A strong start
Churchill County sophomore Kenna Hamlin may be fairly new to the varsity girls’ basketball team, but she’s already on her way to being a powerful player for the Lady Wave.
During her varsity career, Hamlin has scored 100 points in 30 games with 10 from three-pointers and 22 from free throws. She’s also played strong defense with 49 rebounds, 28 assists and 71 steals.
Hamlin began playing basketball in elementary school — she estimates around eight years ago. She joined the Greenwave teams in middle school, then high school last year. Fallon girls’ coach Anne Smith brought Hamlin up to varsity right before going to state.
Smith said Hamlin is a great player with lots of potential. She said Hamlin is on track to be a big contributor over the next two years. Whether she becomes a starter for the team is in the air though. Smith said that comes down to how much Hamlin wants it and how hard she works in the off-season.
“She’s only a sophomore,” Smith said. “She’s still very young; she’s got two of the best years of high school left.”
Smith said it’s exciting for a coach to have that time with a skilled player.
“She’s pretty driven,” the coach said. “She wants to be successful, so I think that’s only going to help her the older she gets … I’m excited to have her; she’s going to be fun to watch.”
Before officially joining varsity, Hamlin was brought in as a substitute in a few games when a varsity player was injured.
“We moved her up and she did a great job,” Smith said. “So we knew this year, going into the season, she would be a good fit for us.”
The coach noted Hamlin can read the floor and players’ movements well. She recalled the sophomore guard has made passes even the coaches missed.
She also said there’s been a “marked difference” in Hamlin’s shooting consistency since last year. She noted how much the player’s defensive skills have improved and how she didn’t like playing defense last year.
Smith also said Hamlin has a good on-court relationship with fellow-sophomore Lailani Otuafi. She said the two have a good connection and can move together and pass the ball to each other well.
“That relationship there is going to get better and better,” she said.
Hamlin is excited to go back to state this year. She said she feels they’ve had a good run and are well on their way to reaching their goal of a state championship.
“We worked hard for it,” Hamlin said. “It’s something we always intended to do; I feel like we worked hard and this is where we wanted to go.”
Hamlin said she likes the team aspect of basketball and being part of something bigger and playing as a group. She also just enjoys the game itself.
Hamlin plans to continue with basketball in her next two years of high school. She said her goal is to go to state next year and the year after. She also plays on Fallon’s girls’ soccer team.