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Life is a Breze for Hart's Kimble

Prep basketball: Hart junior is being rewarded for her positivity

Posted: January 23, 2014 9:50 p.m.
Updated: January 23, 2014 9:50 p.m.

Hart High junior basketball player Breze Kimble has seen more success, in terms of wins, this season than her two previous seasons combined. She is averaging 17.4 points and 12.1 rebounds per game in 2013-14.

 

Bobby Kimble sometimes tells his wife Batreace that it’s funny how well things worked out by naming their youngest child “Breze.”

The name came from a trip to Las Vegas when Batreace was pregnant with the fifth Kimble child.
It was a windy drive and Bobby was talking about the breeze.

There it was.

That became the name.

And it’s a reflection of who the 17-year-old Hart High basketball star is today.

Life is a breeze for Breze, as in things don’t seem daunting or troublesome for the junior.

Before her freshman year, Bobby sat down on a stair step with his daughter at the family home.

He told her how difficult basketball would be for the next two years.

But come that third year, the reward would come.

And now it’s here.

“We prepared for it,” Breze says about the worst of times. “We were talking about it, how it will be a tough few years. But everything will come into place my junior and senior year. Have faith in God. It worked out perfectly.”

Hart High girls basketball, for 20 years one of the programs that defined Santa Clarita Valley sports, hasn’t been a Foothill League contender since 2008.

Kimble’s first two seasons saw Hart go a combined 12-38 overall and 2-18 in the Foothill League.

Hart is 11-8 this season and 3-0 in the Foothill, and Kimble is a big reason why.

“Breze is exactly what we were building. She’s the ultimate team player,” says third-season head coach Terra Palmer. “It’s all about team and everybody. She instills confidence in the kids around her.”

Palmer arrived three years ago after being a longtime assistant coach at ultra-successful College of the Canyons.

When she arrived on campus at Hart, there were 19 kids in the program between varsity, junior varsity and the freshman teams.

And many of the kids were basketball novices.

In fact, Palmer admits that part of early practices was devoted to basketball vocabulary lessons.

Breze was a late arrival the summer before her freshman year.

She was originally supposed to attend West Ranch, but wanted to go to Hart where her sister Brandi started and her brothers Bobby Jr., Brian and Ben all played.

Brandi transferred to Lynwood High after her sophomore season and ended up playing at the University of New Mexico.

Brian was The Signal’s 2006-07 All-Santa Clarita Valley Boys Basketball Player of the Year.

Bobby Sr. told his daughter that if she were to transfer to Hart, she would have to stay patient through the tough times.

“She’s been even keel,” Bobby says on how Breze was able to maintain her patience. “I told her it wouldn’t be easy. You have to work hard, be a leader, make the girls around you feel good about what they’re doing. She stayed even keel, and the girls are getting better.”

Palmer says Kimble was head and shoulders above everyone else talentwise her freshman and sophomore years.

She was an All-Foothill League honorable mention as a freshman when she averaged 8.8 points, 8.8 rebounds and 4.3 steals per game.

She was an All-Foothill second-teamer as a sophomore with 15.6 points and 10.7 rebounds per contest, adding 2.7 blocks and 3.6 steals.

But she had to sacrifice.

A natural guard, because Breze is so versatile and at 5 feet, 8 inches tall was one of Hart’s bigger bodies, she was asked to play in the post her first two seasons at Hart.

“She never, never had an issue with it,” Palmer says. “She always knew, ‘As long as I put in the work, it will pay off.”

It was actually a blessing in disguise.

“It was different only because in travel ball I’m so used to playing point guard,” Breze says. “But it helped with my all-around game. As a guard you post up another guard, they don’t know how to guard you.”

Palmer says it’s a rarity when your best player is your most humble player and Breze is both.

Her patience was rewarded when her best friend Emma Johnson transferred from Alemany this school year.

Johnson and sophomore Julia White provide Hart with two varsity veterans who take the load off Breze.

A freshman, Sophia Jacobsson, has become a ball-handler and scorer that gives Hart even more depth.

And now, finally, Hart is winning.

“Amazing,” is how Breze describes winning. “It’s like an adrenaline that keeps going through your body. You get flashbacks of everything. Like (Tuesday) night. I couldn’t stop thinking of how we came back.”

The Indians play Valencia on Friday at Valencia High in a meeting of the two final unbeatens in Foothill League play.

Regardless of who wins the game, Hart is now in a position it hasn’t been in since Breze was in elementary school.

She never showed frustration, Palmer said, and was never negative.

Instead, she stuck with the plan.

“She’s so excited. But she knew this was always the plan,” Palmer says. “For a kid who always had a smile on her face, it’s a little bit bigger. We can’t get ahead of ourselves. One game at a time. But at the same time, you could see the work is finally paying off.”

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