KINGMAN - Every team needs a player who doesn't dominate the stat lines but who is willing to do whatever it takes for her team to succeed. For the Kingman High girls basketball team, that player is senior Stephanie Goulart.
"Her defense is a difference maker," said KHS coach Danny Gonzalez. "She anticipates and sees the floor well. She makes you throw the ball away."
It took the Lady Bulldogs just four seconds to grab a lead they would never surrender in Tuesday's win over Parker at KHS, 55-26. Sophomore Desirae Gonzalez made a free throw in that fourth second, and Kingman (8-0 D-II, 17-1) rolled to a 22-2 lead by the end of the first quarter.
Goulart scored six points, grabbed six rebounds, and had four steals and one assist for the game. What isn't counted is the number of deflections she has when the Lady Bulldogs are on defense.
"I like defense. It's one of my strongest areas," Goulart said. "Coach calls me 'Anticipation.' I focus on that at practice."
Though Kingman's average margin of victory is nearly 18 points per game this season, it's not because they are an offensive juggernaut. The Lady Bulldogs outscore their opponents because they are focused on defense.
"Our defense gets us through games most of the time," Goulart said. "But we have to finish on the offensive side or it doesn't work."
The senior readily accepts her role on a squad that is off to solid start this season. Goulart says she brings an ingredient to the team that propels them forward when they get bogged down.
"Intensity. I help pick up the others when needed," she said. "Then we can feed off of each other."
Gonzalez and senior Taylor Reed led Kingman with 17 points. Gonzalez also grabbed eight rebounds in the win. Alison Owen scored seven and had five steals and three assists for the Lady Bulldogs. Heather Weninger added five points, McKell Old Bull had two, and Rachel Arave contributed one.
Kingman played 13 games in 15 days, going 12-1 over that span. If there's any team ready for the Christmas break, it's the Lady Bulldogs.
"I can't wait to sleep in," the coach said. "I had to put trust in the girls to work through it."
Against Parker, Gonzalez took the opportunity to get some of his JV players into the game to gain some valuable experience at the varsity level.
"They still need to do what we do," he said. "For them, it's not just being happy to get on the floor. They have to be happy being part of the team."
Kingman won't see game action until Jan. 7 when the Lady Bulldogs play at Kingman Academy.