In seventh grade, SouthLake Christian's Kristin Wakefield went out for her first basketball team. She didn't make it. She would spend the following summer working on her shot to make sure things were different the next time around.
"I wasn't that good when I first started playing, and I was really upset because I thought I'd make the team," said Wakefield. "I felt it was a personal challenge to show people that I could play."
As much as Wakefield, 17, loved the game, as she grew older, she became increasingly frustrated with how she was being utilized on the court. A former member of the East Lincoln basketball squad, Wakefield wanted to go somewhere she could show off her scoring skills.
"When I played [at East Lincoln] the coach didn't really put me into any position where I could score," said Wakefield. "She had me out there to get rebounds and make good passes, but she never saw me as a scorer."
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A change of venue was the right move to set Wakefield free on the basketball court. First-year Eagles varsity head coach Darren Moore recognized her potential to light up the scoreboard.
"She's a natural scorer," said Moore. "Kristin's an all-around player. She can play any position, and she's very smart with the ball. She fits in well with what we're trying to do here in building a program, and it's been a pleasure to have her."
The junior has flourished under Moore, averaging 19 points, six rebounds, three steals and two assists a game in her first year on the team.
"He's helped me with my confidence," she said. "The previous coaches didn't really want me to score, which I felt was my natural tendency. I love to score, and I love to shoot. Coach Moore said he was going to let me shoot because he knew that's what I love to do."
Wakefield, who plays AAU ball for the Phoenix South Bats, has made an easy transition to private school life thanks to the familiarity with her teammates.
"When I came here, I felt like I fit into the team," she said. "[The chemistry] is a lot stronger now than it was in the summer because we're becoming better friends through school."
Moore sees a lot of potential for Wakefield and her teammates next season. They are sitting around .500 this year, but with no seniors on the team he thinks there is much more they can accomplish.
He also feels the same about his star scorer.
"Her goal is to play in college, so we're constantly pushing her to learn all aspects of the game," said Moore. "I still think she needs to improve a little bit on her decision making, but that's something she works on every day. I told her from the beginning I expected her to score, but that I wanted her to learn to incorporate that into the team game. She's one of the most competitive people I've ever met."
Wakefield, who says she fuels herself through that competitive edge, is looking forward to putting the Eagles on the high school basketball map.
"I think we can beat anybody when we're out there," she said. "I just want to show people that SouthLake really can hang with anyone."