By CLINT FOSTER
SANTO – It's been a great year to be a Santo Wildcat.
With athletic success across the board and multiple athletes earning trips to state in various sports, this Palo Pinto County town of about 315 has earned unprecedented recognition and praise for a banner year.
To cap it off, Monday in the Santo High School Library four athletes – all of them basketball players – got the opportunity to end their Santo careers by pledging to continue to play at the next level for the colleges of their choice.
Courtney Flanagan and Madison Lasater, who were key to the Santo Ladycats basketball team's first trip to the state tournament in 57 years, will continue as teammates not far from where their senior season ended at Southwestern University in Georgetown.
Meanwhile, their teammate and point guard for the Ladycats Breanna Raffaele will head east to Arlington Baptist College, where one of her best friends and a Wildcat success story, Zarmorris Cannon, will also begin his dream of being a college basketball player.
"It's a great day for Santo," head girls basketball coach and Breanna's father Tony Raffaele said after his daughter inked her contract. "I'm very proud. After all the years playing ball since the fifth grade and driving back and forth from the Metroplex, it's paid off."
For Lasater and Flanagan, continuing as teammates – although not a determining factor – was a huge plus in choosing to join the Pirates of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference in NCAA Division III.
"Courtney and I have played together since we were in like seventh grade," Lasater said. "Now I've gotten to finish out my senior year with her and I'm going to play at the next level with her. It's just going to be awesome."