Herriman High School senior Kenlee Enger saw an opening. She started her dribble behind the 3-point line from the left corner and drove hard with her left hand looking for an easy two points.
As she gathered for a layup, a Copper Hills defender grabbed her left arm and pulled it down. In a normal situation, that kind of foul would sent someone tumbling hard to the ground.
But not Enger. She’s developed a unique way to avoid those types of potential injuries.
“My hands were on the floor, and then all of a sudden my legs were in the air, and I just kept going forward and did a front walkover,” Enger said.
A front walkover is not a move typically seen on a basketball court. It’s a gymnastics move. But Enger knows quite a few maneuvers like it.
A few years ago, after her family moved to Herriman and she had to attend a new elementary school, Enger found herself surrounded by gymnasts. So in order to make friends, she started learning some of the moves — she called them “tricks” — at recess and practiced at home.
After Enger made her in-game gymnastics move, she and several of her teammates burst out laughing. But it didn’t necessarily catch anyone on the team by surprise. She said she regularly performs backward summersaults after taking a charge so she can minimize the impact of falling to the ground.
“Instead of making it an ugly fall, I try to make it somewhat graceful,” Enger said.
Mustangs coach Kent Smith said Enger plays at only one speed — full throttle. In fact, she had hurt her ankle in the team’s previous game and was being tentative in drives to the basket, he said.
So when she was driving the lane in Tuesday’s 71-39 win, Smith thought to himself, “She’s either going to come down on her ankle hard or do something Kenlee-like.” Fortunately for Herriman, she landed softly on her two feet.
Enger is one of the more impactful players on Herriman’s team. She leads the team in rebounds, assists, steals and blocks per game. So the Mustangs can’t afford to lose her to injury.
“If she hadn’t developed that kind of a softening of her hitting the floor, she would be injured all the time because she dives for every loose ball, she fights for every rebound, she takes every charge,” Smith said.