Prairie girls basketball: Kendyl Carson expects to move back to Alaska

State champions will have a new look next season

The state champion Prairie girls basketball team already knew three senior starters would be graduating this year, but now the Falcons will be without another starter next season.

Kendyl Carson, a junior who was instrumental in helping Prairie win the Class 3A championship earlier this month, confirmed that she expects to return to her hometown in Juneau, Alaska, for her senior year.

Kendyl Carson, a starter for Prairie’s state championship girls basketball team, said she plans on moving back to her hometown in Alaska for her senior year of high school. Photo by Mike Schultz
Kendyl Carson, a starter for Prairie’s state championship girls basketball team, said she plans on moving back to her hometown in Alaska for her senior year of high school. Photo by Mike Schultz
Prairie junior Allison Corral will be the lone returning starter for the Falcons next season. Photo by Mike Schultz
Prairie junior Allison Corral will be the lone returning starter for the Falcons next season. Photo by Mike Schultz

“It was not my plan at first,” Carson said.

Carson moved to Washington prior to her sophomore year in order to be closer to her club team, based in Seattle. She lives with relatives in the Battle Ground School District boundary.

That family is moving to Arizona, so Carson said she decided to return home with her parents.

Carson, featured earlier this season by ClarkCountyToday.com, had to sit out a year of varsity action due to Washington Interscholastic Activities Association transfer rules. She played on the Prairie JV squad as a sophomore.

This season, media members voted her to the first team for the all-state tournament squad.

Carson said she has loved her time with the Falcons.

“It’s been a family since the beginning,” she said. “Every girl has had my back. My coaches have had my back.”

Haley Reed (22) and Meri Dunford (3) would have started on any other team in the county, according to Prairie coach Hala Corral. The coach expects big things from them next season when the Falcons try to defend their state title. Photos by Mike Schultz
Haley Reed (22) and Meri Dunford (3) would have started on any other team in the county, according to Prairie coach Hala Corral. The coach expects big things from them next season when the Falcons try to defend their state title. Photos by Mike Schultz

She appreciated how this program pushed her to become better.

“They never sugarcoated anything. They made me work for everything,” Carson said. “Not just to become the player I am, but the person I have become.”

Carson told the Juneau Empire earlier this month of her plans to return to Alaska.

Prairie completed a 25-2 season for the program’s seventh state title and first since 2012.

“I want to wish her the best of luck,” Prairie coach Hala Corral said.

Seniors Cassidy Gardner, Brooke Walling, and Mallory Williams will be saying goodbye to high school basketball as well. With Carson’s pending departure, that will leave Allison Corral as the lone returning starter.

“We’ll be fine,” Hala Corral said.

“Meri and Haley would have started on any other team in Clark County,” she said of Meri Dunford and Haley Reed. “I really feel like I have three starters returning.”

Allison Corral, Dunford, and Reed will be relied upon to continue the Prairie tradition. The Falcons have made the state round of 16 the past 22 seasons.

The Prairie expectations, the coach said, will remain.

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About The Author

Paul Valencia joins ClarkCountyToday.com after more than two decades of newspaper experience. He became the face of high school sports coverage in Clark County during his 17 years at The Columbian. Before moving to Vancouver, Paul worked at Oregon daily newspapers in Pendleton, Roseburg, and Salem. A graduate of David Douglas High School in Portland, Paul enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving three years as a soldier/journalist. He and his wife Jenny recently celebrated their 20th anniversary. They have a son who has a passion for karate and Minecraft. Paul’s hobbies include: Watching the Raiders play football, reading about the Raiders playing football, and waiting to watch and read about the Raiders playing football.

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