Competitive drive leads Del Norte's Kendra Parra to 2A girls basketball's top honor

Kendra Parra Del Norte girls basketball

(Brent Murphy/MaxPreps)

Kendra Parra doesn't care what sport she's playing or who she's playing against. Once the signal is given that it's time to start playing, she's going to battle and do whatever it takes to out a winner.

That's what impresses Del Norte girls basketball coach Gilbert Sanchez so much about his star senior.

"She is ultra competitive," Sanchez said. "I don't care what it is. Whether it's something in class or being out on the volleyball court, the soccer field or the basketball court. She's really competitive and if things don't go her way she'll figure out a way to get better."

It's a family trait. A big part of Parra's development came through competing with her older brother Carlos at their makeshift court at home.

The results were exactly what she was hoping for as she was named the Class 2A girls basketball Player of the Year just last week.

In fact, while she was competing for her team she still considered herself in competition with her brothers and it became just another tool for motivation on the court.

"I hate to lose," Parra said. "We'd track who had the most points, how much our team would score, who would win and stuff like that."

This season was the second year in a row in which Parra averaged 21 points and five rebounds per game. She was named first-team All-State in 2019, the only junior named to the squad. Her career will continue in college when she heads to Metro State in Denver. 

But her basketball story is just a small part of her overall makeup as a student-athlete. She is a multi-sport athlete who battles on just out every field or court available to her as a Tiger.

She recorded over 150 kills for the volleyball team this past fall. She scored a career-high 24 goals on the soccer field two years ago before adding 11 as a junior last spring. She even played for Del Norte's baseball team last team last year and through 30 at-bats built an average of .500 while driving in six runs. Her OPS was an impressive 1.116. None of this was surprising to Sanchez, a man that had watched her develop into an overall tremendous athlete.

"It doesn't surprise me at all," he said. "She's a natural athlete. Heck, from pee wee all the way through junior high, she played football. She's not shy to get up there and battle with anybody."

And it showed by the time her senior year ended. She was 51 points shy of becoming the 11th player in state history to score 2,000 career points. She'll finish her career No. 13 on the state's all-time scoring list.

The only thing that eludes her resumé is a state championship, but the reality is that she will be long remembered for her play and more importantly, how she carried herself on the court. 

"I was focused and prepared," Parra said. "I was focused every single game and I knew that you practice like you play. There wasn't a lot of time to joke around. You had to have your team involved and attitude was everything."

When hearing about what made Parra so special, future players will likely just use numbers as a basis of comparison. But her career point total or her average of points, rebounds and assists per game don't come close to painting a full picture of what she meant to the Tigers.

Those are the general evaluation tools when it comes to determining the greatness of athletes at all levels. The real story though, will come from someone like Sanchez. He'll be able to gather them around and tell them about Parra as a player. He won't use numbers. He'll provide substance.

"She's been the hub of our team the last three years," he said. "She had a great skill set to begin with but as she progressed, she embraced everything and rolled with it."

And more importantly, she competed while doing it. Every second of every day she battled and never once cared who she battled against.