Competition, Camaraderie, and Captains Claire and Kayla


Captain Kayla G. ’23 has been an inspiring force in shaping team culture. (Mike Lengel)

After captains Claire O. ’23 and Kayla G. ’23 graduate, Lakeside girls basketball may never be the same. “Nobody can fill Kayla’s shoes — she’s Captain K,” says Claire. “It’s true,” Kayla jokes back: “No one can. I just love everyone and no one loves as hard as me.” 

Under the pair’s love and leadership, the team has risen to new heights, including being ranked as one of the best teams in Washington according to the WIAA. When they joined the team in their freshman year, the program was much less concerned with wins: “Claire and I joined Lakeside girls basketball when the program wasn’t surrounded by basketball. More fun-oriented than a winning team,” says Kayla. After three years, they’ve transformed it into a competitive, supportive, and dedicated environment. During the regular season, the Lions only lost once, putting them at an outstanding 13-1 and setting them up for deep State and Metro runs. 

“Winning changes things,” says Kayla. Now, “more people come to our games, we get more awards, we go to the championships. Before Claire, we didn’t really have anyone who truly got awarded and recognized for their talent.” Claire and Mia B. ‘24 were both selected for the Metro League Girls Mountain Division First Team, Mia B. ‘24 was named the Defensive Player of the Year, and Lakeside Girls coach Mia Augustavo-Fisher was awarded Coach of the Year.

The team’s remarkable regular season performance earned them a trip to Arizona for the Nike Tournament of Champions, one of the most elite youth competitions in the world. They played four intense games which Kayla describes as simultaneously “challenging and exciting” and had the opportunity to bond as a team with a 2-2 record. 

You can put anyone in, and they will make an impact.

Taking Ws while traveling didn’t stop the Lions from taking them at home, too. The team steamrolled Seattle Prep three straight games in a row. “And even after we beat them, they asked Claire to take a picture with her because they are big fans of hers,” Kayla recalls.

At the start of the season, the Lions fell just a few points short of Garfield in a close loss. Later on, Claire and Kayla had the chance to play them at home for the first time in their careers. The Lions broke away in the first quarter, and held a large lead until the buzzer to take a 58-36 win over the Bulldogs, breaking Garfield’s 31-game win streak. 

In the Metro tournament, Lakeside advanced all the way to the finals to face off against the Bulldogs yet again, this time at Seattle Pacific University. Lakeside battled toe-to-toe with Garfield until the Bulldogs pulled away in the second half. If the Lions face the Bulldogs again in State, they will have the opportunity to avenge their close loss. 

Captain Claire O. ’23 not only breaks ankles, but also leads by example both on and off the court. (Mike Lengel)

Team culture has played a key role in their season-long dominance. As Kayla explains, “we compete against each other to make our team better as a whole, and it’s in an entirely positive way. We never stop supporting our teammates.” Although varsity has just nine players, every player comes to practice early to get shots up and competes hard in practice to sharpen their skills. Teammates look out for one another, making sure they ice and stretch to avoid injuries during the long season. Claire emphasizes the trust her teammates have in each other: “You can put anyone in, and they will make an impact.” The team’s affinity and impressive commitment has allowed for a successful season, and Claire and Kayla have championed it as senior leaders of the team.

Kayla and Claire claim that the team will be fine without them next year, but their leadership and elite play will be missed greatly, and their impact on the program will never be forgotten. Currently, the girls are competing in districts, with a game on February 18 against Bishop Blanchet before they can move on to state. The preliminary round is at the end of midwinter break, and the actual state games occur from March 1 to 4. Keep an eye on the game schedule, follow @LakesideLionsGB on Twitter, and show up for the (unbiased) best Lakeside team!