When Riley Ott was in the fourth grade, she was at the Indiana-Kentucky All-Star basketball games with her father, Al Ott, when he proceeded to tell her, 'This is something to strive for, maybe one day you could be here.'
Numerous years later, Riley Ott came full circle and now is on the cusp of playing in the All-Star games, representing Indiana and La Porte High School this weekend.
“First off, it's crazy I'm here,” Riley Ott said by phone Monday night from downstate, where she was beginning All-Star week events. “It's a great honor. It's just amazing that I'm here and being able to fulfill a dream I had, or a goal that I wanted since I was little. That just shows you as long as you work hard for your goals, you can achieve anything.”
Remarkably, Ott, a 5-foot-6 point guard, is the first Indiana girls All-Star from La Porte since Beth Lapaich in 1996.
“It's crazy to think about, that we've only had two, including me, be an Indiana All-Star,” she said. “It's just crazy to wrap your head around.”
While Ott made history, she also accomplished another form of history by being one of four La Porte County players who were selected Indiana All-Stars this year. She joins Michigan City's Hannah Noveroske and Marquette Catholic's Emma and Sophia Nolan.
Ott is understandably thrilled to be teammates with Noveroske and the Nolan twins.
“It'll be a lot of fun,” she said. “Because we're used to everybody competing against each other. So it'll be fun to be able to actually play with each other. And just have fun. And get to know each other even more than we already know each other.”
Ott recorded 17.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 3.2 steals a contest this season. She racked up 1,486 career points, a mere 25 shy of shattering the Slicers' girls career scoring record, but her impact went far beyond her numbers.
She was the undisputed leader of the team, helping La Porte finish with a 16-8 record and advance to a sectional final, despite missing five games with a hurt shoulder.
That injury put her All-Star nomination into question at the time, but she was able to persevere and still earn the accolade.
Now Ott is relishing her All-Star opportunity.
“I can’t wait,” she said. “(Indiana All-Star games director) Mike Broughton has been telling me how this is a great experience for everyone, meeting all these girls and getting to know them. This is where you make new friends. I’m so excited to be able to compete with them and play against Kentucky, and hopefully, beat them. And just be able to meet a couple really cool girls and follow them as they go throughout their college career and everything.”
Ott, who will continue her basketball career at Division I Purdue Fort Wayne next season, will finish her high school career by competing in the prestigious Indiana-Kentucky All-Star series. The Indiana Seniors open play against the Indiana Juniors tonight in New Castle, There will be girls-boys doubleheaders at Bellarmine University's Knights Hall in Louisville on Friday, and then in Indianapolis at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Saturday.
Ott couldn't envision anything topping this experience to close her prep career.
"I don't think there could be any better way to finish my high school career," she said. "For me, it's a humbling honor to only be the second one in La Porte history."
Indiana-Kentucky All-Star basketball series
(All times CDT)
Indiana Juniors vs. Indiana Seniors, New Castle H.S.
Girls game, 5 p.m.; Boys game, 7
Knights Hall, Bellarmine University, Louisville
Girls game, 5; Boys game 7
Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis
Girls game, 4 p.m.; Boys game, 6 p.m.