“Obstacles are put in the way to see if what we want is really worth fighting for,” an unknown author once said. Four Lady Hawk senior basketball players (Mallory Williams, Sara Warren, Presley Brown and Sophie Akin) have experienced more obstacles than the average teenage athlete has, not least of which is changing head coaches three times in a span of four years.

“When adversity arises, many people tend to shut down, but this is not the case for Larue County girls’ basketball,” says Senior Sara Warren.  “As a team, we have an unbreakable bond and the change of coaches has only brought us closer over the years.”

Warren admits, “I am not gonna lie, having three coaches within a four-year span has been a challenge. There you have three people with completely different mindsets of the game. Having a new coach come in each year, change the offense, and defense completely has been hard to adapt to, but overall our team, and especially the seniors have handled it in stride.”

Williams says, “On the court we all share a love for the game and winning.  We have a strong bond on the court because of everything we do off the court.  We have been friends since middle school and have together since middle school so our bond is a strong one.  We do a lot of things together outside of school that, I think, brings us closer on the court.”

Head Coach James Slaven understood what he was getting into when he assumed the position two years ago.  He also was very aware of the talent he had in the four Lady Hawk Seniors, and he appreciates the individuality of each. “I call these kids my daughters and having four daughters is a challenge.”

“Mallory is my kid who makes straight A’s, is successful in every pursuit and keeps me updated about her upcoming schedule and other things.  Presley is a gifted athlete and a great kid who I get along with really well.  I think that is because we share the same e warped sense of humor and sarcastic nature.  Sophie is one of my favorite kids I’ve ever coached.  She gets more out of her ability than most kids could hope for.  She is a superbly intelligent student and I love her approach to her teammates and friends.  I have told her mom before that I hope my daughter grows up to be another Sophie Akin.  Sara Warren is the enigmatic member of this quartet.  She is competitive and has a fierce side that she keeps hidden.  When the fierce Sara is on the floor, we are a much better team.”

Slaven continues by saying, “They have impacted this team and program immensely.  They push our younger kids to get better and we as coaches encourage our younger kids to do things like our seniors do.”

Slaven is glad he returned to coaching and these seniors have made it even better for him. “Personally, I have loved my return to coaching and I owe most of that to this group of seniors.  They have shown me repeatedly what a great group of people they are.  Part of that comes from how they treat each other and me but also in how they treat my family.  My son loves his Hawks and a big part of that is these seniors.”

All four seniors have developed a tight bond, but also have brought different characteristics to the team.  “The four seniors have been playing together since 4th/5th grade and because of that we’ve pretty much grown up together and have been best friends ever since,” says Brown.  “We know each other so well off the court that it helps when we play together.”

SOPHIE AKIN – Currently 24th in points (648), 9th in rebounds (659), 13th in steals (123).  “I would describe myself as a hard worker, and someone who is willing to put in whatever is needed for greater of the team.”

“Sophie is our competitor,” say Williams.  “She always pushes herself and her team.  On the court, she battles every single game and never takes a break, which is what our team really needs.”

Describe the relationship between all of you on and off the court. “When playing the same sport as somebody for 9 years, it’s inevitable to become best friends, and that definitely happened to us. I think we can have our problems sometimes because we do spend so much time together during school, after school, and on the weekends. Ultimately we are all super close on and off the court.”

PRESLEY BROWN – 5th in points (1644), 4th in rebounds (736), 5th in games played (140), 2nd in assists (406), 2nd in steals (338) and 3rd in blocks (156).  “I would describe myself as a very outgoing, outspoken person. I would definitely call myself the vocal leader on the court, Sophie is also a lot like me. We are pretty much the same person.”

“Presley is our playmaker,” says Williams.  “You can always count on her to make plays when we need them and she is not afraid to be that person for our team.”

What impact has Coach Slaven had on you and what will you remember most about being a Lady Hawk?  “These past two seasons coach Slaven has really made basketball fun for me again.  I used to think as basketball as a chore, but he really changed my opinion towards it. My favorite memories from the past years was probably the Christmas parties we had as a team, the team bonding’s, and shooting half court shots after practice with Coach Slaven and Sophie. I have learned to always be open to change and to just go with the flow.”

MALLORY WILLIAMS – 8th in points (1233), 1st in three pointers made (191), 3rd in games played (154), 4th in assists (364) and 8th in steals (187).  Williams says, “I would describe myself as the pusher.  I always push my teammates and try my best to pick us up when we are down because I am so competitive.”

Warren says, “Mallory is ambitious, independent and determined.”

What will you remember the most about this group?  “There are so many memories I have with these three girls.  From bus rides, to winning games, to our locker room before games there is nothing I will miss more than being on the court with these girls.  We have all done big things in our years at LCHS and I think we have made a huge impact on our program.  Being able to be part of that with these girls is something I will never forget.”

SARA WARREN – holds the school record for 8-3 pointers made in a single game; 10th in three pointers made (84). Warren says, “I would describe myself as sociable, adventurous, and open-minded.  I’m also competitive and a little impulsive.”

Williams adds, “Sara is the stabilizer.  She is not stressed and she is the one that gets everyone pumped up before the game, dancing and singing in the locker room.”

When asked what her most memorable basketball moment was, Warren does not hesitate.  “It was when I broke the single game record hitting 8-3 pointers against Bullitt Central a few weeks ago.”

When asked what their expectations were for the rest of the season.  Williams sums it up by saying “There is one thing all four of us agreed on at the beginning of this season: we wanted a district title and to cut down nets.  We all have high expectations of our team, and although our season has not gone as good as we hoped so far, I think we still have even more potential.  I think we can win a district title, even if others do not.  I want our younger girls to experience it, but I also want us four to go out with a bang and I definitely think we can do it.”

Follow LCHS Athletics by going to www.laruecountyhawks.com