Sydney Affolter is a 6-foot-tall senior guard/forward on the Marist basketball team. A Mt. Greenwood resident and St. Christina Elementary School graduate, she has been on the varsity her entire high school career. Affolter averaged 13.9 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.3 steals and 2 assists as a junior as the RedHawks advanced to a Class 4A sectional championship game. She recently committed to the University of Iowa. Her brother, Trey, is a sophomore on the basketball team at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa.

What did it mean to you officially signing with Iowa?

“I was super excited. It felt great to be able to make it official and become a Hawkeye. It had more meaning. Once I signed, it was such a good feeling. It shows that all the hard work you put into it, that pays off.”

The basketball season is on hold. How have you handled the delay?

“It’s been really frustrating, especially for my senior year. I know the potential of the team we have, so we’re really upset. We’re trying to stay positive and go at it every day that way. We want to be ready whenever the time comes.”

Any prediction when the season starts?

“I hope we can start in January. I heard about winter sports still being on pause this week. We’re hoping January. If we get pushed to the spring or summer, with all the other sports going on, it’s going to be a mess. It will be tough with so many teams looking for gym time.”

With a strong returning core coming back, what’s the potential for the RedHawks whenever the season is scheduled?

“We have the potential to go downstate. We have a lot of experience where I’m a senior now and this junior class is right behind me. We’ve got a couple sophomores too who will contribute. Our chemistry is so strong. We know each other so well and all our strengths and weaknesses. We feel like this is definitely our season to go and do something big.”

Enough basketball. Let’s get to the hard-hitting Christmas questions. Are you a big Christmas person?

“I love Christmas. It’s my favorite season. I’m all about the music and the gifts and the decorations. Everyone just feels so much happier and in that Christmas spirit.”

What’s your favorite Christmas movie?

“Probably ‘Christmas Vacation.’ We always watch that. It’s really funny.”

Favorite Christmas song?

“Jingle Bells.”

Any big Christmas traditions in the Affolter Family?

“My family lives in different states; and a lot of my cousins play basketball, so we can’t always get together. For us [locally] though, we always went to 5 o’clock Mass and then went to Chi Tung for dinner. Then we watch ‘Christmas Story’ when we get home.”

When do you open presents, Christmas Eve or Christmas?

“We always open a few on Christmas Eve, but most on Christmas. We’d usually have basketball practice, so we’d wake up, open presents and then go to practice. Me and my mom [Shellie] usually bake.”

What’s your go-to Christmas baking dessert?

“We do brownies, but we’ve been doing these thumbprint cookies. They’re really good. It’s not quite a sugar cookie, but you put some filling in the middle, usually chocolate or raspberry—so good.”

Best present you ever received?

“We got a Nintendo Wii when it was really big. That was fun. The best though was when I was in kindergarten. We got a dog, Boomer. He was a beagle bulldog mix. Me and Trey begged for a dog. It was the only thing on our list. When we woke up, my parents had wrapped up the cage.”

When do you decorate? Is it allowed to put the tree up pre-Thanksgiving?

“We actually did that today [Dec. 3]! We usually wait until the weekend after Thanksgiving to put the tree up.”

Do you wrap presents or pass it off to someone else?

“I don’t wrap presents. My mom does them. She’s the best at it.”

More basketball questions. Who wins a 3-point showdown between you and your brother?

“Oh, me for sure. I always win. It’s always interesting. We’ll be shouting at each other ‘Oh, that’s five in a row. Don’t miss!’ We always have fun.”

How about a one-on-one game?

“Those go both ways. He’s a little bit stronger, but he can’t body me up too much. It usually goes if I win the first one, he wins the second.”