Sports

Things looking up for KW’s Anderson

Kristin Anderson, who led King’s West to its third consecutive Class B state basketball tournament this winter, is ready to take her game to the next level. - Photo by Jesse Beals
Kristin Anderson, who led King’s West to its third consecutive Class B state basketball tournament this winter, is ready to take her game to the next level.
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals

Kristin Anderson has found the college that has everything she is looking for.

A student before an athlete, Anderson said getting a chance to play college basketball is really just an added bonus. Even she is amazed how things worked out.

The 5-10 forward who will soon graduate from King’s West, recently learned the school she chose has a partial basketball scholarship for her in addition to many other drawing features.

She will attend and play hoops for Oklahoma Baptist University next year.

OBU is located in the town of Shawnee, with a population of just 28,000.

The Lady Bison compete in the Sooner Athletic Conference at the NAIA level. OBU has been nationally ranked 13 of the last 26 seasons and attended the past eight NAIA national championship tournaments.

The strength of the basketball program was not the main thing that drew Anderson to the school, however. Warriors co-coach Bryan Hanley said Anderson, a devout Christian, “first and foremost wanted a Christian college.”

Faith is an important aspect of Anderson’s life. She has attended the same church her entire life and is an active member of its youth group when basketball is not in season and her duties as a student and ASB president at KW allow it.

“The most lasting influence Kristin will leave is her Christian witness and leadership,” said Hanley.

Anderson had a great opportunity to witness and lead the past two years on spring break travels to Ukraine, where she worked in an orphanage. Despite very little knowledge of the Ukrainian language, Anderson said communication has never been a problem on the mission trips.

“Touching kids and holding hands is enough,” Anderson said. “We do a lot of acting out (like charades).”

At Oklahoma Baptist, Anderson will get a further opportunity to be immersed in Ukrainian culture. Two players currently on the women’s basketball team hail from the Eastern European nation.

Back home, her leadership was key to guiding King’s West to an unexpected return trip to the state tournament in Spokane. After graduating seven seniors from the previous year’s team, Anderson and her coaches agree that no one was counting on the Warriors to do much except rebuild this past season.

But Anderson encouraged her teammates all season long. Believing in themselves, King’s West went back to state with league and district titles along the way.

“When on the bench, she was always the first player up on her feet, waving a towel around, with pure joy for her teammates,” said Hanley.

“She led (her teammates) in a whole bunch of categories that are not calculated on a positive and negative flow chart per game,” said co-coach David Kerkhoff “Poise, determination and hustle.”

Anderson’s legacy of leadership will not disappear once she leaves for Oklahoma Baptist. She mentored the Warriors’ freshman phenom Megan Spence this past season as part of the team’s Power Partners program.

Hanley said an upperclassman is matched up with each freshman and helps them learn to prepare for games, get homework done and conduct themselves responsibly on and off the court.

Hanley said Anderson provided the perfect role model for Spence and the bond they formed will have a positive impact on the final three years of Spence’s career at the school.

The Power Partners mentoring program and leadership positions she has held in her school should help Anderson to succeed in her future profession. Among the many things Anderson felt Oklahoma Baptist had going for it are strong programs in athletic training and health education, which she will major in.

Also, Anderson has friends in the area that she was able to learn more about the school from. When she visited, she simply fell in love with it.

Anderson searched far and wide to find the right college. After visiting Wheaton College in Chicago, Western Baptist (now Corban College) in Oregon and Pacific, Biola and The Master’s College in California, she felt OBU had the elements she enjoyed from each of those schools all in one place.

She said the hospitality of the personnel in the basketball program was particularly outstanding.

“They were the nicest coaches I’ve met so far,” Anderson said.

Hanley feels the Lady Bison program has good things in store as a result of adding Anderson to the fold.

“They are very fortunate,” he said. “I know she’ll put a smile on their faces.”

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