For every teenager, high school represents a coming of age and a coming into on one's own.
Freshman Kennedy Spellman has the athletic part down. She leads Sand Creek's basketball team in scoring, averaging 28.5 points per game, a mark that ranks second in the state according to MaxPreps. With two games remaining, she's 25 points shy of setting the school's record for most points in a season, which is currently at 594.
It's in her DNA. Her father Robert played professionally for the Phoenix Suns and Seattle Sonics before playing overseas, according to Spellman's coach and mother, Kimberly.
It's the postgame interview that Spellman is working on as her talents begin to warrant attention. When asked for her thoughts on breaking Sand Creek's record for most points in a single game after she scored 45 points in a Jan. 14 contest against Coronado, her response was brief.
"It was exciting and yeah," she said with a chuckle.
Spellman lists the moment as one of her favorites of the season. She made five 3-pointers that night along with shooting 18 of 20 from the foul line.
She has been playing ball since she was in second grade. But her experience around the sport goes back before that. In addition to Robert's career, Kimberly also played at the collegiate level.
"We have four kids that play and we pretty much just call it gym-trained, because we were both still playing when they were born. So they were in the gym a lot," Kimberly said.
Her parents' training regimen rubbed off on her. She played 17U last summer to prepare for her freshman year. Kimberly said she's seen her daughter wake up at 5 a.m. to go to the gym and shoot 700 shots.
Prior to Sand Creek, she spent her time playing club ball. While she was in second grade, her family began the Wreaking Havoc Hoops club team which has produced notable area players such as Widefield freshman Isabella Monk and Mesa Ridge senior Kieran McCormick.
As part of the club team, Spellman faceds plenty of older competition, sometimes opponents that are two to three grade levels ahead, Kimberly said.
That experience has translated to her inaugural season at Sand Creek where opposing teams have employed double and triple teams to stop her. Despite the attention, she's improved over the season, logging impressive point totals on fewer shots. Over three games during the week of Jan. 30, Spellman scored 99 points.
"(I enjoy) scoring, playing all the time. I'm never bored," she said of her love for basketball.
Spellman is a key part of a Sand Creek program that's also coming into its own despite a storied past. The Scorpions haven't had a winning season since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020. The Scorpions had a number of 20-plus win seasons in the 2010s. Both Spellman and her mom want to restore that dominance.
"I look forward to expanding my game, challenging myself every year with more goals, meshing with my teammates, and bringing a winning legacy back to my school," Spellman said.
Kimberly, who previously coached at Cheyenne Mountain, came to Sand Creek because of that rich history and wants to bring the school's program back to prominence.
Spellman's individual prowess hasn't translated to consistent success for her team this year. But the freshman and her mom are hopeful for the future.
Because basketball is what the Spellmans do. They love it.
"Kennedy loves the game and the game loves her," Kimberly said.