Lake Making an Early Impact for Old Saybrook Girls’ Basketball
Sophomore center Kylie Lake is proving to be an important ball handler for the Old Saybrook Rams girls’ basketball team this season, despite only being in her second year as a high school player. It hasn’t taken long for Kylie to make an impact on Head Coach Steve Woods and the Rams in her short tenure on the basketball court so far.
Kylie has been playing basketball for about seven years and had some varsity time during games last year as a freshman.
“I’ve been playing basketball for a long time. I started out playing for the Old Saybrook Park and Rec team about seven years ago when I was in third grade,” says Kylie. “Ever since I could remember, random people would always ask me, ‘Do you play basketball?’ solely because of my height. So, I had to at least try it out. After playing, I fell in love.”
Woods praises Kylie for her work ethic and talks about what it has been like coaching her and seeing her progress with just under two years playing varsity.
“She’s averaging right around 10 or 11 points and averaging around 12 or 13 rebounds,” says Coach Woods. “She’s had some big rebounding games and has impressed everybody. She has become a better ball handler; she rebounds well.”
Kylie also plays Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) basketball during the offseason and is a member of the Rams girls’ soccer team as a goalie in the fall. Kylie says that as she’s gotten older, it’s been more difficult to balance both sports.
“Other than basketball, I also play as goalkeeper in soccer. Soccer was my first sport, and it’s still one that I love,” says Kylie. “Now that I’m getting older, it’s getting harder to manage my time between the two sports as I play in other leagues (besides the school teams) for both sports in the offseason.”
On Jan. 3, the Rams played the Old Lyme Wildcats and won by a final score of 55-35. Kylie had 13 points and 12 rebounds in that game, showing off her versatility on the floor. Another standout performance for Kylie was when she recorded 12 points and 11 rebounds in a 40-22 Old Saybrook win vs. Portland.
Kylie shares how she is able to stay focused during each game to contribute to winning with the rest of her teammates.
“As all players know, staying focused during a game can be a challenge. Whether it be the parents or the opposing team’s student section, there are always outside distractions. In order to stay focused, I try to stay in the best mood possible, which really helps out,” says Kylie. “Even if my team isn’t leading in score, I know there is always a chance to regain the lead. This doesn’t mean it comes easy. If we work our hardest and truly want to win, we can. Positive thoughts allow me to focus and play my best game.”
Woods says that not only has Kylie improved during her two-year tenure with the team, but she’s a hardworking member of the team.
“You make a suggestion to this young lady, and she just takes it to heart and works at it,” says Woods. “She constantly works on her footwork, she is so open-minded, and is so receptive to being coached.”
Kylie also talks about what it has been like getting more action on varsity this season. She has a great support system, with her grandparents and parents attending all of her games, which she enjoys.
“Whether it be an away game or a game in our own gym, I can guarantee you they’ll be there. I know they love to watch me and my teammates because of their love for the game,” says Kylie. “I want to be the best player for them to watch and be proud of, and I want to be the best player I can be for my teammates.”
The Rams are currently 7-5, and Kylie looks forward to what she and her team can do for the remainder of the season.
“This season, I’m mostly looking forward to spending more time with my teammates, as well as the improvement of our team. Since we don’t have any seniors this year, we have quite a small team,” says Kylie. “This makes it easier to bond with each other. A tighter bond also leads to a good team. I think if we try to bring the best out of each other, we will get the most rewarding results.”
Woods also alludes to the fact that Kylie has a special bond with her teammates.
“She is very respected on the team; she is confident in her own skills and abilities,” says Woods. “She is very gracious and holds herself to a high standard. I can’t emphasize enough how coachable she is, and she is highly regarded by other coaches in the shoreline.”
Despite the fact that Kylie has been so successful so far in her Rams tenure, she has still faced some challenges and has things she hopes to improve on in her game.
“I think the biggest challenge for me this season will be improving the form of my shot. I developed a habit where my right-hand crosses in front of my face when I shoot,” says Kylie. “Fixing this has been something I’ve been continuously working on, and I’m looking forward to see the improvement of my form, especially when shooting free throws.”