Junior Kennedee Rankin helped the Hamilton Yankees win the Division II City Section Championship (Amanda Scurlock/L.A. Sentinel)

The Hamilton Yankees girl’s basketball team had a contending in-season run, propelling them from division II to Open division playoffs. Junior Kennedee Rankin is co-captain of the team, playing at the forward and center positions.

After winning the division II City Section championship, Rankin and her teammates worked to keep up their winning momentum.

“It made me think that I had to go out there and practice and play harder,” Rankin said about winning the title.  “It just made me think about the next step ahead and you have to work hard, not slack and just try to run another one.”

They put in time in the offseason to enhance their competitive edge. The result was a 21-5 overall record.

“We’re a very young team, so our communication on the court is good,” Rankin said.

Throughout the season, Rankin has earned accolades for her on-court performance. She was voted MVP of Carson’s Lady Colts Thanksgiving Classic. When Hamilton played in the BCL Holiday Tournament, she was named on the all-tournament team. Rankin made 16 points and 16 rebounds when Hamilton defeated Venice 67-49 in December.

“I never had any awards like that for basketball,” Rankin said. “It made me feel good, knowing that I’m actually able to go somewhere in life and just continue to do what I love to do.”

Rankin has a 3.0 GPA and says having a good relationship with her teachers helps her keep up with her studies.

“I try to get as much work as I can done in class so that way, I would have less homework and classwork to do after practice,” Rankin said. “Because of games, I might miss a class, so I just manage to get help and talk to my teachers.”

Along with playing basketball, Rankin is involved with the Black Student Union at her school.

“We meet up with a lot of other different Black Unions at different schools,” she said, “For Black History Month, we do a show.”

Rankin aspires to attend Oregon, she also wants to give back to the community and help the youth. Assisting kids as they work to fulfill their dreams is something Rankin enjoys doing.  She has already began her community service efforts by working with kids at Mar Vista Park.

“I even help out my coach with her clinic,” Rankin said. “A lot of kids don’t have what a lot of people have, so it’s just best to help them out, always be there for them, talk to them if they need it.”

Rankin played football and ran track when she was growing up. During her time in middle school, she began to play basketball.

“I just felt like it’s my sport because I’m actually able to play with girls, previous sports were co-ed,” she said. “My mom, she was kind of scared for me to play with the boys, but I was tough enough to play.”