Miami Trace High School senior Cassidy Lovett will be continuing her academic and athletic career at Urbana University.
Lovett made her college choice official when she signed a letter of intent on May 9. The signing took place in the lobby of Miami Trace High School. Lovett was joined by family, including both grandmothers, friends and members of the Lady Panthers’ basketball team.
“It just came down to how it felt at the campus and the feel I got when I visited,” Lovett said. “It felt more like home with the atmosphere and everything. I just really loved the coaches.”
As a member of the Class of 2019, Lovett got to experience a rare changing of high school buildings from the original Miami Trace High School, opened in 1962 to the new MTHS.
“When we first came here, the gym felt a lot bigger,” Lovett said. “Especially running sprints. Getting to close out in the old gym and getting the start in the new gym, was definitely something to experience. It was a pretty smooth transition.”
Lovett spoke a bit about her basketball playing days at Miami Trace.
“It’s definitely been a memorable experience,” Lovett said. “Getting to experience what we did and the success we had, it’s something not many kids get to be a part of. I’m just grateful I was given a chance to do that.
“I would definitely like to thank God first,” Lovett said. “My dad, he always helped me. We were always out in the morning, shooting before a game, practicing. My mom, always running my stuff to me when I forgot it last minute to games.
“Both of my grandmas, my family, all the fans, it wouldn’t have been as fun without them,” Lovett said. “And, all the little kids who looked up to me and made the experience more memorable.”
Lovett will study education in college so she can be a teacher.
Lovett said that Brent Noes was one of her favorite teachers at Miami Trace.
“He always puts his students first,” Lovett said. “If you’re having a bad day, he makes sure you know that you can talk to him. He would talk to you about sports and he can relate a lot with you.
“Miss (Valerie) Hawvermale and Miss (Amy) Streitenberger, this year for yearbook, they definitely made it fun,” Lovett said. “Even though we don’t always see eye-to-eye.
“I’ve worked in the office for four years with Miss (Nancy) Sexton,” Lovett said. “I’m definitely going to miss her.”
Lovett talked about her coach, Ben Ackley.
“Ben brought me up freshman year on varsity,” Lovett said. “I was small, so, he took a chance on me. I’m glad that he did. He’s always pushed me to do my best. He’s never let me slack. He’s one of those coaches that are there, first as your friend and second as your coach. I’m going to miss him a lot.”
What about moving on to the next level?
“It’s definitely going to be an adjustment,” Lovett said. “I’ll have to put a lot of work in over the summer, for sure. It’s always going to be academics first and then basketball second. I’m going to try and balance them both out.”
Favorite moment with the Lady Panthers’ basketball team?
“My favorite moment would probably be (her sophomore year) the Regional final basketball game, the game we played right before state,” Lovett said. “Because, it was such a nail-biter and it came down to the final seconds. They were only down by two, I think, and, the girl went to shoot a three and I fouled her. Thankfully, she only made one. It was stressful, but it was definitely something I’ll remember.
“The support from the community was (amazing),” Lovett said. “It was an awesome experience, definitely one you’ll never forget.”
“Individually, there will never be another kid like her,” Ackley said. “When I think of her, I think of relentless effort, never tired, never had a bad practice, energy-wise; never had a bad game, energy-wise. That’s something as a coach that you can learn to count on and rely on. It’ll be a big adjustment for me next year, looking out on the floor and not seeing her.
“Effort-wise, she made everyone around her better,” Ackley said. “She brought it each and every day. She continued to grow, offensively and ended up being a nice offensive player, as well, to go along with being the secretary of defense. She’ll be someone that people around here will talk about for the next 30 years, when they came to Miami Trace they watched Cassidy Lovett play and how hard she played and how relentless she was.
“She had a great career,” Ackley said. “She was a part of three league championships, four Sectional championships, a District title, a Regional title and a trip to the Final Four. She had numerous awards for First Team, All-League, Second Team, All-District. When she looks back, the fact that she did as well as she did against our rivals. I think we only lost to McClain and Washington Court House one time each in her four years. That’s always a big deal.
“She did things on the floor the right way at all times,” Ackley said. “I can’t be happier for her. She’s a great kid and Urbana has no idea what they’re getting, but, they will real soon. As hard as she plays and the determination she plays with and the kind of kid she is, it’s going to be really hard to keep her off the floor. There will never be another one like her.”
Lovett’s younger sister, Gracie, a fourth-grader, has been a part of the team, leading the team onto the court before games, being a ball girl and being on the bench, having the different players’ numbers painted onto her face, and so forth.
“Having her be there is something I will never forget,” Lovett said. “Just having her be a part of everything I did. She definitely looks up to me. She’s told me before about me going to college. She’s really upset about it. I’m just glad that she got to experience what I did, even though she wasn’t playing.
“I’m excited to see what she’ll be when she gets older,” Lovett said. “She’s watched us since she could see, honestly. She’s worked at it. She could dribble between her legs when she was two years old. She’ll be something special and I’m excited to watch what she becomes.”