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Hickory Creek takes D1 title
Hickory Creek champs.jpg
Photo provided The Hickory Creek Lady Hawks won the District 1 postseason title last week. Members of the team are, front row, from left, Kameron Campbell, Kinsley Simpson, Avery Bryant, Emma Kate Lippe, Anlee Luna and manager Daelyn Rowland. Back row, Anna Templeton, Maebry Yates, Kaydence Light, Hailey Geesling, Abby Blankenship, Willa Denning, Anaston Yates and Layla Barrie Guthrie.

Shea Panter may have to ask Pat Riley for his copyright on “3-Peat.” She’s now well on her way to building a dynasty in District 1 girls basketball.

For the third-straight year under Panter, the Hickory Creek Lady Hawks won the district 1 title with a perfect run through the season. Hickory Creek closed out another great year on the hardwood with a 34-21 victory over Irving College last week in the D1 finals.

Kinsley Simpson, a scoring sensation in Warren County elementary basketball, outscored the Lady Tigers on her own. She finished with 23 points, including 12 in the first quarter when Hickory Creek stormed out of the gates to take a commanding lead.

By halftime, the Lady Hawks – who held Irving College scoreless in the second quarter – were up 17-4 and all that was left to do was run out the clock and claim another championship trophy.

Unlike her excited group of Lady Hawks, Panter wasn’t in a rush to grab the trophy after the game. She knew she already had all the joy she needed from watching her team evolve all year.

“Winning the tournament is just a cherry on top to me. I absolutely love coaching this age group – I always have,” said Panter, who has also been the head girls coach at WCMS and WCHS in previous years. “There is so much joy and it’s all about learning the game and having fun. As kids get older, there’s a lot more pressure and focus on winning and losing. 

“There were games this year that we may have been ahead all game by 20 or more and I would still have kids ask me if we won at the end. Seeing kids come to a good jump stop, make a sweet bounce pass or hold a follow through after a shot – those are the things I look for and remember more than how many games we won.”

Irving College got eight-point nights from both Emma Lyle and Zara Laxson, Panter’s niece, but it wasn’t enough to get the Lady Tigers over the hump against Hickory Creek’s stout team. 

The championship was also the second-straight year Panter coached against her sister, Jasmine Evans, in the D1 finals. The pair were seen laughing together at the end as everybody embraced the fun and joy of elementary basketball.

lady Hawk scoring – Simpson 23, Willa Denning 4, LB Guthrie 4, Anaston Yates 2, Anna Templeton 1

Lady Tiger scoring – Laxson 8, Lyle 8, Taylor Jagnandon 3, Rhyleigh Webb 2