The Grundy County High School basketball season is over for 2018 – 2019. Seven seniors, including three Lady Jackets and four Jackets, finished their high school careers in the Region 4AA quarterfinals. All of these young ladies and young men should be commended on their contributions to GCHS basketball. Every year, teams say goodbye to a group of seniors in all sports. In most cases, teams just move along and the past is only brought up in flashes of memories, usually by the individuals that are exiting the program.
I had the honor to see all these student athletes play from the eighth grade through their senior years. Unless you are involved in athletics, no one can understand or appreciate the sacrifices they made playing for Grundy County High School.
On the girls’ side, I didn’t coach against any of the seniors, but two of these young ladies played for the Coalmont Lady Rebels, while I was coaching the Rebels. Hanna Tate and Emily Rhea played at Coalmont, while Delaney Hughes played for the Lady Eagles of Tracy City. These young ladies have endured some tumultuous times throughout their careers, but their perseverance to be a part of the Lady Jacket team and contribute as they did, sets an example for the young ladies that follow. Their determination is an example of what it takes to play sports and what these young ladies did was remarkable to me. Their effort was what leadership is all about. It isn’t always measured in the number of wins or how much you pad the stat column.
The young ladies re-turning to the Lady Jackets in 2019 – 2020 will be served well to follow the example set by this senior class. Hanna, Emily, and Delaney will be very successful young ladies throughout their life with the determination and effort they gave to the 2018 – 2019 Lady Jackets.
On the boys’ side, I had the honor to coach against each of these young men, except for Cullen Anderson, who played for the Rebels as an eighth grader. Kenzie Hill, Jaden Nance, and Tyler Patrick were all tough players in elementary school and carried their talents to the high school level. All four of these young men were great examples to their teammates similar to the seniors on the Lady Jacket team. Each of these young men brought certain abilities to their team, but most of all they were all high character young men that the younger Jackets can look to as an example of what it takes to be successful.
These four young men will also be very successful in life if they continue to persevere with their determination and effort.
I have to say a little extra about Cullen Anderson, because of the privilege I had to coach him in the eighth grade. Cullen is a fine youth and, as I followed him throughout his high school career, I was in awe of the effort he gave as he grew into a young man.
I have followed Grundy County boys’ basketball for more than 50 years, and I have seen many Jackets with the ability to dunk a basketball. I don’t believe any of those had as many dunks in their career as Cullen managed in his senior season. Cullen had 10 slam dunks on the year. Each of them sent the Jacket faithful into a frenzy and Jacket followers came to anticipate another slam from the wiry Jacket swingman.
Thank you, seniors! Keep your work ethics and passion like you had for Lady Jacket and Jacket basketball and you will go far in life! Hopefully, you will return and support future teams as others have throughout the years.