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Rene Root signs to play college basketball.

BRANFORD, Fla. — Branford basketball standout Rene Root is continuing her career at the collegiate level.

Root, a three-year starter who averaged eight points, four assists and three steals per game in her BHS career, signed with Huntingdon College (Alabama) on Monday.

“For someone to see the potential in me to play at the next level — it felt good,” Root said. “Huntingdon contacted me and I began to talk to coach (Paige) Huff. I went and visited and it felt like home. I feel like I can really excel there on the court and in the classroom.”

The 5-foot-4 point guard/shooting guard was a key piece of Branford’s outstanding teams the past three seasons. Root helped the Buccaneers with her 3-point shooting, passing, defense and scoring ability.

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Rene Root was an excellent all-around player for the Buccaneers.

With Root in the starting lineup, BHS had three straight 20-win seasons. During the 2018-19 season, her senior campaign, Root averaged 11 points, four assists and three steals per game while making a team-best 35 3-pointers.

“She’s a good student. She’s a good leader in the school, as well as on the team,” Branford girls basketball coach Carla Suggs said of Root. “She’s been that type of player that makes everyone better. It’s a blessing that she can continue to play.”

The path to college basketball required plenty of work, but playing at the next level was something Root had imagined for a long time.

She spoke about about her love for basketball, and also the enjoyment of putting in the time to get better.

“It’s a lot of work, but I love what I do. It’s something that I don’t mind waking up at five o’clock in the morning to go to the gym,” Root said. “I don’t mind putting in extra time because I really enjoy it.”

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Mike Jones is a sports writer for the Suwannee Democrat, Jasper News and Mayo Free Press in North Florida.