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March 15, 2017

As I record this segment I am in a bit of a frump. I woke up this morning and realized that what Hornet Nation experienced Monday evening was real and not a bad nightmare.  Our beloved Lady Hornets lost a basketball game to an outstanding Harding team on Harding’s very hostile home court.  Emporia State went from a stretch in the first half to early in the second half when virtually every bounce went our way to a second half stretch when we could not buy a basket even when getting really good looks.  The Harding Lady Bison who have now won 30 games deserve the opportunity to advance to the elite 8 after their come from behind victory and I hope they win the National Championship.  Just like the football playoff – we may not have celebrated but we were pleased when the team that eliminated Emporia State – the Northwest Missouri Bearcats went on to win the national championship.  Speaking of deserving - the Lady Hornets were again, by circumstance, deprived of playing on their home Slaymaker Court in this regional tournament.  To their credit, I am not aware of any complaints about this situation from Coach Collins or his team.  I am sure that this most difficult scheduling conflict situation will be thoroughly considered one more time as the best possible outcome continues to be sought.

Do we have anything to be thankful for?  The answer to that question is an emphatic yes!!  This basketball loss would not be nearly as difficult if we had not been living the dream during the season.  The success of the Lady Hornets has built to a crescendo – an outstanding season followed by their phenomenal success in winning the MIAA tournament and then dramatic wins in Searcy before losing in the Championship game to Harding.

This team has continued and built upon the Lady Hornet Basketball tradition.  Seniors Kathryn Flott and Kelly Moten will both go down among the very elite group of players who have left a lasting and indelible legacy on this basketball program.  Their basketball prowess goes with their character off the court and their performance in the classroom distinguishes them even further.  Their classmate Megan Holloway joins Kathryn and Kelly as an essential contributor to their career program success.  What Megan may lack in star power she more than makes up in her true grit and her leadership in team defense and blue collar workmanship. These three seniors will graduate from Emporia State and move on from their college basketball experience both better for the opportunities they have been blessed with as well as leaving the program having contributed to an even richer tradition than when they started.

Coach Jory Collins and his staff continue to do an absolutely amazing job.  Jory’s teams’ success in wins and losses certainly tell an impressive story but the quality of the student athletes in the program as individuals tells the real story.  Next year Coach Collins could welcome back 10 honor role student/athletes from this year and new recruits are impressive.

Thank you coaches, players, fans and the entire Hornet Nation for another wonderful year of Lady Hornet basketball.

Finally one more thing I am especially thankful for – when we hit White Auditorium or go on the road we are loyal Hornet fans.  We come out of our conservative or liberal silos, our Donald or Hillary silos, our MSNBC or FOX News silos.  We are all together cheering for our home team and sharing with one another our hoped for success.

Let’s join together in finding more opportunities to share in pursuing the greater good and in celebration of success.

Remember it is always best to LISTEN, TO FIRST INQUIRE, TO SEEK TO UNDERSTAND.

I am Don Hill and that is something to think about.