Lehman High head girls basketball coach James Halatin knew the level of talent Kayla Presley possessed well before she stepped foot on campus last fall.
Halatin, who has known Presley since she was in middle school, said her skills were so advanced, she regularly competed in boys basketball camps he hosted.
“She was so much further advanced than the girls her age. She went to clinics and camps,” Halatin said. “Kayla has always had a ball in her hand, and it showed when she became a freshman.”
Armed with the experience and the talent to boot, Presley, who notched first-team All 25-6A honors as a freshman in 2018, aims to become a critical cog for a Lobo basketball team looking to improve next season.
She stepped into a starting role very early in her Lehman career. Presley, who played point guard for the Lady Lobos, led her team in scoring.
In 30 games, Presley recorded 310 points, averaging 10.3 points per game. She also was an assist machine, averaging 2.7 assists per game. She excelled at putting her teammates in a position where they could impact the game.
While a 10.3-point-per-game average is solid, Presley isn’t satisfied.
“I have to stay hungry. I was not happy with the 10-points-per-game average, so I want to get my shot a little bit better. Definitely my ball handling and my jumpshot,” Presley said.
Along with the offensive excellence, Presley also had success on the other side of the court as well. She averaged two steals a game and gave her team consistent defense on the perimeter.
The willingness to use all resources for improvement motivates Presley’s need to succeed.
“I wanted to use every opportunity that I had to get better. Getting more touches on the ball and more experience prepared me for high school,”
Presley is one of six returning Lady Lobos, who are all juniors or younger. In order for them to succeed, Halatin said he needs Presley to play at an even higher level in 2019.
“She is going to have to play at a higher level. She is going to have to be able to adapt, because opposing teams are going to throw more double teams and such at her. It is my job to make sure she is ready for that,” Halatin said.
Leading the Lady Lobos back to the postseason is Presley’s ultimate goal. “Our goal is to finish in the top four in the district and make the playoffs and be the first Lehman Lady Lobos basketball team to make the playoffs,” Presley said.