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Spoto basketball standout DeAndra Davis has never had her mother too far away from her.
Mareka Davis has missed just two games in her daughter's basketball career. She's been her club and youth coach since she was 11.
And as DeAndra Davis signed her national letter of intent to attend North Carolina A&T Wednesday, a proud coach and mother was by her side, letting go as her daughter wrote her signature on a stack of papers.
"It's a relief to know this day has finally come," Davis said. "I've been waiting for this day since forever. I'm glad to see all the hard work pay off."
This summer, Mareka, a well-known local club coach was hired as Spoto's new head coach. DeAndra, who was about to enter her senior season at Armwood, but transferred to Spoto to play for her mom.
That way they won't miss each other's games.
"She's my only child and it's been tough," Mareka Davis said. "You know it's coming, but it's a proud moment. I don't know if any parent can be more proud. It's a wonderful feeling. There are times when I mix the coaching role and the mother role up, but I've been doing it for years."
And even though she is new to Spoto, Davis became the school's first female athlete to sign a Division I scholarship. Even though school was closed for Veterans Day, her teammates packed into a conference room to celebrate.
"I feel good that I can bring something new to the program and maybe open up new doors for other girls who come behind me," Davis said.
The Times first reported Davis' transfer to Spoto and her decision to select N.C. A&T over VCU last month. She also considered FIU, UCF, and Alabama State. She was a Times All-Hillsborough County second-team selection last season.
"If I didn't go on a visit, I wouldn't have known it was the right fit for me," she said. "At other schools it looked good and sounded good but when I was at A&T, it felt good. I felt like I was supposed to be there. I felt like I was in good hands"
(Photo: Spoto basketball player DeAndra Davis, has never had and her mother, Spartans coach Mareka Davis, far from her side in her basketball career.)