Leading by example: girls basketball celebrates senior night

Leading by example: girls basketball celebrates senior night

On Jan. 18, the Bloomington South gymnasium filled with a bittersweet mix of reflection and excitement as Panther girls basketball players Abbie Lucas and Kate Barada celebrated their high school playing career on senior night. As they prepare to say goodbye to the program that has shaped them into the players they are today, Lucas and Barada took a moment to look back on their high school basketball journey.

Both seniors began playing basketball in kindergarten, and had family members who drew them to the sport at an early age.

Lucas was inspired by a family member who played Division I basketball and had an 11-year NBA career. Her great uncle, Kent Benson, was a standout player at Indiana University where he was part of the 1976 undefeated National Champion Hoosiers team.

“I always wanted to play [at a high level]. I always wanted to play college basketball,” Lucas said.

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That aspiration has become a reality. In early November of 2023, Lucas signed her letter of intent to play college basketball at Indiana University East.

For her part, Barada was inspired to pick up a basketball by her father.

“[My father] really likes basketball and he coached my teams [growing up], so that made it fun for me,” Barada said.

Barada points to the fun that she has with her teammates as being one of the highlights of her high school basketball experience. She noted how much she loves singing in the locker room before games. The team sings the Bloomington South fight song before every game they play.

Lucas pointed specifically to the 2022-23 season as being one of her most memorable at South. The senior class that Lucas played with last season included many of her best friends who she had been playing with since she was young, including Mya Lawrence, Carlie Pedersen, and Caitlin Heim.

Seniors Abbie Lucas and Kate Barada warm up before taking on Terre Haute South (Photo: Cricket Shelton)

Both Lucas and Barada shared a similar view on what they hope their legacy will be: leading by example.

Lucas said, “[Barada and I are] not very loud or vocal, but we always try to do what we’re supposed to be doing and have everybody else just follow along.”

The reason leading by example works so well is because of the team chemistry the two have established with their teammates over the years.

“I think having good chemistry is really important for playing well in games, and I think we’ve done a pretty good job of that,” Barada said.

When asked what advice the seniors would give to younger players who are just starting their South basketball journey, Lucas asserted, “[Don’t] pay attention to everything else that’s going on [around you]. A lot of people try to show off and make you feel like you’re not doing what you should be doing.”

Barada kept it short and sweet.

“Make sure to always have fun,” she said.

The Panthers, under the guidance of veteran Head Coach Larry Winters, won their senior night contest versus Terre Haute South, 72-22.

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