Piedmont Lady Wildcat freshman basketball player McKenna Kirkpatrick recently sat down with the Piedmont Surrey-Gazette to discuss Piedmont basketball, her faith, and what it’s like to have the support of the Piedmont fans.
PG: As a freshman basketball player, you sometimes have the chance to compete not only in freshman games but in varsity games as well. What’s that experience like getting to experience two different styles of basketball?
MK: “There is a difference between freshman and varsity games. The tempo is at a whole new level of play. The experience just puts me in a spot to be a better player and learn to adjust to the different types of basketball!”
PG: In your own words, what does the game of basketball and sports in general mean to you?
MK: “Basketball has taught me many lessons over the years both on and off the court. Pam Swanson, my AAU coach, would tell me before games that this court that you are about to step on is your sanctuary. Everything else just is shut out for a little bit and you get to play the game you love. Basketball is my love, I have no others words for it.”
PG: What is the best thing about being involved with a community like Piedmont?
MK: “Piedmont has a good base of fans behind all the athletes in any sport. Having support is always encouraging and uplifting. I know our team loves the fan base that we have at Piedmont.”
PG: With the Lady Wildcats varsity squad, it’s a team full of talent and upperclassmen like Bre Reid, Hayden Priddy, Alex Hall, Kayden Carver and many others. How much of a benefit is it getting to learn under such a veteran group of players?
MK: “I can say that I am blessed to be playing with a great group of girls. Practice is always popping and the energy level is high! Coach Hill tells us that as freshmen part of our job is to push the older girls in practice and get them out of their comfort zones so when big games come the older girls are comfortable with the situation. It benefits all of us.”
PG: Do you ever get nervous when you get the call from Coach Hill to enter in a varsity game, or is it just pure excitement?
MK: “Nervous that you’ll do well but yet excited that you get to go enter the game at the same time.”
PG: As best as you can, how would you describe yourself off the court away from basketball?
MK: “I love being on the court and trying to make my game better. Away from basketball, it’s all about getting stronger in my faith with God and spending time with my family. I have a great relationship with my parents that most people don’t have.”
PG: When people think of Piedmont one of the first things they say is “family atmosphere” especially when it comes to sports. How great is it getting to have the kind of support that you do from everyone in the community?
MK: “The town is small enough to where everyone usually knows each other. Everyone’s support is a big factor in Piedmont sports. For example, the Deer Creek game, our student section was one of the many factors for getting that “W” at Deer Creek.”
PG: What would you like to do after high school going into college?
MK: “My hope is to continue playing basketball in college and get my degree is sports physical therapy.”
PG: How much of a role does having a strong family foundation play in your life not just as a Lady Wildcat athlete, but as a person?
MK: “As an only child, I don’t have the younger or the older sibling to do fun things with and that’s probably where my parents step in. My momma and daddy are by far my biggest fans. I tell them EVERYTHING and they bend over backwards to make me happy. I am so beyond blessed for a strong family to support me.”
PG: Do you have a hidden talent or random fact that no one knows about you. For example you used to do gymnastics, played piano?
MK: “When I am off the basketball court, I like to shoot sporting clay and skeet shoot with my daddy.”