Crenshaw sophomore Payton Walk helped the girls’ basketball team to a 22-7 overall record (Amanda Scurlock/L.A. Sentinel)

This past season, sophomore Payton Walk helped the Crenshaw girls’ basketball team become City Section contenders. Although this was her first year playing varsity, she was co-captain of the team.

Through her experience playing basketball, Walk learned that motivation and reassurance can keep players focused. She uses this lesson to keep her teammates in positive moods during games.

“Last year when I first started playing high school basketball … I found out that when I mess up, I get down,” Walk said. “I found out that others are just like that and so when someone encouraged me to just keep going when I was on the floor, how that made me feel, I wanted my teammates to feel that way.”

Since then, Walk developed a short memory in the wake of mistakes. She communicates with her teammates frequently, she understands if the Cougars work as a team, they will have success.

“I feel that we play really well together when we start working together,” Walk said. “Sometimes we get off of that, but once we get back on, it’s easier for us to score and get boards when we play together, we can stop the other team.”

She considers their December battle against the Dorsey Donnas girls basketball team as one of the Cougar’s best games.

“Everybody went off,” Walk said. “Everybody was playing hard, everybody was intense, they were focused.”

The Cougars never lost a Coliseum League game, pacing the league was a goal the team established last summer.

Her duties on the court do not interfere with her academic obligations. Walk stays informed about the logistics of her day.

“I’m good at time management,” she said. “I know when my practice starts and when my practice ends so that just leaves me from the rest of the day and when I get home to do all my work.”

Walk takes Honors World History and Honors English. Her favorite class is English; the class was assigned to read the novel “The Hate U Give,” and she enjoyed reading it. The student’s reaction to the novel astonished her.

“I was surprised at how many people related to it because I thought it was just going to be a few people, but almost the whole class had something to say on it,” Walk said.

Beyond being a student athlete, Walk likes to paint and draw. She enjoys drawing characters, graffiti art, and art with symbolic meaning. She desires to attend a four-year university after high school and to become a pediatric nurse.

“I love kids, I like being around them,” Walk said. “I like babysitting them.”

Follow @lasentinelnews on Instagram and @thelasentinel on Twitter to keep up with Student Athlete of the Week. To request a story on a student athlete, email [email protected]