Crenshaw sophomore guard King Kyni Peterson enjoys drawing and playing football (Amanda Scurlock/L.A. Sentinel)

Crenshaw sophomore guard King Kyni Peterson prioritizes defense when he competes. He uses his speed to contest against opponents; this puts him on a level playing field with players that are taller than he is.

“Since I was small, I had to be a feisty defense player. I ain’t tall at all, but I still got weight,” Peterson said. “Being feisty and fast and small, you can take pride in that on defense.”

Peterson commits himself to doing defensive drills to build his defensive presence.

“On defense, there’s more you can do on the team, as in play defense, trap, steal the ball, hype the team up for what you’re doing on defense,” he said.

That mindset helped the Cougars boys’ basketball team hold their opponents to as little as 13 points and allow Crenshaw to score as much as 101 during games. Peterson notes how every player on the squad is a leader on the team, he ensures that they try to make stops.

“They work, they push each other,” Peterson said. “I fell like a leader defensive-wise, to tell people we got to do better on defense.”

Peterson works hard to help make the Cougars a resilient squad, he noted how much he is developing during this season.

“I’m really the three-point defensive player,” Peterson said. “Better on my defense, moving faster, going with the flow of the game. I’m getting better.”

Grappling with the disadvantages of the COVID-19 quarantine was a challenge for Peterson. He gained weight during that time but has since worked that weight off.

“I’m glad I was in middle school at the time because if I was in high school, it would be worse,” Peterson said about the quarantine. “COVID really messed everything up but I got it all back, the season is back and I’m working, playing as hard as I can this season.”

Learning online during the quarantine was not difficult on Peterson, even when the days got repetitive.

“It was just sitting at home all day doing nothing but work and just sleeping,” he said. “Sitting at home not social interacting with anybody except the people you play video games with or on the phone.”

Peterson’s favorite class is math and has a mastery of doing linear equations. He also enjoys working on music with his father, playing football, and drawing. Peterson aspires to compete in the NBA and create a clothing brand.

Being a student athlete is an enjoyable experience for Peterson.

“You get to be on a basketball team, you get things,” he said. “The team is like a family. It’s all fun.”