|Black plays with the heart of a champion|
|Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor|
Jan. 19, 2006 - After Kaytlin Black graduates from SSHS, she has her sights set on being an orthodontist or oral surgeon.
Keeping people's teeth straight should fall right in line with Black's role on the Lady Cat basketball team, which is helping to keep her teammates in line.
Head coach Tina Carrillo has seen Black, one of three seniors on this year's squad, use just a few words to get the other players' attention in practice.
"The main thing that comes to mind about Kaytlin is that she has the heart of a champion," Carrillo said. "I've never heard her complain - as a matter of fact, she's one who will step up and squash others' complaints.
"I think Kaytlin has a gift and a talent for bringing out the best in each team member. She has a away of motivating that doesn't anger her teammates, and that's hard to do, especially with a bunch of females."
On the court, the 5-4 guard is usually used as a defensive stopper. Carrillo sometimes employs a diamond-and-one defense that is designed to take advantage of Black's ability to stick man-to-man with the other team's best offensive player.
While she doesn't get the recognition for scoring or rebounding, Black's defense contributions don't go unnoticed.
"Kaytlin is one who brings stability and that selflessness that you need. She's really the type kid who just wants to know her role so she can play her role," Carrillo said. "I think this year she has done a great job as filling her role as a defensive specialist and coming off the bench and giving us that defense."
Black had played volleyball and softball in the past, but stuck with just basketball this season. She said it was not so much to concentrate on one sport, but to give her some free time during her final high school year.
She enjoys movies - comedies and horror films are her favorites - and lists math as her favorite subject. That aptitude will help her in the pursuit of a medical degree.
Black's been able to enjoy this basketball season as the diverse team - three seniors, one junior, three sophomores and a freshmen - which had not played before as a team has grown together.
"I like how we've gotten rid of the attitudes, and we don't have those attitudes any more. That way, we're really close to each other and more like a team," Black explained. "We're always with each other and always encouraging each other."
Carrillo said Kaytlin had a big part in that transformation.
"I think that's in part because of the leadership we've gotten from one of the seniors on the team, Kaytlin Black," Carrillo said. "Her teammates really respect her, and they listen to her.
"People follow her leadership."