Towering Trapp heads Esko attackSavanna Trapp and Marisa Shady are best friends. From playing basketball, enjoying home school and attending church as youngsters, the Esko sophomores are seemingly identical. Until they stand next to each other.
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
Savanna Trapp and Marisa Shady are best friends. From playing basketball, enjoying home school and attending church as youngsters, the Esko sophomores are seemingly identical.
Until they stand next to each other.
Shady stands at about 5-foot-6, a good foot below Trapp, a towering 6-foot-8.
“I’ve always been taller than everybody else,” said Trapp, a four-sport athlete who also plays volleyball and runs cross country and track. “But I like it. It’s something that no one else has. To me, it’s awesome.”
Trapp’s height is literally incomparable in girls’ high school, college or even professional basketball. With her impressive hands, long arms and ability to protect the rim, the center gives her Eskomos the upper hand on any given night. Mix that with skill, and she’s a game-changer.
“I never have seen a girl so tall,” laughed Esko coach Scott Antonutti. “She causes a lot of turnovers and at times, even against good scorers, can completely erase things.”
Trapp erases opposing offenses with her natural shot-blocking ability. Being able to nearly touch the rim standing flat-footed, Trapp has 171 blocks this winter. The Minnesota state record is 184, a number Trapp is likely to catch in next week’s playoffs.
“Blocking shots is like scoring,” laughed Trapp, who said she hit a growth spurt between sixth and ninth grade where she grew nearly foot. “I’m getting better at offense, but defense is my gig. I love it when the student section goes crazy when I block a shot.”
Behind Trapp, Esko has run their way to a 20-plus win season thus far and the Polar League championship. This winter, they beat Barnum for the first time in years. Come playoff time, they’re the section favorites with Braham. And frankly, Trapp leads the Eskomos by securing stoppage at the rim.
“She’s like our safety net or ‘get out of jail free’ card,” said Shady. “Not many people get by her. Trust me, I’ve tried. I mean, she’s the tallest player in Minnesota. We have an advantage over a lot of teams.”
Trapp has been highly recruited already to play Division I basketball in the future. According to her mother, Krissy, she has shoe boxes filled with letters from colleges. So far, Savanna has received nearly 40 letters in the mail from schools all across the United States. Nearly every night, scouts are in attendance to watch Savanna play.
“She’s a total gym rat,” Krissy Trapp said, adding that their family has traveled to Florida, Texas and Tennessee this past summer to watch Savanna play AAU ball. “She probably plays basketball 11 months out of the year. She loves basketball. Our whole family does. It’s a lifestyle
Krissy, who stands 6 feet 3 inches tall, played basketball at the University of Minnesota Duluth, while her 6-foot-8-inch husband Scott attended Vermilion Community College for hoops. Savanna is their oldest and tallest child, but not far behind is middle school sister Molly at 6 feet 2 inches and elementary brother Adam at 6-foot.
Yes, all the Trapps are over 6 feet tall.
“In shoes,” laughed the much-smaller Shady.
But with height comes challenges for Savanna. She explained that she has to custom order her jeans in India, while her Nike sneakers are also made especially for her size 16 women’s shoe. Growing up, she went through new shoes every four to six months.
“It’s hard,” said Krissy Trapp. “We have to special order everything and it can be very expensive at times. But Savanna loves being tall and everything that goes with it.”
And although her thin bones are still growing, Savanna has improved her strength considerably over the past couple years. She’s been suiting up for the Esko varsity team since she was an eighth-grader and started full time as a freshman.
That was also the same year she first dunked the basketball.
“It was some time during practice my ninth-grade year,” said Trapp, laughing.
But even Trapp pointed out she wasn’t the most well-rounded basketball player in grade school.
“Basketball is my favorite sport, but I wasn’t very good in elementary school,” she said honestly. “But I just kept working harder and harder at my game. Now, it’s pretty much like ‘bring it on.’”
And, although she needs to ice her bruised body with bags of snow after every game, Savanna’s closest friend knows her courageousness and drive are second to none.
“Every game, Savanna goes out knowing that she’s going to get beat to the floor,” said Shady, “and each night she goes out there. Girls hit her, push her, pull her jersey and do whatever they can to get her down. But Savanna keeps coming back and that shows a lot about her work ethic.”
“I’ve always wanted to play basketball at the next level, that’s my goal,” Trapp said.
But before she makes it big, Trapp has a little more practicing to do with her favorite playing partner.
“Savanna works harder than anyone I know,” said Shady, who along with Trapp and their teammates aim to qualify for Esko’s first state tournament since the 2006-07 season as they enter the playoffs next week. “We both play basketball year-round and are in the gym before school, after practice, in the summer, all the time. We live it. And we’re best friends.”