WILLIAMS -- When Kaylee Krusemark arrived at Hidden Valley high school, the girls basketball culture wasn't a winning one. In her four years, she, along with other upper classmen from the 2017-18 team, helped turn that around.
"We created a program that's going to last for quite a few years," Krusemark said, "I'm really proud that I was able to be part of the culture to turn the basketball team around."
Head coach Joel Jessee said a big reason she was able to spearhead that culture change was her selfless attitude. On a number of occassions, she made a point to take time out and help freshman in the program.
"She doesn't just care about herself, she cares about other people," Jessee said, "So much that she goes out of her way to help other kids."
The smile and kindness she lends to her younger teammates goes away when the ball is tipped and she's looking right at her opponent, though. Krusemark describes herself as a fierce competitor, someone who likes to make a competition out of everything. That explains why, after winning the Skyline Conference with a 10-0 conference record, she was despondent after the Mustangs were bounced in the state quarterfinals.
"I took our state tournament really hard," Krusemark said, "It hit me pretty deep. I know that I'm just going to turn it into fuel."
She can use that fuel at the College of Idaho, where she will play her collegiate basketball starting next season. She committed to play for the Yotes early in the season, enabling her to focus on the team rather than focus on results geared toward impressing scouts in the stands.
"Accepting in that early part of the season definitely took a load off my mind," Krusemark said, "You don't feel the pressure to perform every night."
"I think that took a lot of weight off her shoulders where she could play for the team instead of trying to do too much herself," Jessee said.
Jessee said he has no worries about how her offensive game will translate at the college level, but added that her defense will have to be taken to another level with the quickness of the college game. Whatever college throws at her, Krusemark, ever the competitor, is up for anything that can help bring out that drive and the fuel she picked up in her final season as a Mustang.
"I'm just looking forward to amping up the competition," Krusemark said, "I’m excited for more of a challenge."
- Amateur Athlete: Kaylee Krusemark's Competitive Fire Pushes Her to College of Idaho
- Amateur Athlete: Kaylee Wu Looks to Win Family's Fifth State Golf Title
- Amateur Athlete: Joe Wallace Carves Competition With Wooden Creations
- Amateur Athlete: Crossfit Athletes Rally Around Inspirational Bauer White
- Amateur Athlete: Kya Hammersley, KU's Five-Sport Athlete
- Amateur Athlete: Trevahn Foster, Southern Oregon's Most Prolific Shot Blocker
- Amateur Athlete: Gallagher Training Triathletes and Everyone in Between
- Amateur Athlete: Donovyn Hunter, Medford's 13-year-old Basketball Sensation
- Amateur Athlete: Mountain Biking League Coming to Southern Oregon
- Amateur Athlete: Trey Lopez Powered by Mom 1,700 Miles Away