Media Information Director
DPS Office of Athletics
Westside Academy’s Ciaira Ali is a big scorer in a small package.
A 5-5 senior point guard, Ali is the Detroit Public School League’s Proud Strong Learner of the Week after averaging 31.1 points through the Lady Panthers’ first five games.
“Other than dunking, she does it all,” Westside coach Granado Walton said. “She’s a good leader, she’s definitely a scorer and she’s helping her teammates get better.”
Westside is in its first year as a basketball program and is still trying to establish an identity. Nonetheless, Ali has made her mark by scoring 32, 38 and 30 points in victories against Davis, Finney and City, while scoring 25 and 32 points, respectively, in losses to Northwestern and Ford. The Lady Panthers’ fledgling program took a hit Tuesday in a 65-9 loss at Cody, where Ali’s season-low nine points accounted for all of her team’s scoring.
“We only have six girls, so we’ve got to accept the bad with the good,” Ali said. “The thing I keep in mind is that (college) recruiters might be watching. My goal is to get a scholarship.”
Her career goal is to be a nurse. “My mom’s a nurse as well as other relatives,” she said. “It’s kind of like a family tradition.”
Ali has transferred twice during her high school career for academic reasons, from Mumford to Livonia Stevenson and last year to Westside, where she currently has a 2.6 grade point average.
“Westside is an alternative school and it’s a good school for me because it emphasizes a lot of tutoring,” Ali said. “I’m working hard to improve my academics, and if I keep working hard in the classroom, I’m confident basketball will take care of itself.”