Those uncertainties seem so distant for the first-year transfer student, who placed them in her rearview mirror long ago, much like the other obstacles in her life. Mostella has signed on to play basketball for Georgia Northwestern Technical College, which plays its games at Shorter University and has campuses in Rome, Calhoun, Rockmart, Rock Spring and Dalton.
“This day for me is crazy. I want to cry,” Mostella said on Friday, smiling in disbelief. “There’s nothing like this. I honestly never thought I would make it this far.”
Mostella had been a student at Rome High before this school year but transferred to Cartersville in hopes of avoiding some of the difficulties of her past school life.
“I had left Rome because I was going through a whole lot of things as far as being bullied and all that stuff, and I didn’t feel as if I’d graduate if I went to Rome any further, and I was pregnant with my second child,” Mostella said. “And, my dad really didn’t want me there anymore because of that or whatever … he said that I was a ‘problem child.’ I [came] up here and I really wanted to play basketball.”
The 6-foot senior intimated her wishes to Lady Purple Hurricanes coach Donna Enis. “She just came to see me one day and said she wanted to play and so we did the paperwork,” Enis said.
In order to play for Cartersville, Mostella had to write a letter to the Georgia High School Association explaining her move.
“I had to write a paper stating the hardships that I had been through in order for me to be here with my mom. And so I did that and they accepted it, GHSA accepted it,” Mostella said. “Two weeks after I had my daughter, I [came] back to school and I began to play basketball with coach Enis and them, and it was just fun.”
The longtime Lady Cane coach found herself impressed with Mostella’s play and her assimilation into the team.
“I was very pleasantly surprised to see how much skill she had and how well she fit in with the girls. She just was a blessing to have, an addition to our team,” Enis said. “She gave us some size and had a great touch on the ball; [she] could score [and was] very fundamental. And then, you know, she fit right in with the team chemistry and that’s a huge thing when you have somebody transfer.”
“It was a difference. It was a big change for me. I didn’t think that I would be basically accepted in too well, but it actually turned out to be way better,” Mostella added. “In the end, I really felt like we were a team, and like coach Enis said, she didn’t want us leaving [with] any regrets and I’m not leaving [with] any regrets. Coach Enis taught me a lot.”
Mostella began playing basketball in the sixth grade through the Upward Sports program at Dykes Creek Baptist Church in Rome and went on to play for Cass Middle School, leading her team to an overtime victory over Cartersville Middle School in her seventh-grade year, when she was named the team’s most improved player.
In her return to the area, Mostella worked herself into the rotation last season and helped Cartersville, a returning state quarterfinalist, make it back to the playoffs, where it lost in the first round.
Enis said Mostella helped simulate various looks for the team in practice and produced during game time as well.
“She gave us something in practice,” Enis continued. “When she was practicing with the second team, that helped us simulate things we were gonna see. When we got to the game, she could go in and she did a great job in several games defensively.
“By the time we got to the end of the year, we knew we could get her in in situations [where] if we needed to score or if we needed a stop on defense … she could do that for us. She just blended really well and contributed greatly to [our play] at the end of the year.”
The coach expects Mostella’s ability to blend with her new Georgia Northwestern team to go just as well.
“I have known these coaches for a couple of years and it just seemed like they’ve been a really good program, and I think it’s gonna be a good fit for her because it’s gonna be close to home. She’ll be able to still be here with her family and play [basketball],” Enis said.
Mostella acknowledged that one of her Amateur Athletic Union coaches and current Lady Bobcats assistant coach Consuelo “Nanae” Saxton had approached her about playing. Saxton, along with another Georgia Northwestern assistant coach, Emmanuel Turner, sold her on playing for the program.
Her career aspirations played just as big a role for Mostella, though.
“Everybody tells me I care more for other people than I do for myself, and I was abused all my life and I had always wanted to [do] something involved with law and so I finally was like ‘OK, this is what I want to do’ — and that was law enforcement,” Mostella said. “Because [Georgia Northwestern] has the criminal justice [program] … I just decided to choose Georgia Northwestern and play with them. They told me if I did good enough I could possibly wind up at a big school like Alabama State or Georgia State my last two years.”
At an open gym last weekend, Lady Bobcats head coach Jim Williams said Mostella talked to him more about school than basketball, which he said is a good sign.
“We were very impressed with her,” said Williams, who called Mostella a class act. “She’s a very articulate girl. She really wants to be in school. … We’re looking forward to having her.”
Georgia Northwestern’s coaches are merely the latest set of people to be impressed by Mostella and her story. Her high school friends have marveled at her ability to juggle the demands of being a high schooler while raising two kids, maintaining a job and playing basketball. One even suggested to her that the school yearbook should dedicate a section to her.
“I’ve had many people tell me that I was an inspiration to them and they look up to me. It actually feels good,” Mostella said. “I never thought I would have the impact that I do on certain people. Like, I never knew that, actually, people looked up to me like that. I thought that it would be more like a downfall because I’m a teenage mother with two kids. I thought that’s what it’d be like, but actually more people look up to me than they do down [on] me.”