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Monday, December 16, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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State 4A girls: G-Prep’s Laura Stockton makes her point

The Curtis Vikings’ Kaelin Williams-Kennedy, left, and Cedrice Howard found out Gonzaga Prep’s Laura Stockton can play. (Dan Pelle)
The Curtis Vikings’ Kaelin Williams-Kennedy, left, and Cedrice Howard found out Gonzaga Prep’s Laura Stockton can play. (Dan Pelle)

Laura Stockton understands there’s celebrity attached to her last name. That doesn’t define who she is, though, as far as she’s concerned.

When it comes to her development as the daughter of an NBA Hall of Fame player, Stockton admits she has had tutorial assistance that her peers haven’t had.

But when it comes to being a part of a state championship team that is seeking to defend its title and to landing a scholarship to the same school for which her father played, she worked hard to put herself in those situations.

“I want to be first known as Laura Stockton,” she said. “It’s important to be who I am.”

Watch Stockton walk around the Gonzaga Prep campus and she’s no different than the other 850 students. She blends in and is accepted by her peers as their friend.

Watch her at lunch time, she’s more apt to go sit at a table and strike up a conversation with two people she doesn’t know than to go sit with her clique, her teammates.

Watch Stockton on the basketball court and she’s a mixture of gracefulness, intensity and athleticism.

The competitiveness – something she gets from her father – sometimes overrides her other traits.

“It runs in the family,” she said. “That’s a huge part of me. I don’t like to lose and that drives how I play.”

Her father, John Stockton, agrees.

“Competitiveness is a shared trait,” said John, an assistant coach for the G-Prep girls. “The game is important to her and you can see it in her play.”

Laura believes that out of the six Stockton siblings she’s probably benefitted the most by having a retired father around to watch and assist.

“When I was still playing, the oldest three boys were playing,” John said. “I’ve had opportunities to be around Laura since first grade on. That’s lots of times in gymnasiums and car rides. It’s been a nice relationship. I’ve been fortunate.”

A four-year letterman and three-year starter, Stockton has played at a most-valuable-player level this season. No player in the Greater Spokane League contributes as much to her team – from statistics to leadership – as Stockton.

There have been outstanding point guards at G-Prep over the years, including her sister, Lindsay, who is playing at Montana State University. But the 5-foot-8 1/2 Laura Stockton has set a standard that will be difficult for future point guards to measure against.

“She understands, way beyond any other high school girl I have seen, the nuances of the game,” G-Prep coach Mike Arte said. “We have been fortunate the last several years to have point guards that are skilled and talented. What has set Laura apart is her tremendous ability to manage a game. She is the total package when it comes to a point guard. She can score, distribute the ball, play with balance, has a good feel for the vision required to run a team, rebounds, can defend quickness, can defend bigger post-type players and values the possession of the basketball.”

Her leadership skills are on display in games and at practice. If her teammates aren’t giving equal effort, she’s not afraid to bark at them.

“She has embraced being the leader of the team and not only leads through her inspiration but by her actions on and off the court,” Arte said. “It is certainly not lost on the other girls how hard Laura works on a daily basis, but also how hard she has worked and trained to get herself to this level.”

Arte said Stockton will leave a legacy.

“She has set the standard high for all of our future players,” Arte said. “That’s a great legacy to leave. She understands that not staying stagnant but continually improving her skills and physical strength is a must.”

She knows to reach her goals down the line there’s much work to do.

“I’m going to have to work very hard. It’s not going to be handed to me,” Stockton said. “I need to become a more consistent outside shooter and limit my turnovers.”

When told she has averaged 1.6 turnovers this season, she was surprised.

“It feels like a lot more at times,” she said. Her other statistical averages are 17.7 points, 5.4 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 2.8 steals per game.

Top-ranked G-Prep, 24-0 and riding a 47-game winning streak, opens the State 4A tournament tonight at the Tacoma Dome as the heavy favorite. The Bullpups face Bothell (20-5) in a 7:15 tipoff.

“I don’t think any game will be easy,” Stockton said. “We’re going to get every team’s best game.”

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