I sometimes get a bit of grief from my wife when I tell her I'll be home late because my work demands I attend a high school game. But it's because of those demands I've been the recipient of many gifts. I've been blessed to see some very special student-athletes from Kingman compete, and I want to pass those on as gifts to you. These are some of the winter sports kids that you just have to go out and see. There is something special about these kids that my words are too inefficient to express. You really do need to see them for yourself.
My first two regifts to you are 'grinders.' Kingman High Bulldog basketball player Sean Curran has to be one of the hardest working athletes you'll come across. Curran has decent enough talent but always surprises me when he shoots free throws left-handed. He's averaging a double-double this year with more than 12 points and 14 rebounds per game. When he's on the floor that means he is near the ball. He goes hard to the rim at every opportunity and something tells me his opponents know they were in a physical game for days after playing against him.
Lady Bulldogs hoopster Stephanie Goulart reminds me of "The Little Engine That Could." She's not a stats grabber; there's nothing about her numbers that would make you say exceptional. The Lady Bulldogs are off to a 14-1 start and one of the reasons is Goulart. She's not a leading scorer, rebounder or playmaker. But she is always involved. She knows what is happening on the court and seems to always be in the right spot at the right time. She exemplifies the term 'team player.'
To wrap up the basketball regifts, check out the Kingman Academy boys basketball team. As longtime Kingman high school sports fan Guillermo Tarango wrote in an email, the Tigers are "polished." They play sound, fundamental basketball averaging less than 15 turnovers per game. Most games, the Tigers have a balanced scoring attack and play excellent defense. They transition well, push the ball when the opportunity arises and slow it down when it becomes necessary.
I've only had one chance to see the Kingman girls soccer team play, but the skills of goalkeeper Deanna Pettit need to be seen. In three of the four Lady Bulldog games this season, Pettit has faced an onslaught of shots on goal. And she has stopped way more than she has allowed. When a play from the keeper needs to be made, Pettit can handle it. Against Yuma Kofa, Pettit faced 36 shots-on-goal and recorded 20 saves. The girl needs to be seen.
Another soccer gift is the Kingman boys squad. The Bulldogs are off to a nice 9-3 start, including a 5-1 regular-season record. They're playing quality fútbol by passing well, controlling the ball, and offering excitement with how they are scoring. The Bulldogs are solid defensively and a great treat to watch.
Santa left a couple of gifts on the wrestling mat, too. Kingman's Dalton Delong is a complex 138-pounder. When grappling on the mat, Delong is focused and determined. He's downright serious. Off the mat, he's quick to bring a smile to your face. You can't help but be on his side when you watch him wrestle.
Nick Verville of Lee Williams is a gift, I believe, will keep on giving in the years to come. He's only a freshman, but he's making noise in the high school wrestling world. He lost at Thunderbird, 15-10, but the Thunderbird squad has won three state championships in a row. He's a pleasant young man who has his goals in order. Don't miss out on him.
There are many more regifting ideas I have for you, but the boss man doesn't want me writing forever. Even though they are not mentioned, there are a lot of others who easily give you joy when seeing their athletic gifts.
It's late and my wife is expecting me. Hope you have a Merry Christmas!