Top of the Key

topofthekey_lg Top of the Key
C.A. Casey
Title IX

Dragonfeather Books

For ages 9 and up
98 pp. ● 5.06×7.81
$8.95 (pb) ● $5.95 (eb)
ISBN 978-1-934452-81-3 (pb)
● 978-1-934452-82-0 (eb)

JUVENILE FICTION – Sports & Recreation
– Basketball
Basketball – Juvenile fiction

About the Book

For everyone who wants to relive Sue Bird’s 2004 run for Olympic Gold and a WNBA Championship through the eyes of a twelve-year-old girl.

Twelve-year-old Skylar Rankin is obsessed with basketball and wants more than anything to grow up to be just like her hero Sue Bird. All she has to do is play better than anyone else, win top honors and awards, and get recruited by the best colleges. But she has to take that scary, exciting first step to see if she”s really good enough to achieve her dream.


I tried to act casual as I stood in the field house gym on campus with the other girls at the basketball camp. I hated first days, when I didn’t know anyone or know what to expect. The air conditioning pricked my skin and I wished I had worn a T-shirt under my jersey.

Some of the girls were really tall but a lot of them weren’t much taller than me. Several of them looked as if they spent more time lifting weights than shooting baskets. Deb was always telling me that it was important to balance strength training with cardio workouts. Too much muscle could be just as bad as not enough.

Several of the girls wore jerseys from the teams they played on. Some had on WNBA jerseys. Phoenix Mercury #3 jerseys were everywhere. Kirsti called it Taurasi-mania. I was the only one wearing Seattle Storm #10–Birdy’s jersey.

A group of loud giggly girls were hugging and high fiving. They sounded like they were old friends from last year.

The divas were easy to spot. A pair of tall girls with perfect ponytails and headbands that matched their team jerseys stood near the bleachers and gave everyone the “she doesn’t look so hot” once over. I couldn’t wait to see if they had anything to back up their snooty attitudes.

A tall girl with a sweet face and a blonde ponytail that made her look like a miniature Lauren Jackson stood away from everyone else. She had on the same jersey as the twin divas but was as far away from them as possible without being out the door.

“Okay, everyone.” Ms. Jenkins, the coach of the college women’s team, strode to the middle of the gym and clapped her hands. “Have a seat.”

I sat on the floor next to a girl with a Taurasi jersey on. She glanced at my Bird jersey and nodded her acceptance. Bird and Taurasi were the best of friends off court, no matter what teams they played for.

Cathy and Deb walked into the gym with the other coaches. They both caught my eye and Deb gave me a faint wink as they stood behind Coach Jenkins.

“Welcome to basketball camp,” Coach Jenkins said. “We’re going to work hard but also have fun and hopefully you’ll have mastered some new skills by the end of it.”

I couldn’t stop my grin. I was determined to master everything.