April 5, 2014

Bechtle building something

Kevin McCarthy

152 assists in 30 games. 125 steals. 20 points (six treys) in a 67-64 February 28 victory over vaunted Archbishop Mitty in a Central Coast Section Open Division playoff game. 5-foot-7 Scotts Valley High point guard Nikiya Bechtle dramatically established her bonafides this season and the 2016 point guard will be performing in an even more critical role next season.

photo of  Nikiya Bechtle

Scotts Valley graduates two highly-lauded seniors so the junior-to-be Bechtle will be more prominent comes the 2014-15 schedule. To prepare for such, she will be building on her stellar accomplishments this season by utilizing a routine of 6:00 a.m. workouts on the beach and the track, plus running stairs and sand dunes.

Bechtle, just named to the All Santa Cruz County Athletic League Second Team and the only underclass honoree on either of the first two groups, is also prepping for participation with the West Valley Basketball Club this spring and summer. Training sessions for that are on the weekend. Plus, she will be working with Imhotet-Ari Amen Ra of Total Elite training on both endurance and basketball skills. Her previous endeavor with him consisted of very early workouts followed by shooting in the morning, a basketball workout and more shots at night.

Amen Ra said, “Nikiya's works out extremely hard, her commitment is unmatched and she has a willingness to learn, an eagerness.”

Plus, Bechtle doesn't back down.

Amen Ra continued, “We have players from UC Santa Cruz, Cabrillo College, DI players and even some pros come out and play. She jumps right in and you have to guard her or she'll sink a three.”

Call her a prodigy of sorts because she excelled from a very early age in every sport she took up.

There was soccer. Bechtle traveled with the Pride team in which she captained. The Pride took Cal North Cal Soccer League championship and District Cup honors one season.

In softball as a pitcher, shortstop and at first base and being an eight-year-old, her squad won a 10 and under Nor Cal Oakland Junior Olympic championship.

During junior high, she ran track and won numerous awards in both the sprint and the mile.

In basketball, her Baymonte Christian Middle School girls basketball team captured the Bay Area Christian schools championship, a game in which she scored 28 points and was the tournament Most Valuable Player.

As to why basketball, her brother Blake, who was a first-team all-league player for San Lorenzo Valley High, took up the sport at a young age. "Blake always took time to practice with me. He was my inspiration growing up and I wanted to do what he did."

But hoops won out come high school.

Bechtle's reasoning? “I like team sports” and basketball was the one in which the most teamwork was required.

As you'll read just below, that synchronicity is a core element for her.

A query regarding her roles in high school play and club ball, Bechtle said, “They are really similar: take control, run the team and set up my teammates to their strengths.”

Her favorite moment on the court wasn't anything date specific but very telling: “when everyone is working together, our shots are going in and we're working hard on defense.”

Bechte sees her best skills as “my court vision, ability to dribble and my defense.”

There will be no concern whatsoever about gaining academic acceptance at the next level. “I've had a 4.0 [grade point average] as long as I can remember.”

The Scotts Valley Falcons just finished a 12-0, 25-6 season plus went 9-3, 17-11 a year ago. This coming season will require some holes to be filled. Just not at the point. That's well taken.