Lala’s recipe to success


Kathia Noriega

Lala Lautaimi dribbles the ball at a home game against Ohlone College on Feb 8.

Being a captain of a college basketball team comes with big responsibility. Your job is to be a great player, a great teammate, and most importantly, a great leader. 

Lala Lautaimi, one of the captains of Skyline’s women’s basketball team, has proven to be a fantastic leader for her team, and she has garnered tons of love from her coach and her teammates. 

Lautaimi started playing basketball in middle school, and that’s when she fell in love with the game. As a competitive player, striving to win games has always been her goal, and it’s her favorite part of playing basketball.

“My favorite part of the game is just winning,” Lautaimi said. “I kind of hate losing.”

Tatiana Newsome, another captain on this team, knows how well-rounded a player Lautaimi is. Sharing the court with her for two years gave her a first-hand experience of watching her play the game at an elite level.

“Lala did great this season,” Newsome said. “She’s always done great. She’s a hustler, a great rebounder, and she can block shots. People are scared to drive in on her.”

The skills that Lautaimi possesses make her a target for other teams to try and stop. After having a fantastic freshman season, teams attempted to formulate a game plan that would prevent her from being as effective. Being the great player she is, she still found a way to influence the game and lead her team to success.

Chris Watters, the coach of this squad, spoke on this and how Lautaimi was able to overcome these obstacles in her way.

“She had an outstanding year as a freshman, and in some ways, that makes it more difficult to come back and have another great year as a sophomore,” Watters said. “Every opponent was able to game plan to stop her and focus on her, but she’s done a great job of finding new ways to score and finding new ways to impact the game.”

Adjusting is a major aspect of the game of basketball. Lautaimi perfected that craft when opponents would throw unexpected game plans her way. She has done a phenomenal job of disallowing that from affecting her overall influence on the game.

Being able to dominate a basketball game in many different ways is what makes Lautaimi stand out from other players.

“As a basketball player, I would describe her as dynamic,” Watters said. “She can do things that other players at our level are not capable of doing.”

Her teammates fully recognize this, and they know how crucial her all-around skill is to the team’s success. 

“She’s such a versatile player,” Angela Olivé, a teammate of Lautaimi, said. “She can drive, and she can post. She’s lengthy, and she’s fast and quick.”

Lautaimi doesn’t just shine on the court, however. Off the court, she is a great leader, a great friend, and a great person.

“Her spirit, in general, is just so good,” Olivé said. “It matches her play style so well.”

As a leader of this basketball club, Lautaimi is a prime example of how to fulfill that role perfectly. Her teammates recognize that, her coaches recognize that, and anybody who watches her play recognizes that. 

She will be continuing her basketball journey after Skyline, although she is uncertain of where that will be at the moment. However, no matter where she ends up, she will continue to shine as a player, a teammate, a leader, and a person.