Kailani “Kiki” Dial may have played her final girls basketball game in a Cabrillo High uniform, but that doesn’t mean she’s put the basketball away.
In fact, the soon-to-be graduating senior says in her spare time, she gets together with her fellow teammates who experienced the state playoffs one season ago with her.
“That group of girls meshed so well. We’ve been playing together for so long and I had some of my best friends on that team that I still talk to. In fact, we actually go out and play street play – and I get to play now,” Dial said, laughing.
Dial, who will join her fellow class of 2019 graduates on the CHS field in June for their commencement ceremony, recalls watching that run from the sidelines.
Known for her ability to defend and force tightly contested shot selections, the guard Dial went down hard on the floor and suffered a season-ending knee injury that required surgery.
But along with Britney McCune, who sustained a similar injury, Dial kept encouraging the girls along during their historic 27-4 season.
“It kind of sucked that I wasn’t able to participate the way that I wanted to, but I loved being able to cheer them on from the bench,” Dial said.
And while being loud and encouraging from the sidelines, the wins piled up for the Conqs – which got their season to stretch all the way to March 10, 2018 in the CIF Division III State playoffs.
Pick-up basketball games with her fellow Conqs has kept her busy while preparing to graduate and move on to Westwood. Dial says she was accepted into what she called her No. 1 college choice UCLA.
She will aim to major in biology, but “I plan to go on a pre-med course to be a surgeon in the future.”
And where does her interest in the surgical field come from?
“My mom was a nurse. We would always watch trauma shows like Grey’s Anatomy and I just found stuff like that super interesting, plus knowing the way a body works. It just seemed so interesting,” Dial said.
The memories of her basketball career on Constellation Road will never fade for Dial, yet she knows that after accepting her diploma she will experience greater things down in Los Angeles.
“I’m super excited,” Dial said. “I’m so excited to be moving on from high school and move on to bigger things – where I get to study what I want to study and be away from home.”