STORY & PHOTOS BY GLENN NELSON
SEATTLE, Wash. - The snowy, icy Pacific Northwest may be the last place one would expect to find two of the country's top 2009 girl's basketball prospects - especially a pair from Dallas, Texas.
But this has been home for Kimetria Hayden and Chynna Brown of Lincoln High School the past few days. The super sophs helped Lincoln survive a Thursday night, 53-42 slugfest with Lakes, and will meet Garfield's small but rocket-powered team on Saturday, aptly, at old Lincoln High School, the temporary home of the Bulldogs.
Hayden likely will be the most highly recruited of the two. She is 5 feet 11, super-athletic and strong of build, especially for a high-school sophomore. Last year's Newcomer of the Year by the Dallas Morning News and freshman All-American by Student Sports is tough inside and has a nice, easy stroke from the three-point line, a weapon otherwise missing from the Lincoln arsenal, at least against Lakes.
In spite of tweaking a bothersome left ankle, Hayden showed excellent straight-ahead speed, with or without the ball, in the open court. Though not a finished product, she did show a couple things very difficult to teach - she not only finished with both hands, once landing a left-handed hook in traffic, she also threw a left-handed pass directly off the dribble.
An all-district choice as a freshman, Brown runs the team from the point and is athletic and sinewy. She has nice zip on her passes, though doesn't penetrate as much as you might want from the point. Like Hayden, she is a blur in transition and has a nice mid-range jumper, on which she gets excellent lift.
Both sophomores demonstrated excellent defensive ability in spots - both very good on the ball with Hayden offering the added dimension of shot blocking.
In spite of coach Michael Ensley's preference for a well-rounded attack, both are taking on a bigger load because of the transfer of senior Taylor Booze, an all-district performer. Lincoln last season had a string of five straight Texas 4A tournament appearances snapped by a loss to Waxahachie and Nicky Hughes in the regional finals. The trip to Seattle, with games against two uptempo teams, is part of the road back to Austin.
Ensley, who coached at the last USA Development Festival in 2005, also knows area resident Guy Williams, the former Washington State star who played briefly in the NBA.
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Glenn Nelson is the publisher of HoopGurlz.com and the editor-in-chief of Scout Media (www.Scout.com), an online sports network and magazine-publishing company and subsidiary of Fox Interactive Media. Glenn also founded and coached the Dragons and Northwest HoopGurlz select girl's basketball teams. He previously was a longtime, national-award-winning basketball columnist and writer for The Seattle Times. His work also has appeared in several national magazines and books. He is co-author of "Rising Stars: The Ten Best Players in the NBA" (Rosen Publishing, 2002). He can be reached at email@example.com.