JoJo Raposo recently received the Dottie McGahigan award, given annually to the top senior girls basketball player in Hillsborough County. (Photo courtesy of the Bloomingdale girls basketball program.)

It has been a whirlwind couple of months for Bloomingdale High School girls basketball player Joline ‘JoJo’ Raposo. She led the Lady Bulls to their first-ever regional title in February after being named player of the year in the Western Conference Federal Division First Team a few weeks before. She also competed in the Hillsborough County East/West All-Star Game and took home MVP honors for the east squad.

She recently received the Dottie McGahigan award, given annually to the top senior girls basketball player in Hillsborough County. Three days later, she announced that she committed to play basketball for St. Thomas Aquinas College (STAC) in New York.

“When I found out that I was player of the year, I was completely baffled,” said Raposo. “I never thought my name would ever get brought up in a conversation on that topic. But I was also happy because I feel like with everything that I’ve done these past four years, I earned it. But honestly, it wasn’t just me who did that alone, my teammates also played a big role in that accomplishment.”

Raposo led her team with 10.6 points per game and 4.2 steals per game, adding three rebounds per game and 86 total assists on the season. Head Coach Joel Bower said that she not only was invaluable on the court, but she set a good example for her younger teammates off the court as well.

“JoJo led our team by being one of our hardest working players and bringing an enthusiasm to the gym every day,” said Bower. “She backed that up by being our most consistent performer on the court. We were able to count on her production night in and night out.”

Raposo has built a strong rapport with her teammates, who appreciate her talent on the court and her friendship off the court.

“I have been teammates with JoJo for about a year and loved every moment of it,” said junior forward Kyrstin Wolff. “She has been there for not only me, but the whole team every day. She’s made me a better player and everyone around her better as well. What I am going to miss most is her energy. She is always positive and bringing everyone up. I loved being on the same team with her, and even more that I can call her my sister on and off the court.”

The senior guard will take her talents to St. Thomas Aquinas College in New York in the fall.

“The standout to me for St. Thomas Aquinas was the coach. He is so driven for me to be on the team, and he always puts his girls first,” said Raposo. “That was a huge thing for me, because caring for your players is the main key for successful seasons. The thing I look forward to the most for college basketball are the workouts and also the games. Now that I have to get used to a shot clock, I feel like it will be an interesting change in my game.”

Bower will miss coaching the superstar guard, who led the Lady Bulls to their first final four in Bloomingdale’s history.

“I will miss her positivity and her competitiveness,” he said. “I will miss her walking into the gym with a smile on her face but then when it was time to work, she flipped that switch and was a tough competitor. I think JoJo will have an immediate impact at STAC. I am really excited to see her growth, as I know she will have tremendous coaches working with her up there.”

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Nick Nahas has written for the Osprey Observer since 2016. He has lived in the Valrico area since 2002 and has his bachelor’s degree in mass communications from the University of South Florida. He is dedicated to covering sports in Hillsborough County at every level.