SOUTH WALES, NY (WKBW) — It's in her high school gym where Emily feels herself.
"I've just always been athletic," she said. "I've always played sports."
Emily began playing basketball in the second grade for a youth team in Virginia. But life brought her to The Gow School in South Wales after she was diagnosed with dyslexia.
The school has become her second home which has made the transition even easier. She's getting a good education and playing sports.
"Coming to The Gow, I wanted things to be normal," she said. "So basketball was really normal for me."
It's why there was no question when it came to joining the team. But Emily, overcoming adversity in the classroom, is now overcoming adversity on the court, becoming the school's first ever girls player on the varsity boys basketball team.
With just 20% of the school's population being female, there's not a lot of girls teams so for Emily, this is the next best thing. It's been an adjustment but she's learned a lot in the process and earned her spot.
"As the season has gone on, she has started playing with a big more joy in her game and has started to earn more time on the floor," coach Michael Dibble said.
Emily has gained more confidence and she can't imagine not being a part of this team. She's making history, but she's also setting the bar for what athletics should be: a girl playing alongside the boys and excelling.
"It doesn't matter if you're on a boys team or a girls team," Emily said. "Just do what you want."
Dibble added, "The more they participate in athletics here, the better it is."
While Emily is the first female to play on the varsity boys basketball team, other girls have played for boys sports teams including lacrosse and soccer.