MT. ANGEL — When the final buzzer sounded and the Kennedy High girl’s basketball team had clinched its first state championship, star player Lakin Susee could finally breathe a sigh of relief.
As the Tri-River Conference Player of the Year and a four-year starter for the Trojans, Susee was expected to lead the team to great heights. With the weight of expectations on her shoulders and an ever-evolving group of teammates, she put her head down and went to work.
“I worked on handling pressure better and being a positive leader for my team,” Susee said. “We have a lot of other great players on the team and playing with them, I knew we could win a state championship.”
Last season after the Trojans placed fifth at the state tournament, Susee knew she had one more chance to win a championship in basketball.
“I kind of knew to make the most of it and give my all since it would be my last season,” Susee said. “The way we ended last year in fifth place and making it to Pendleton I knew that I wanted to get back there and place better.”
Kennedy was returning a strong group this season. Led by Susee on the perimeter, they also had seniors Kenzie Ratliff in the post and Taylor Brown at the point.
“I knew how much my team wanted to win that state title so we worked hard in the summer and throughout the season,” Susee said. “We took it upon ourselves to work as hard as we could to reach our goal and we did, which was pretty remarkable for us.”
Susee is one of the rare athletes who seem to excel at anything she puts her mind to, as she is a three-sport star for the Trojans. In the fall she plays volleyball, in the winter she plays basketball and in the spring she does track. To top it off, in the classroom she is a 4.0 student.
Although it may seem to come easy for Susee, she has had to work hard to hone her skills.
“She does whatever is needed and is one of the hardest working players we’ve probably ever coached,” co-basketball coach Kerry Hall said. “She’s incredibly smart and she’s one of those players that could probably take over coaching (since) she knows the game so well.”
She is a setter and outside hitter for the volleyball team, which finished fifth at the state tournament. This year she had 467 kills, 426 digs, 353 assists and 66 aces and was named to the first-team Class 2A state tournament team, first-team Class 2A all-state, first-team all-Tri-River Conference and was the Tri-River Conference co-Player of the Year.
On the track, she finished sixth at the state track and field championships in the high jump in 2015.
“It’s pretty cool to see the accomplishments the teams I’ve been on have been able to achieve,” Susee said. “It’s (also) great to see that people can recognize what I’ve done with the school programs that I’ve been apart of.”
On the basketball court, Susee has been a starter from the day she stepped on the court. A point guard during her first two seasons, she transitioned to shooting guard to help out the team.
“Lakin from her freshman year has progressed a ton, not just in the game of basketball, but all around,” Hall said. “Teammates have come and gone and she’s had to change the way she’s played,”
Susee showed up this season on a mission, which helped inspire her teammates.
“She showed up every game and played as hard as she could on defense,” Hall said. “She definitely deserved player of the year (because) there isn’t another player around like her that can rebound every night, get the steals she does, get assists and yet score 17-20 points.”
She ended the season by making the second-team Class 2A all-state team and winning the Tri-River Conference Player of the Year.
“She will be greatly missed and she’s probably one of the best athletes to ever come out of Kennedy,” Hall said.
lramirez@StatesmanJournal.com or Twitter.com/@LuisRamirez10