They’ve known each other less than a year, but apparently Gabby Johnson and Shanice Henderson are inseparable now.
The Mountain Pointe seniors have signed letters of intent to continue their friendship and basketball careers on and off the court at Phoenix College next fall.
Johnson has been in the Pride girls basketball program for four years, but Henderson, a point guard, didn’t become part of the mix until her family moved here from North Dakota last summer.
“We clicked on the floor immediately,” Johnson said. “We became friends, and now it feels like we’ve known each other for a lifetime.”
Phoenix College assistant coach Kristi Kincaid “found” the backcourt duo when she attended a Pride game late in the season to check out forward Katie Nemecek, who is headed to Arizona State University on an academic scholarship.
Kincaid gave an enthusiastic report to head coach Samantha Ezell.
“She came back and said, ‘We really need to get these kids,’’’ said Ezell, who saw the pair during the opening round of the state playoffs at Mountain Pointe.
It was almost fate, Johnson said.
“They came to one of our games later in the season and were looking at Katie when they saw us and took an interest,” Johnson said.
It didn’t hurt that the Pride had one of their best seasons in years under first-year coach Trevor Neider.
Mountain Pointe was 25-4 and swept through an undefeated East Valley Region season and won the conference championship.
Johnson had 125 rebounds and averaged a little more then eight points a game while, even as a newcomer, Henderson ran the show on the floor as a point guard and averaged a little more than nine points a game.
“We knew each other on the court and felt like we made an impact,” Johnson said.
She had been talking with Chandler-Gilbert and Mesa Community college recruiters, but said she felt Phoenix College was the best choice to pursue basketball and her major in business and marketing.
“I felt like it was the best school for me, and we wanted to stick together,” Johnson said.
It may have been destiny that Henderson moved here in time to join the Pride for her senior season.
“If I was still in North Dakota I don’t know where I would have gone, but without Gabby, probably some junior college there, I guess,” Henderson said.
Ezell said with the chemistry Johnson and Henderson have, she expects them to be making a contribution when the season begins next winter.