Berthoud’s Kristina Cavey named TVC Player of the Year
By Dan Karpiel
Tall and thin, with long arms, a smooth gait and quick-twitch reflexes all the while not bearing even a hint of awkwardness, Berthoud’s Kristina Cavey looks as though she was sent directly from central casting to play the role of a standout basketball player.
And as Miss Cavey continues to build on a basketball resume that already includes a list of accolades nearly as long as her strawberry-blonde hair, the sophomore is fully cognizant that the only things in life worth having are those worth fighting for.
Despite being named the 2013-14 Tri-Valley Conference Player of the Year, taking home All-Conference honors and leading the league champion Lady Spartans to the state playoffs, Cavey believes there is not a single aspect of her game that cannot be improved upon.
“I still think there's room for everything to improve,” Cavey said. “I'm always looking to make everything better.”
In just her second season on the varsity roster, and her first as a full-time starter, Cavey led Berthoud in scoring, rebounding, blocking and 3-point shooting. Despite being her team’s tallest player at 5’11”, she can handle playing any of the five positions on the hardwood. Without discounting the immeasurable amount of work she has put in, Mother Nature played a hand in helping Cavey develop that versatility.
Always “one of the shortest” growing up, she worked to develop her ball-handling skills from an early age, viewing it as her niche to get on the court.
“I was the kid that was short and quick, I wasn't big, I was really scrawny so I'd get thrown around like crazy. So I learned that I wasn’t going to be a shooter because I didn’t have any muscle; I couldn’t be a post, so, in order to play, I had to figure out how to do something and ball-handling was something I liked and it was the thing I could do,” explained the Iowa native who moved to Berthoud with her family seven years ago.
Having developed her ball-handling skills from an early age, opting long ago for basketball court over the soccer pitch, a growth spurt in eighth grade provided Cavey with the height and length to develop into a complete player, “I feel like it all worked together.”
The growth spurt helped, as any basketball player can attest a few extra inches in height never hurt, but Cavey attributes the lion’s share of her development as a player to her coaches, teammates and her involvement with the Colorado Elite club basketball program.
While Cavey explained that her interest in basketball was initially piqued by her brother, calling her older sibling a “big fan” of the sport, she attributes “falling in love” with the game to her involvement in the Berthoud Youth Athletic Association (BYAA).
Her participation in BYAA basketball originally began, as it has for innumerable young men and women, as simply a means to “just play and have fun with all my friends,” but developed into a passion thanks to the tutelage of her coaches.
“Buddy (Kouns) really helped and has always been one of the best … and he knows how to coach individually, he knows that one girl is different from another,” Cavey said.
As she grew up, as both a person and a player, basketball was a central component of Cavey’s life. She explained that her teammates were also her friends; without sounding clichéd she said, “The girls I played with I really, really got along with and we're all still best friends ... we've grown up together playing.” Cavey went on to attribute a sizable measure of the Lady Spartans’ success to the team’s kinship off the court.
Sharp and articulate but while lacking even a dollop of pretention, the sophomore spoke at length about the example set by her (slightly older) peers, and current teammates, Sami Kouns and Kendall Baker. “Kendall and Sami were the ones we looked up to … they were always so much better than us so we had to keep pushing ourselves to play at their level,” Cavey said.
Cavey stated she hopes she can live up to the fine example the pair have established for Berthoud High girls basketball.