As the Seniors stepped on the TC basketball court Friday night for their final regular season game, emotions were high. The girls were pumped with excitement from a big win, while the boys were …
As the Seniors stepped on the TC basketball court Friday night for their final regular season game, emotions were high.
The girls were pumped with excitement from a big win, while the boys were gearing up for a physical game, and between it, all the seniors took center court with their families for recognition.
Basketball did not just start for them when they began high school, but years before when they were having fun with their friends in youth league.
With each player called to center court for recognition, their parents’ minds were racing with memories of seeing their child in elementary school stepping on the court for the first time. Getting that first basket. How did they end up here so fast?
When these athletes talk about building their team, they are building something more than athletes on the court; they are building their family.
These athletes have gone through it all together in the four years of high school; they have gone to battle. They have experienced injuries, sweat, blood, tears of joy and sadness, laughter, friendly competition amongst each other, long bus rides, fun summer camps, exhaustion like they have never felt before, memories that will last a lifetime. But most of all, love.
They love the game, but they love the family they built.
Friday night, the dance team senior and basketball team seniors were individually recognized, along with their families for their dedication to the sport, and were loved on by the family they built.
Senior dance team captain Eliza Cavness built her family with the Bravettes over the last four years. “Being on the dance team meant having a family other than my family,” Cavness said. “Each team that we’ve had is so close and they’re so special in my heart. I’m gonna miss this team probably forever.”
From building a family to learning life lessons, for them it was about more than just basketball.
Lady Brave basketball player, Lexi Kennedy, has learned her fair share of lessons over the last two years. Kennedy has spent half of her junior and senior years off the court and on the bench due to a knee injury each year.
“Never take anything for granted you never know when your last practice or your last game is gonna be,” Kennedy said. “Even though things get tough, you got to push through and still do your best. After my injuries, it’s taught me to push through no matter what, even though something bad has happened, there’s always good on the other side. God’s gonna push you through.”
“I’ve learned that basketball is sometimes more than just basketball,” senior Brave Connor Bullen said. “All the practices, games, and time spent with my teammates and coaches have taught me to always stay persistent and work hard.” Like other players it’s the long bus rides and trips to MRA camp that will always stay with him.
In four short years, these players have gained experience in areas people spend a lifetime without ever knowing.
“Basketball has taught me to persevere even when things don’t go my way and when times are rough,” Hallie Durham, Lady Brave basketball senior, said.
“It’s more difficult to stay on top than to get there,” Lady Brave basketball player Lila Sanderson has learned.
These Lady Braves seniors started in ninth grade and were asked to buy into more than just a basketball program but to help build a culture.
The TCHS gym was packed last Friday night. Past are the days when fans walked in at the end of the girls’ game, having come for the main attraction of boys’ contests.
Fans, players, families, administrations have gone past hoping to have something near a winning season, and into expecting significant post-season contests… and wins.
“My freshman year we were playing New Albany and the soundtrack for the national anthem messed up,” senior basketball player, Emalie Wadkins said. “Everyone in the gym sung the anthem together and I was so proud of being an American.”
Then there are the memories they made and never realized in the moment that they would be some of their best ones.
“My favorite memory was going to MRA camp,” senior Brave basketball player Levi Dawson said. “And spending time with my teammates this past year.”
These athletes have experienced the highs and lows of being on a team and found there are lessons in the wins and the losses, but the memories from the wins are oh-so-sweet.
Last year the Lady Braves played Pontotoc High School at Pontotoc; the winner moved on to the State Playoffs while the loser just moved on.
“My favorite memory was beating Pontotoc last year on the road for the playoffs.” Wadkins said. “I will never forget the energy in the locker room.”
While Lady Braves basketball senior, Ansley Ray, remembers the Pontotoc game also. “My favorite memory is being a Lady Brave and our win versus Pontotoc to go to Jackson,” Ray said. “The bus ride and the locker room energy were one of the best feelings!”
Being part of a team is more than just participating in the sport, as these seniors have shown, they have learned valuable life lessons, built a family, and made memories they will go on to tell their children about years from now; for these athletes are #builtbytc.
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