The box score always seems to be missing a name.
Teams at state
Clark County teams in state quarterfinal games on Thursday.
4A BOYS: Union vs. Jackson of Mill Creek, 7:15 p.m. at the Tacoma Dome. Webcast: www.carlclick.com>
4A GIRLS: Skyview vs. Federal Way, 2 p.m. at the Tacoma Dome. Webcast: www.carlclick.com>
3A GIRLS: Prairie vs. Lakeside of Seattle, 7:15 p.m. at the Tacoma Dome. Webcast: www.carlclick.com>
1B BOYS: King’s Way Christian vs. Muckleshoot of Auburn, 2 p.m. at Spokane Arena.
There’s Heather Corral and Kelsey Asplund. Another senior, Andrea Smith, she gets her name in the paper every game, too. All the other members of the Prairie girls basketball team who play are noted, as well.
Yet, there is always one member of team who never gets recognition.
Senior Kierra Fultz has never scored a point for the Falcons, never played a minute on the court. But she is an integral part of the squad.
“This team would not function without her,” Corral said.
“She is our team mom. If we need ice, water, sweets, she’s there,” Asplund said.
“And tissue if you have a runny nose,” Smith added.
Fultz is the team manager pretty much a four-year all-star of doing all the little things that help a team succeed.
“Our managers seem to get better and better through the years, but I don’t know how anyone will top her,” longtime Prairie coach Al Aldridge said.
Fultz is quiet, humble. But she appreciates how she is appreciated. It is more than a job for her because she has grown to love her sisters on the team.
“They are kind of like family to me,” Fultz said.
The Falcons are famous for their long practices. Fultz is there early and stays late.
Her philosophy is to take care of all the extra stuff to allow the players to just focus on basketball.
“You can call her and ask for anything, and she figures out a way to get it to you,” Corral said.
“I can’t say no,” Fultz said.
One night, Corral forgot the team’s warm-up music. Not exactly a crisis, but still, teams have their routines. Fultz took Corral’s car, drove to Heather’s house, picked up the CD and arrived in time to save the day.
“Her car is a lot nicer than mine,” said Fultz, acting as if Heather was doing her a favor. “She has a Volkswagen. Mine is like a grandma car.”
Fultz was a team manager for an eighth-grade team prior to high school. She enjoyed the experience enough that when she was a freshman, she asked if Aldridge needed any help.
She was a fast learner. She really has felt the wrath of Aldridge only once when she left a door open that was supposed to be locked.
“I haven’t done it since,” Fultz said.
As a freshman, she started out as bit of an outsider. The Falcons have a tradition of coming up with a coded message they draw on their arms. It means something different every year, and it is a secret kept within the team until the end of each season.
“They wouldn’t tell me what the arm thing was when I was a freshman, and now I help them come up with what it is,” Fultz said.
And no, she won’t be letting that secret slip.
“I love my hair,” she said. “They’ll shave your head.”
This week will be the end of Fultz career at Prairie. She will celebrate with a trip to Tacoma for the Class 3A state tournament. Interestingly, her younger sister Carli is going to Tacoma, too, as a member of the Skyview girls team in the 4A tournament. Kierra’s dad, Mark, is an assistant with the Storm.
Thursday, Skyview plays at 2 p.m. while Prairie plays at 7 p.m. But don’t look for Kierra to be watching the Storm. If Prairie is in the middle of a shootaround at a nearby gym, for example, Kierra will be with her team. Perhaps she will see her sister’s team play a little this week, but the Falcons come first.
Kierra Fultz is not sure just yet of her future plans. However, if she chooses to go to Concordia in Portland, she already has a manager job waiting for her with the women’s team.
As far as life at Prairie, the senior players feel bad for the underclassmen who will be without Fultz next year.
“We’re glad we’re graduating when she does so we don’t have to be without her,” Asplund said.