Spring Hill School District

More Than A Game: Spring Hill Trio Selected For All-Conference

Paige Runion, Brooklyn Reed, Erin McMaster, Coach Austin Kidd

In an arduous season full of multiple challenges, three Spring Hill basketball players have cause to celebrate. Senior Paige Runion, senior Brooklyn Reed, and sophomore Erin McMaster have been selected for their region’s All-Conference. With COVID-19 quarantines, player injuries, and inclement weather days cancelling games left and right, these Lady Bears have managed to still shine and prove why they deserve to be selected for this elite roster of girls’ basketball. Furthermore, over the course of an afternoon with these young ladies and their coach, it became apparent that this achievement isn’t just about basketball. Though they were selected for this honor based on their prowess on the court, what it means to them goes well beyond those four quarters and the scoreboard. For Paige, Brooklyn, and Erin being a part of the Spring Hill’s Lady Bear basketball program represents more than athletics. 

“Unpredictable.” That’s how Coach Austin Kidd described this season. Quarantines usually eliminated a few players at a time. A few injuries kept teammates from playing. Opposing teams facing the same issues would have to cancel. Even mother nature, herself, interfered with game nights with the record-breaking winter weather this year. Each day brought an uncertainty, with the team never knowing if the game would go on or be cancelled. Despite these challenges, these Lady Bears rose to the top and proved why they are the best of the best. “I couldn’t have picked a better three to represent our program. This program means a lot to this community, to me, to my family, and to them. They put in the work and it has been great to see how far they have come,” said Coach Kidd. He continued his praise by saying, “They really bought into the program. It’s not just about the game. It’s about being good young people.”

Senior Paige Runion

Senior Paige Runion was surprised and excited when she learned she was selected for All-Conference since this was her first year as a starting player. Known as a player proficient in driving to the basket and making layups, she is also recognized for providing a positive role in leadership of the team. Her accomplishments off the court have been just as important this year, achieving an inspired goal she’s had since the seventh grade when she started playing basketball. “Being a part of the program is awesome because when I was younger I looked up to the older girls, and now I am one of those older girls who can help my younger teammates,” said Paige. After graduation, Paige plans to go to Baylor University in Waco with an academic scholarship and major in psychology on a pre-med track. Her career path is anesthesiology.   

Senior Brooklyn Reed

Senior Brooklyn Reed’s love of basketball began in the first grade when she played Upward ball. That dedication, as well as her skill, has only grown with each passing year. Described as a “rebounding machine” she is known for her double doubles and gaining possession of the ball. Additionally, Brooklyn’s motivation for success this year expanded far outside the walls of the gym. “I love representing Spring Hill; this is my home. I want us to be the best,” Brooklyn said. “This was our coach’s first year as head coach and I wanted it to be a good year and make him proud.” Brooklyn plans to attend SAU on a softball scholarship after graduation. She wants to go into coaching and major in sports medicine. Her goal is to one day coach college ball. 

Sophomore Erin McMaster

Sophomore Erin McMaster said she was shocked when she learned about being selected for All-conference because she is just a sophomore. Few sophomores are selected for this honor. Erin is known for her three-pointers and savvy defense. She is described as a smart player with a high basketball IQ. Just like her senior teammates though, Erin believes being a Lady Bear does not end with the sound of the buzzer. For her, this program is a family tradition. She said her inspiration came from her older sister, Claire. “I always watched my sister play and she is really good at basketball. Her team won the state championship in 2014 and I wanted to be as good as her,” said Erin. Erin looks forward to two more years on the Lady Bears’ basketball team. 

When spending time with this trio of young ladies, one can definitely notice their pride and devotion in representing their school, their team, their families, their community… their program. Coach Kidd’s explanation said it best, “This is a tradition-rich program. It’s more than about basketball. It’s about hard work, and being an example for the younger girls and the community. It’s about doing the little things right, focusing on the details. What happens on the court is just a fraction of what we try to do.” 

Paige Runion, Brooklyn Reed, and Erin McMaster have proven this by accepting the honor of being selected for All-Conference with grace and humility. They have demonstrated to the younger girls that the true measure of a player is more than points, rebounds, assists, and steals; what is done off the court is just as important. For Paige, Brooklyn, and Erin, Spring Hill Lady Bears’ basketball is more than just a game. 

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