Kayana Bass has been making waves throughout Washington ever since transferring to Wapato High School during her junior year from Zillah High School. She was a McDonald's All-American nominee this year after averaging 23.6 points per game.
“Those were my goals: I wanted to at least go to state and take home a trophy,” Bass said.
This year, she was the South Central Athletic Conference Player of the Year. Her team won the District 5 1A tournament as well as finishing atop the SCAC.
After losing to Lynden Christian High School led by Demi Dykstra, Wapato beat King’s High School to claim the third-place trophy for 2023.
“[Dykstra’s] a good ballplayer. It's gonna be fun getting to play with her next year,” Bass said.
Western Washington University will add Bass to a large sum of talented additions for the 2023-24 season. With Demi Dykstra, Olivia Wikstrom and Aspen Garrison all declaring for Western, there is a lot to look forward to for followers of the team.
Bass will be able to add her proficient scoring ability to the team through her ability to shoot the lights out from three-point range.
“She has great range with her offense, she can shoot from quite a ways away and she can attack the hoop aggressively when needed,” said Wapato High School Girls Basketball Head Coach Joe Blodgett.
Her abilities helped her lead the team to 25 victories — the most wins in school history. With that winning attitude, she will fit well into a program that made a trip to the National Championship game in 2022.
“I’m really excited that [Bass] has an opportunity to go on, and I’m optimistic on what she is going to be able to contribute to [Western],” Blodgett said.
The Vikings are known for their leadership from Head Coach Carmen Dolfo. She is going on her 33rd season in that position and has the seventh most wins in NCAA Division II history.
“When I visited campus, the coaching staff and the team was very welcoming and answered all the questions I asked, it felt like home,” Bass said.
It has always been about feeling at home with Bass’s basketball career. Growing up, her father played a major role in her development as a player.
“My dad’s coached me my whole life, he taught me everything I know about basketball. He got me to where I am today,” Bass said.
The biggest thing for Bass was having the freedom to become the player she wanted to be. From there, she was able to learn how to play into her team’s strategy and find success at Wapato High School.
“Coach Blodgett let me be free, let me score and just play basketball. He didn’t hold me back,” Bass said.
Along with her scoring, Bass’s energy on the court helped the team defensively. Bass is a runner; she was a cross country team member and brings the hustle to any sport she is playing.
“The thing she really improved on was understanding the concept that we have on our team defense, and she was able to cover a lot of holes for us,” Blodgett said.
This defensive IQ from Bass will help replace the defensive presence lost with Avery Dykstra graduating after winning back-to-back Great Northwest Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year.
“She’ll bring a good energy to the team. She's gonna work hard and practice and she’ll go up against anyone or anything,” said Wapato High School Vice Principal and Athletic Director Tim Strother.
In her final game for Wapato, she scored 29 points against King’s High School. The team had just lost in the semi-finals of the 1A Washington State tournament and needed to win this game to claim the third-place trophy.
“The message [Bass] had for the team was to forget about the last game,” Blodgett said. “We made sure we let the team know this was [Bass’s] last game with us regardless; win or loss.”
Bass may be finishing high school, but she has already gotten a head start in her college academic career.
“She’s challenged herself with Running Start,” Strother said. “It’s not easy doing that, and she's been able to do it with ease.”
Kayana Bass has been doing the Running Start program through Yakima Valley College and has earned an Associate in Arts degree and is a member of the National Honor Society.
“I wanted to feel what it was like going to college because I was nervous for if it was going to be more difficult than high school,” Bass said.
She will attend Western with hopes of becoming an athletic trainer through her studies in kinesiology.
Zen Hill (he/him) is a sports reporter for The Front. He is studying journalism with a public relations focus with hopes of becoming a sports broadcaster. He comes from Julian, a small town in San Diego County where he grew up playing basketball, soccer, track and field and baseball.