She may only be 5-foot-3 but Sydni Stallworth has the heart of a giant and the skills athletes twice her size could only dream of. The former Southern Arizona Player of the Year from Palo Verde High School is the real deal and she will be taking her immense talents from Pima to Alaska Anchorage.
Stallworth had limited options according to so-called experts who never saw her play yet she “somehow” managed to score 2,182 career points at Palo Verde. Only 13 other athletes in the history of Arizona basketball have scored more.
Stallworth moved over to Pima where she continued to shine under the direction of head coach Todd Holthaus. Stallworth earned First-Team All-American status while helping the Aztecs to a third-place finish at the NJCAA Division II National Tournament.
Stallworth was named to the All-Tournament Team at Nationals and was named ACCAC Division II Player of the Year.
“The one muscle that often gets overlooked in recruiting is the size of someone’s heart! A big heart overcomes a lot of other perceived deficiencies,” Holthaus told AllSportsTucson.com when word came down about her All-American status.
“Syd is a fierce competitor that doesn’t like to lose. When that’s your PG, good things happen with your team. It’s an individual award that’s also a compliment to the team. Icing on an incredible season!”
Stallworth played in the NJCAA National All-Star game in Niceville, Florida in July and her jersey is hanging in the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville.
“This is something I’ve wanted since I was five years old,” Stallworth said at her signing ceremony held at Pima West on Thursday. “I just never thought it would come this way, playing in Alaska. They were the first school to show real interest in me and it all come together after my visit in October.”
Stallworth was part of the powerful Titan team of 2011 that included senior towers Darian Saunders and Alicia Jones. Saunders finished her career at Palo Verde with 1,635 points. At 6-2, Saunders went on to play for Missouri. At 5-10, Jones was the TucsonCitizen.com Southern Arizona Player of the Year before playing for Pima and then Florida A & M. Still, Stallworth averaged over eight points a game as a freshman.
We got a true glimpse of just how good Stallworth could be once Saunders and Jones graduated and she still managed to break 2,000 career points even when other teams knew she was coming. They could not stop her.
“I was overlooked because of my size,” Stallworth added. “It just motivated me and I felt I had something to prove.”
Arizona Career Scoring Leaders: Girls (ABCA)
1 Julie Brase, Catalina Foothills (2,913) 1994-1998
2 Kayla Pedersen, Red Mountain (2,611) 2003-2007
3 Christina Wirth, Seton Catholic (2,550) 2001-2005
4 Ashley Wirtzberger, Yuma Catholic/Gila Bend (2,505) 2006-2010
5 Alexis Cortez, Tucson (2,479) 2012-2016
6 Nicole Powell, Mountain Pointe (2,478) 1996-2000
7 Olivia Snyder, Green Fields (2,382) 2009-2013
8 Alyssa Wahl, Cibola (2,366) 1999-2003
9 Wendy Woudenberg, Scottsdale Christian (2,295) 2001-2005
10 Marie Folsom, Corona del Sol (2,270) 1990-1994
11 Brooke Jackson, Mesa Mountain View (2,250) 2003-2007
12 Desirae Gonzalez, Kingman (2,242) 2012-2016
13 Dymond Simon, St. Mary’s (2,189) 2002-2006
14 Sydni Stallworth, Palo Verde (2,182) 2011-2015
15 Shawn Coder, Willcox (2,162) 1986-1990
16 Amy Showers, Camp Verde (2,161) 2001-2005
17 Sonia Bribiescas, Superior (2,109) 1984-1988
18 Paula Pyers, Santa Rita (2,082) 1980-1984
19 Theresa Wirth, Seton Catholic (2,080) 2007-2010
20 Kalie Matthes, O’Connor (2,068) 2008-2012
21 Camille Zimmerman, Tempe Prep (2,054) 2010-2014
22 Taneisha Gossett, Flowing Wells (2,043) 1990-1994
Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014 and has been a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. His own children have won multiple state high school championships and were named to all-state teams. Competing in hockey, basketball, baseball and track & field in high school, his unique perspective can only be found here and on AZPreps365.com. Contact Andy Morales at AMoralesMyTucson@yahoo.com