BOKCHITO – For Adree Young, Senior Night at Rock Creek High School gym was especially bittersweet. It could be the last time she takes the court as a high school athlete.
The two-sport stand-out, who has committed to play softball at Murray State College, got an honorary starting role on Friday against Coleman – where she played her first two years of high school.
The 5-6 guard for the Lady Mustangs basketball team tore her ACL on Jan. 7 when she made a “jump-stop.” The injury sat her down for the remainder of the season, and shook up Coach Clyde Young’s lineup.
It also hurt, but the pain was quickly pushed to the back of Adree’s mind. She was more concerned about her future.
“After I heard it pop, that’s the first thing that went through my mind,” she said. “I was mainly thinking about my softball and college.”
More than her skill on the court or as a shortstop on the softball diamond, her true strength – character – has shone through. She said she is disappointed that she can’t be on the court to serve as a role model for her teammates, especially her sister Arie, a freshman.
“She’s a high-character kid. Her greatest ethic is her work ethic,” said her father, Tony Young. He is also her softball coach. “I never gave her any short cuts. Being the coach’s kid, she got yelled at the loudest and the longest.”
“My favorite quote my dad always tells me is, ‘Your will exceeds your skill.’ I’ve always tried to make that hold up,” she said. “I try to be a leader, even if I am sitting down. I’m on the bench yelling, I’m supporting (my team) no matter what.”
Her basketball coach, Clyde Young (no relation), said Adree and fellow senior Devyn Johnson have been role models for the up-and-coming players.
“The first part of the year, she and Devyn were our leaders,” he said. “When she went out, I had some girls step up, and it shows the character of all these girls. But this being (Adree’s) senior year, I just feel for her. I know it’s tough for her.”
A week after Adree’s injury, Devyn Johnson went down with a knee sprain at a game in Achille. Adree hobbled over to her teammate’s side to help her through the pain and uncertainty. (Devyn has since returned to the lineup.)
“We were wishing we could be out there on the floor,” Adree said. “I talked to her about what we need to do to make sure her injury isn’t severe, and what we could do to help our team be at the highest level without us on the floor.”
Adree has been to the state softball playoffs four times between Coleman and Rock Creek – once in fast pitch and three times during spring slow pitch season. “It’s an amazing feeling,” she said of competing at state – and toppling top-ranked Leedey in her sophomore year. “There’s nothing like it. That was the best feeling in the world.”
She has also been named to the all-conference team in basketball and softball each year she has played. And most important, she has been a straight-A student the entire time.
Of course, she has future goals but is “juggling” between possible career paths including physical therapy, softball coaching and teaching English.
But first, this Monday, Adree will see a specialist in Oklahoma City for an MRI on the knee. It could determine whether she can play softball later this season or if she needs surgery and a long recovery.
“I would love to come back and play slow pitch in my senior year,” she said. “But if it’s not an option, I’ll have the surgery as soon as possible.”
“I’m just going to be supportive in whatever she decides,” Tony Young said. “I want her to be happy from here on out.”