Countryside Christian's Kelli Cunningham has signed a letter of intent to play basketball at Santa Fe College in Gainesville.
Cunningham, a two-time MVP and three-time first team Florida Christian Athletic League selection, will forego the rest of her senior year of high school and will become eligible to play for the Saints right away.
She said she's excited and grateful for her big day.
“It means a lot to be able to celebrate with the people who helped me get where I am,” she said. “A lot of kids didn't get to have a signing ceremony so I feel blessed to even be able to do it.”
The senior was averaging 18.8 points per game through six games this season. She was also shooting 81 percent from the free throw line (21-of-26) and was tied for the team lead with 12 3-pointers.
“Kelli has been the driving force behind this team’s success,” said Countryside Christian coach Tambria Williams. “She consistently leads the team in every statistical category, while still managing to keep her teammates involved, productive and successful. She has helped make us a respected program.”
Last year, Countryside Christian finished 17-5 and advanced to the Class 2A state playoffs. They defeated St. Johns Country Day (Orange Park) in the regional quarterfinals but lost to eventual state runner-up FAMU (Tallahassee) in the next round.
Cunningham, who averaged 16.9 points as a junior, scored at least 20 points eight times during the 2019-2020 season.
“Kelli's a scrappy kid who doesn't mind doing the dirty work to get the W,” Coach Williams said. “She is a strong scorer & rebounder with a high basketball IQ and an even higher desire to win.”
Now Cunningham will try and elevate her game at the next level. She will also be a part of a program that is coming off of back-to-back Mid-Florida Conference championships.
“Coach Stebbins and the successful reputation that her program has was appealing of course,” Cunningham said. “But the opportunity to get better without using any college eligibility here in my hometown seemed like a no brainer.”
Santa Fe College opens up the season at Indian River State College on Thursday, Jan. 21.