Harrah’s Katie King – Athlete Spotlight Presented By BancFirst Harrah

By John Tranchina

For Katie King, the love of playing basketball started at a very young age and became a nice bonding mechanism for her and her older sister Ashley.

As the senior point guard at Harrah plays her final high school season, she has a deep-seated love for the game that started when she was in Pre-K. “I have a sister who is a year older than me, so when she was in kindergarten and played Little League, I was playing up on her team,” Katie said of Ashley, who graduated last year from Harrah and now attends college at the University of Oklahoma. “It was definitely like a bonding thing with my sister. We both pushed each other to get better, and even though she wasn’t the best, she still pushed me to improve my game a lot. We both had different roles but playing with her last year, her senior year, it was a great opportunity.”

With such a hoops background, King is a natural to serve as a respected team leader for a young Harrah squad. It’s a role she willingly accepts. “I’ve been a leader the past two years,” said King, who also plays tennis. “This year has definitely been challenging, since we have so many young girls. My main priority for this season was just to help all the younger girls get better, trying to push them in the right direction. I hope I’m doing a good job. I think it pretty much comes natural for me. Like if you’re doing something wrong, I’m going to tell you. Everybody should be held accountable for their mistakes, so if someone’s doing a drill wrong, I’m going to tell them, because we’re not going to take short cuts. You can’t take short cuts to get better. I feel like I’ve really been that way my whole life. I would say I’m more of a vocal leader, but I do think, and this may sound cocky, but I’m a good example for them to follow in the right footsteps. I try to lead by example.”

Part of being a good example is also reflected in how hard King works on improving individually. King has been determined to expand her skill set and become a more versatile and valuable player. “It’s definitely a struggle this year, because I normally get boxed-and-one, so I’m always getting denied a bunch of the game,” she said, referring to how opposing defenses have been double-teaming her. “And I’m the point guard, so the ball’s in my hand 90 percent of the time, so creating my own shots off the dribble has been my main focus to try to get better. I have improved on that a lot. Last year, I was more of a catch-and-shoot type player, and this year, it’s like a pull-up jumper off the dribble, coming off screens and stuff like that. That’s pretty much mainly what I’ve been working on.”

King’s leadership must be helping, as the Panthers have had a great season. “We’ve really progressed over the season,” said King, who is also a member of the National Honor Society and the vice president of Harrah’s senior class. “The summer was really rough and now, towards the end of our season, I feel like we’ve really improved a lot. We aren’t the most talented or skilled, just trying to get everyone on the same page. But it’s been a fun ride.”