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Pintos Spotlight: Tristan Porter

by Evan Holmes | June 7, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.
During her four seasons with the Lady Pintos from 2018-2021, Tristan Porter became one of the most accomplished players in California High School basketball history. (Photo submitted by Tristan Porter)

The third of six children to Doug and Melanie Porter, Tristan Porter was born Aug. 2, 2002. Porter was raised in the small town of High Point and went to school there from kindergarten through the eighth grade. Porter said she grew up with a basketball in her hand ever since she was born and fell in love with basketball from the word "go."

Porter told the Democrat going to school in High Point gave her the opportunity to play junior high basketball at a lower grade level.

"Since (the school) was so small, pretty much everyone there had to play so that there could be a team. Each day we would practice with and against the boys. I've grown up playing two-on-two against my siblings (Trey, Trevor, and Trishelle), which helped me to be competitive and tough," Porter said. "Since all of us have always been so competitive, we weren't going to let the other team win, because then we would hear about it the rest of the night. So we never took it easy on one another."

Porter said now that she's older, she gets to watch her two younger sisters -- Treagan and Trynleigh -- play basketball. She said watching them play helps her realize where she found her love for the game.

"(It) brings back so many good memories I had when I played at their age," Porter said. "Additionally, listening to them, along with my cousins and other little girls around the community, helps me to realize that there are younger people that look up to me and I need to be a good role model to them."

As her skills as a basketball player formed over the years, Porter played on multiple travel teams. She said the experience introduced her to new people and advanced her abilities.

Porter started playing basketball at 5 years old and went on to play for the Lady Rage, a team with local girls that her dad, Doug Porter, coached. Soon after, Porter played for the Lady Thunder and the Lady Spirit basketball teams. While playing for the Lady Spirit team, she was coached by Jefferson City High School girls' basketball coach Kay Foster.

For the last four summers of Porter's youth basketball career, she played for the Phenom, an Amateur Athletic Union club youth travel team. In her third year with the Phenom, Porter played in eight tournament championship games.

In 2017, she arrived at California High School for her freshman season with the Lady Pintos. As the Lady Pintos' starting point guard, Porter helped her team go all the way to the Class 3 State Championship game with a second-place finish.

"Being a Lady Pinto for four years, I have lots of memories that were created. I remember Midnight Madness my freshman year, earning All-Conference and All-District honors, summer team camps, scoring my 1,000th point, bus rides, team bonding, getting All-State, winning Tournament MVP and all the tournament wins we had," Porter said. "Even though all of those are memories that will last a lifetime, I would have to say that the greatest memory was going to State my Freshman year. I'll never forget the wins we had to get there, the community send-off, walking on JQH arena (now Great Southern Bank Arena) with nobody else in the gym, running out of the tunnel for the State Championship game, and getting my second-place state medal. Nor will I forget the girls I played with or the community support we had. Since very few high school players get to experience that, I was so grateful to have experienced it the way I did."

In July 2020, Porter committed to play basketball at Columbia College.

Although she didn't participate in many games during her freshman year in college, she said she was fortunate enough to be part of the team that won a conference championship and moved on to the NAIA Division I National Tournament. However, Porter felt she was losing her love for basketball due to her lack of playing time, and wanted a change.

In April 2022, Porter committed to Westminster College, where her younger sister Trishelle was going to play. Porter said she fell in love with Westminster on her campus visit. However, her first year at Westminster took a turn when she injured her knee before Christmas and missed two months of the season. Porter fought the odds against her injury and returned to the lineup at a critical point. Porter helped the Lady Blue Jays make it to the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament championship game, where they lost 87-84 to Webster University.

With two years that she has left to play collegiate basketball, Porter hopes to earn All-Conference honors, win a conference championship and make the NCAA Division III National Tournament alongside her sister Trishelle. Porter aims to break a Westminster school record in either three-pointer, free throws, assists, or steals.

She is currently majoring in exercise science to become a physical therapist. Because Westminster doesn't have a physical therapy program, Porter plans to transfer colleges again to begin three years of physical therapy schooling after her athletic career concludes.

Porter said the support from both her family and the communities she's played for helped her become the player and person she is today. She will use their example to be a role model for future basketball players.

"The town of California has been nothing short of amazing in showing me what hometown support is all about," Porter said. "By them continuing to support me in everything, it has helped me to create special bonds with so many people. Since the town has always given me the best, I hope to be able to give back to them someday. Whether it be coaching there one day or continuing to be a role model to future Pintos and Lady Pintos. I hope that someday I can make that happen."

photo Tristan Porter finished her high school career with four All-Conference awards, four All-Districts awards, a second place state medal and an overall record of 78-29 with the Lady Pintos. (Photo submitted by Tristan Porter)
photo Tristan Porter currently plays for the Westminster Lady Blue Jays and will transfer to an undecided college to became a physical therapist. (Photo submitted by Tristan Porter)

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