By Ray Hamill — The Corsairs will benefit in several ways when McKinleyville senior Kim Lewis joins their women’s basketball team next year.
The Panthers’ first-team all-league selection will bring leadership and a talented all-around game to College of the Redwoods after signing her letter of intent to play there next year.
But more than anything, she’ll bring a toughness to a roster that will feature just four returning players next year.
“She seems small but she plays big,” Mack head coach Jacob Cheek said. “She’s just a leader, and she checks all the boxes as a competitor. She dives to the floor for the loose ball … she does everything for the team.”
Lewis, who many coaches around the league feel was one of the most improved players in the Big 5 this past season, proved her toughness midway through the campaign.
After taking an elbow to the face during a game against St. Bernard’s, the tenacious senior was brought to the emergency room, but texted Cheek while she was there to reassure him she would be ready to go again for the team’s next game, and sure enough she was.
That toughness isn’t the only attribute that put Lewis on CR’s radar.
“I like her leadership and her point ability,” CR head coach Jain Tuey said. “She did well for McKinleyville and she showed she could lead the team.”
She also has continued to develop all aspects of her game from year to year.
“She has improved so much from her junior to senior year,” said Cheek, who added that several opposing coaches commented about that this past winter. “She’s become more vocal as a leader and playing wise she’s become intense.
“We were a different team when she was off the floor.”
Lewis, who signed the letter at McKinleyville High in front of teammates, coaches, friends and family, believes CR is a perfect fit for a couple of reasons.
“I wasn’t ready to leave (Humboldt) yet,” she admitted, adding that “the team seems like a really good environment and I feel I can fit in there.”
This past season, Lewis played a key role on a Panthers team that finished 17-11 and qualified for the state tournament after an impressive run through the Dick Niclai Tournament and the North Coast Section playoffs.
The senior point guard provided a steady hand for the team and was one of two first-team all-league selections on the roster, along with teammate Camryn Pinard.
Tuey expects her to continue to grow as a player at the next level and is confident she can help fill the shoes of some of the departed players, including Fortuna’s Gracie Betts, who played such a key role at point guard for the Corsairs in each of the past two seasons.
“I’m really looking for someone to step up and take that leadership role,” the CR coach said. “And I’m hoping Kim will be ready to take on that role.”
As for her time at Mack High, Lewis says she enjoyed playing with her teammates but that’s not all she’ll remember.
“My teammates really made my last year enjoyable,” she said. “I’m really going to miss them, they’ve been like family to me.”
Lewis also competes in track and field for the Panthers, and ran cross country for the school as well.
Categories: Basketball, College of the Redwoods, McKinleyville
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