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PREP BASKETBALL: Keppel's Sophia Song

  • By Shel Segal

Sometimes your parents know best.
Sophia Song, a 15-year-old sophomore on the Keppel High girls’ basketball team, can attest to this as it was her father that introduced her to the sport when she was in the first grade.

“My dad got me into it,” Song said. “A couple of my friends started playing basketball. It looked like a lot of fun and ever since then I just loved it.”
She’s 5’10” and averages 27 points per game.
Song, who said she would like to play basketball at UCLA after she graduates, said while she is having a good year, there is much more on which she can improve. She got her experience at Brightwood School.
“Driving to the basket and shooting are good,” she said. “But I need to work on my defense and rebounding. I need to guard the post better. In college, I want to play guard, so now I need to get more physical with my game.”
She added she really likes playing for Keppel coach Joe Kikuchi.
“I love Coach Joe,” Song said. “He’s like the coolest coach ever. I’ve known him since fourth grade. I remember when he used to help out with my club team.”
She also said she credits Kikuchi with strengthening her game.
“I don’t think I would have learned the basic post moves or how to go back to the basket (without Kikuchi),” she said. “I used to be an outside shooter and I just stayed on the outside. I wasn’t really aggressive. I was a set shooter. Learning post moves and becoming more aggressive toward the basket gave me a more versatile game.”
Kikuchi said he enjoys coaching Song.
“Not only is she a good basketball player, but she’s very enjoyable to coach,” he said. “She’s got a great attitude. She’s always willing to learn. She’s not a Miss Know-It-All, like a lot of kids try to be. She’s willing to work.”
Kikuchi added Song has a very bright future ahead of her.
“She comes in here giving us a lot of points in the paint,” he said. “She’s got an outside shot. She can handle the ball. She’s been doing all the things that we need, like rebounding and baskets in the paint. She’s Division I. She’s going places. She’s fine tuned. She knows what she’s doing and she’s good at it.”
(Shel Segal can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .)

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