Basketball has been with Anna Lea Little and Maggie Proffitt for most of their lives.
The progress they've made on the court over their careers has been due to a genuine love for the sport.
That won't end any time soon as it has also led to college scholarships.
On Wednesday, the Starkville Academy duo signed the papers in front of family and friends at the school's media center with Little making Arkansas Tech her choice and Proffitt making Central Arkansas her destination.
Little and Proffitt have already contributed significantly to what the Lady Volunteers have been able to do this season in winning the first five games.
Starkville Academy girls coach Glenn Schmidt was happy to see the hard work for Little and Proffitt pay off.
"They didn't do this just to get a college scholarship," Schmidt said. "They did this because that's who they are. It's something where they want to be the very best they can be.
"These two young girls have spent a good part of their elementary, junior high and high school lives toward this. We're just so pleased they are playing for Starkville Academy. They are outstanding young women, are dedicated players and role models. I feel fortunate to have both of them here."
Little transferred from Starkville Christian School three years ago and her game has continued to develop with the Lady Vols.
"I want to thank Starkville Christian, the place that got me started, and Starkville Academy also because they have helped me come a long way," Little said. "(Schmidt)Â knows what she's doing and wants the best for each player. She's done a lot to help me out."
There were several factors that made Arkansas Tech attractive for Little.
"I really like the coach and he seemed really honest," Little said. "I have some family in Arkansas and it's beautiful. I just liked everything about the school."
For Proffitt, Central Arkansas wasn't an option for her until the end of the summer. The coaches there saw Proffitt play at the Basketball in the Bayou Tournament in New Orleans, La.
She went to Northwestern State for a visit, but wasn't ready to make a commitment without considering other places.
Proffitt was glad that Central Arkansas entered the picture.
"We got a visit set up to Central Arkansas and I knew right then that was the place for me," Proffitt said. "I just felt it and thought it was the best decision."
Proffitt came to Starkville Academy from Columbus High School and even though it's a different league, she said the game is still the same.
Having a coach like Schmidt has also helped Proffitt make a successful transition.
"She knows the game and knows how to win," Proffitt said. "I'm getting a good variety of play and it's helping me get better."
Schmidt was proud to share the occasion with the families of Little and Proffitt.
"When something like this happens, it represents a lot of years, a lot of hours and things that don't just happen at Starkville Academy," Schmidt said. "They've got the support of parents, grandparents, sisters and brothers. It's really a family effort."View more articles in: