stokes said. “Learning another language really makes you appreciate people that are bilingual and learning the Spanish language can be very useful in your everyday life.”
Brown outlines the areas of improvement that will take Stokes to the next level.
“As an eighth grader she has a lot of improvement she can do. Hopefully this summer I will be able to work on some quick feet drills and agility to get her moving better,” Brown said. “She has length which helps her defense but with quicker feet she will be an even bigger threat. ”
Brown believes the sky is the limit as long as Stokes continues to stay hungry.
“Her potential goes beyond anything she can imagine for sure,” Brown said. “If we get to work now as just an eighth grader she could be a top college prospect in her class.”
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