It’s a long way from the Canary Islands of Spain to Live Oak.

But that is just the journey Live Oak High School student Isabel Hernandez made this year.

Oh, and addition to learning a new culture, working on her English, and making new friends, Hernandez has been playing a little basketball.

A lot of basketball, actually.

Hernandez has been a key piece of the puzzle for a Live Oak girl basketball team that has had an excellent season: The Lions are 16-4 and should earn a spot in the upcoming CIF Northern Division playoffs.

Anderson knew he had a special player pretty quickly.

“As soon as she picked up a ball in her first practice, we knew we had something pretty special,” Anderson said. 

Hernandez has been averaging about 22 ppg. for the Lions and has adapted nicely to the point guard position.

That’s freed up Leslie Fregoso to do more shooting, moving over to the 2-guard spot, and Fregoso has also been able to score more.

Fregoso said it didn’t take long at all for Hernandez to fit in with the team.

“She’s very funny,” Fregoso said. 

Hernandez said she mainly wanted to be an exchange student to work on her English.

But the basketball has been a nice bonus.

Hernandez knew when she arrived here in the U.S. last summer that she wanted to play basketball.

“It’s been great to make new friends and be part of the team,” Hernandez said.

In a few months, Hernandez’s exchange student year will be up. But she said she is thinking about staying and looking into going to college here.

And maybe playing basketball at the next level, too.