Given her family’s lineage, it was a good bet Vermilion Catholic’s Kaylen Collins would one day play college basketball.
Collins, whose parents both played for Louisiana-Lafayette, followed in their footsteps and signed a scholarship with Baton Rouge Community College during a ceremony Tuesday at the Abbeville-based school.
“It was always a dream since both my parents played in college,” Collins said. “I felt like basketball was something I was called to do.”
The 5-foot-11 Collins has been one of the driving forces in Vermilion Catholic’s successful program that won the Class 1A state championship in 2013 and was the runners-up this past season.
The Eagles, the District 7-1A champion, went 25-5 this season and reached the LHSAA’s Allstate/Sugar Bowl Top 28 tournament, where they lost to North Central 54-50 in the championship game.
“We gave it everything we had every time we played regardless of the team we played,” said Collins, who had 16 points and 15 rebounds in the title game. “We played as hard as we could, but sometimes it doesn’t work out for you.”
Collins earned all-district and all-parish first team honors for the second straight year, averaging 20 points, 15.5 points, four steals and two assists.
“I’ve gotten stronger as a player in general,” Collins said. “I pushed myself more in practice, pushed myself when I was hurt. I didn’t want to give up. I got mentally stronger.”
Collins scored more than 1,400 points and pulled down over 500 rebounds during her four-year career. She participated in the Louisiana High School Coaches Association’s East-West All-Star game and will play in another postseason all-star game matching southwest Louisiana and southeast Texas.
BRCC, coached by former LSU assistant Paula Lee, is losing three sophomores from a team that finished 14-15. The Bears close the regular season with seven straight wins before being knocked out in the Region 23 tournament by Jones (Miss.) County 91-62.
Collins said she expects to make the transition from high school post player to either the wing or small forward in college.
“I’m leaving friends and people I’m used to playing with, but they have people that I’ve played with several times,” Collins said. “Everybody’s got to change sometimes. I also have a sister at LSU, and I would be close to a family member.
“I’m getting the best of both worlds.”