Making their choice: Van Alstyne duo announce college destinations
VAN ALSTYNE — A pair of senior VA athletes who have contributed in multiple sports narrowed their focus as they prepare to compete at the college level.
Tinsley Love signed her letter of intent to play softball for Northeast Texas Community College.
She chose the junior college program over Texas A&M-Commerce and UT-Tyler.
“I played for their assistant coach for my travel league,” Love said. “I fell in love with the place. I really like the coach. It seemed like the perfect fit.”
Nathan Henley signed his letter of intent to play basketball for Southwestern Assemblies of God.
He chose the NAIA program over Oklahoma Wesleyan and Texas Wesleyan.
“It’s closer to home than the options I had,” Henley said. “The coach was really cool and I liked the feel of the campus.”
After her first softball season at Van Alstyne was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Love helped the Lady Panthers earn the second seed for the playoffs after the program moved up to Class 4A for this spring.
“I knew at the beginning of the year we had a lot of talent. Moving up to 4A was a little scary,” Love said. “We can compete with these higher-level teams.”
Her impact comes behind the plate, a place she is wants to keep contributing.
“I love catching and I wanted to be a catcher. That was my main thing,” Love said. “My passion is to be a catcher the rest of my softball career.”
Love spent her first two seasons at Texoma Christian and helped the Lady Eagles to the TAPPS state tourney both years and was an all-state selection.
Northeast Texas Community College is 12-27 overall this season and 1-19 in Region XIV East Zone Division action.
Last season the Eagles were 5-13 overall and 1-1 in conference play when the season was stopped due to COVID-19 and 15-29 and 10-18 in Northeast Texas Community College’s last full season prior to this one.
Henley was the third-leading scorer as Van Alstyne won the District 9-4A title in its first year as a 4A program and ended 20-9 with a trip to the region quarterfinals.
He was a first-team all-district selection after averaging 11.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, three assists and two steals per game.
“I fell in love with basketball again and knew it was something I wanted to keep doing,” Henley said.
During his junior season the Panthers went 28-7 and made the region quarterfinals. He averaged 5.2 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists.
Henley played football for the first time as a senior and also has been a multi-year starter for the baseball program.
“It’s been a lot of fun, stressful as well, but I’ve had a really good time competing with all of my friends,” Henley said.
Southwestern Assemblies of God is coming off one of the best seasons in school history after the Lions reached the NAIA National Tournament semifinals for the second time and first since 2013.
SAGU finished 13-3 in a season which included winning the Sooner Athletic Conference regular season crown.
Last season the Lions went 25-7 overall and 13-7 to place fourth in the SAC. The program has had a winning season every year since 2011 and in those 10 seasons won at least 20 games eight times.
There are two friendly faces from this past year’s roster in former Van Alstyne standouts Noah and Isaiah Boling.
“I know the Bolings really good so of course that helps,” Henley said. “It means a lot because I want to be successful and go somewhere and win.”