Sunday, April 20, 2014

Covering Dallas, Monmouth, Independence, Falls City and surrounding areas since 1868

Bond goes beyond hoops for Perrydale duo

Friendship leads to better play on the court

January 08, 2014

PERRYDALE — For Perrydale juniors Hannah Mitchell and Cheyenne Locke, there's a special tradition they share after games: Spending the night at each other's houses.

While that may seem like an unorthodox tradition to some, Mitchell and Locke have been friends almost as long as they can remember.

"She's been my best friend since second grade," Mitchell said.

It was in middle school that the two began playing basketball together. Since then, the connection between the two is undeniable.

"A lot of times, you can see a bond between me and her," Locke said. "We know what each other are thinking and finish each other's sentence a lot of the time, too."

The pair's friendship is paying big dividends for the Pirates. Mitchell and Locke are Perrydale's two leading scorers, averaging 8.9 and 6.4 points per game, respectively, this season.

"We share a bond and we always joke around that we have telepathic thoughts because we throw the ball and the other one will be right there to catch it," Mitchell said.

The pair's positions also lend itself to the duo working together.

Hannah Mitchell and Cheyenne Locke average a combined 15.3 points per game to help lead Perrydale.

Photo by Lukas Eggen/Itemizer-Observer

Hannah Mitchell and Cheyenne Locke average a combined 15.3 points per game to help lead Perrydale.

"A lot of the time, the guard and post are who needs to work together the most," Locke said. "We have a really good relationship and can make plays easily."

While Mitchell and Locke work together on the court and are best friends off it, it also means they are sometimes brutally honest with each other about their play during and after games.

"(The hardest thing to deal with is) probably the honesty," Mitchell said. "I think being honest and telling each other the truth of what we could do better is probably the hardest part."

And whe-ther it's motivating each other in practice or giving advice about what they see during a game, the two trust each other enough to listen.

"When I'm out of hand, she'll tell me, and I'll tell her when she's out of hand," Locke said.

Both Mitchell and Locke will play a big role in Perrydale's success the rest of the season. The Pirates, who lost to Damascus Christian 58-17 on Friday, look to the pair, along with Sarah Nelson, to help lead the team.

"When they play well, generally we play well," Perrydale coach Luke Lindell said. "As they go, we go. They're the two leaders on the floor from a scoring standpoint."

But Perrydale, which has seen numerous leads vanish during the early part of the season, including in a three-point loss on Dec. 30 against North Douglas, is looking for Mitchell and Locke to help the team find consistency.

"I don't think both of them have necessarily played a great game on the same day," Lindell said. "When they play great games on the same day, we are very difficult to beat, so we look to them and our kids look to them from an offensive standpoint and a leadership standpoint. As leaders, they've gotten a lot stronger and had a lot more acco-untability from each one of them."

Mitchell said the team is emphasizing becoming a more physical squad, one that will be less reliant on jump shots. While the Pirates have played several state-ranked teams close, Locke said the team is close to turning the corner.

"We're progressing every day at practice," Locke said. "We're progressing every game. Our luck hasn't come to us yet. It'll come. Better to come during March than December."

While Perrydale looks to get its signature win, Mitchell and Locke are also enjoying their time playing together on the court.

"It's actually really fun to look back on and to play with her now, it's such a blast," Mitchell said. "We share a special connection."

Hot Jobs