Maya White Eagle signs her letter of intent to play basketball with Triton College in River Grove, Illinois

By Ardith Van Riper

     Maya Lyn White Eagle (Ho-Chunk), a senior at Baraboo High School, has signed a letter of intent to play NJCAA Division I basketball for the Triton College women’s basketball team beginning fall of 2021. 

     “I saw Maya at a showcase over the summer, and I fell in love with her game,” said the Triton’s Head Woman’s Basketball Coach, Marques Hatch.  “I think she embodies the type of players that we are trying to recruit to change our program around.  She works hard.  She loves basketball.  She is a gym runt.  All the things we want to build into our program - she exemplifies.”

     Maya, daughter of Stephanie and Joseph White Eagle, Sr., accepted a full scholarship to the college about 15 miles from Chicago.  White Eagle was introduced to basketball at the age of five.

     “My older brothers, Kyle, Jordan, Joe (Jr.), Sanford, and Storm,” Maya reminisced about the introduction. “I saw them playing outside one day and was like, I want to try this.  They got me into it, and they coached me.  My mom helped out.”

     White Eagle grew up in Baraboo and then moved to Madison with her Grandparents Bill Anderson and the late Mary Anderson when she started high school and spent her first three years at Madison Memorial.  She returned this year and played for the Baraboo Thunderbirds.

     Baraboo Athletic Director Jim Langkamp welcomed everyone, briefly introduced Maya, and directed how the evening signing ceremony would go on March 25. 

     “Obviously, we are here for basketball. I heard Maya’s name probably when she was in seventh grade and that we had a really good basketball player in the middle school.  So I only really knew her as a basketball player,” said Langkamp.

     The athletic director explained, “Early in the year, I stopped after a JV practice to talk to the JV team.  The varsity players were kind of hanging around, they were just arriving, and the JV was kind of getting done.  Maya’s there. The freshmen and sophomores are there. Maya’s coming up to them, ‘Hey, how was your day today?  Hey, how are you doing?’ to the freshmen and the sophomores.  That was one of the coolest things I’ve seen.  I told her that night, ‘Maya, that’s tremendous leadership.’ That’s amazing. The best player on the team can welcome the freshmen and making them feel comfortable and be friendly.  What a great teammate.  What a great leader!”

     Maya averaged 20.1 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 2.5 steals per game during her season with the Thunderbirds.  She surpassed the 1,000 point mark for her career in a Baraboo-Reedsburg game on February 5.  White Eagle was one of the basketball players selected for the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association Division 2 All-Star Game to be held in July.

     The 5-foot-6 guard talked about her trainers, “My mom is one of them.  Reggie Rainey, he is from the Madison area.  Eddie Fernandez, he is from Wisconsin Dells.  They spent time, countless hours, trying to make me better and becoming the person I am today.”

     Baraboo’s Head Varsity Coach Michael Behl shared stories and information about Maya’s basketball abilities and then challenged Maya, “#1 Continue to be inspired by the game.  Keep finding ways to improve and extend your game both physically and mentally. 

     “#2 Be ok with making mistakes and being frustrated.  Don’t allow those feelings to hinder.  Instead, let them drive you and inspire you. Be the best example of you on the team.  

     “#3 Lead by being in the moment.  Encourage and support your teammates.  Be their biggest fan.  Help them be in the moment and move on.  

     “Finally, stay in contact with your Baraboo basketball family, especially me.  You will always be a part of this team. 

     “You will get great coaching next year and beyond.  I will no longer be your coach, but I will always be available for support.  I can’t wait to watch you play, and from now on, I will be your biggest fan.  Congratulations, Maya!”

     Head Women’s Basketball Coach Marques Hatch revealed, “Maya is at the top of our list.  She was our top recruit this year.  So, I think a lot of what we want to do from a recruiting standpoint started with her.  Now, with her in the fold, I think everything else will sort of take care of itself because a lot of players that know her will want to come to play with her.  That’s what I am hoping for.”

     Maya, whose paternal grandparents are the late Morgan and Marie White Eagle, plans on majoring in sports broadcasting and journalism.  She repeatedly expressed her gratitude throughout the evening for all the support she’s received.

     “The person I need to thank the most is God.  He blessed me with the basketball ability, and I’m going to give Him all the credit and all the glory for the things He’s done in my life,” said Maya. 

     All of Triton College women’s basketball home games are streamed online at  Away games will be based on the other school.  Triton Athletic Department has a Facebook page that shares a link to away games if one is available.