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Kentucky high school basketball standout selected to represent Team USA

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — After a day of taking finals, rising high school senior ZaKiyah Johnson is warming up for practice. 

“It’s like it’s kind of an escape for me, basketball. It’s really good for your mental health and all that,” Johnson said. 


What You Need To Know

  • Sacred Heart Academy’s ZaKiyah Johnson will respresnt Team USA this summer  
  •  She will compete against Brazil, Puerto Rico and Mexico in the FIBA U18 Women’s AmeriCup from June 17-23 
  •  ZaKiyah is one of 12 athletes named to the team after being selected at a team trials in Colorado


The basketball player is preparing to represent Team USA next month in Bucaramanga, Colombia. 

“I was shaking in my boots. Like, I really want to make this team like, it’s something like. It’s one thing that I have not done. And to be able to do it and try and win a gold medal is always something good for everyone,” Johnson shared.

As one of the top recruits in the country, Johnson and her Sacred Heart Academy team won the 2024 Kentucky High School Athletic Association State Championship — the fourth title in a row for the Valkyries. 

Her stats and accomplishments have drawn the attention of coaches around the country. But Johnson says she earned her spot at a Team USA trials earlier this month because of her character on and off the court. 

“It’s really about who has the highest energy, who’s positive, who’s clapping on the sideline when they’re not in the game,” Johnson said while shooting the ball.  

Donna Moir has coached basketball at the all-girls school in Louisville for 32 years. She says Johnson is the first player she’s coached to be selected for Team USA. 

“She lights up the room when she comes in. Everybody knows her. You know, she’s going to she’s growing the game of basketball. She’s brought a lot of attention to high school basketball, and I just couldn’t be more proud of her,” Moir says. 

Johnson hopes to use her talent to inspire other young female athletes. 

“I want them to see that there’s more to the sport than the sport itself. Like all the relationships I have with my friends here,” Johnson says. “I mean there’s so much that comes with it besides basketball.”

Johnson and 11 other Team USA players will face off against Brazil, Puerto Rico and Mexico in the FIBA U18 Women’s AmeriCup from June 17-23. 

Johnson was selected for the team after attending a U18 national team trials at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado earlier this month. 

The athletes will attend a training camp at the Olympic Training Center before the tournament. 

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