Four Year Basketball Adventure

By: Courtney Vande Vorde

Ever since I started Little Hawks basketball camp in third grade, I had dreamed of the day I would get to play varsity basketball for Coach VanHekken. What I didn’t know then, I began learning my freshman year. I realized that I would take away so much more than just wins, losses, points, and games from my varsity basketball experience.

Freshman year, I was excited and anxious all at the same time when Coach VanHekken asked me to play on his team. Our record was 17-6 overall. Preparing for the next season was a main goal. We were only losing two seniors and had a lot of talent. That year, I learned from the older girls, began building relationships with them, and simply got used to varsity basketball.

My sophomore year season is the greatest high school sports season I had and it created some of my greatest high school memories. We were a very strong team and had so much going for us. A deep bench, inside-outside game, speed, experience and chemistry were some of those strengths. We went 21-2 and were undefeated in the conference. Districts, we came out and stuck it to Holland Christian, winning the championship. Coach VanHekken worked us extremely hard, we had Saturday practices, extra open gyms and shoot around times; we spent a lot of time together as a team. I was able to see all the work leading to the success. Success including, being the most successful girl’s varsity basketball team in school history.

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Junior year, we were also successful. We were unable to win conference or districts but, went 6-3 in the conference and 14-7 overall. The highlights of this season included winning the Hudsonville Christmas tournament, Ashley Overbeek scoring her 1,000th career point and then surpassing the all time scoring record. This team went through a lot together. Mr.Hoppe’s death, and other team situations made us rely on each other for strength, making us very close.IMG_0265

This season has been memorable not for the wins and losses but for the team I am blessed to be a part of. Being one of two seniors, the team is very young and we haven’t won as much as we would’ve liked but, we have gotten better together and have grown to be very close. That is what I will take away from my senior year. The memories we made together- on and off the court-truly are the most important.


Overall, each season contributed something different to me as a person. I began learning from older girls; they helped me get used to varsity basketball and pushed me to be better everyday. They set a great example, showing me how to be a leader. My sophomore season gave me all of the wonderful memories and relationships. Seeing the number 13 hanging on the banners in the gym is a feeling that you can’t describe. The numbers represent so much more than just the championships. Junior year, I grew as a person from all that happened; we all grew together. Lastly, this year has allowed me the opportunity to take on the responsibility to ensure the tradition of the program continues. Like the girls who set an example for me, I hope to do the same for the younger girls now.

My four varsity seasons helped me learn hard work, how to be self-confident, how to practice adversity, and they helped me strive to reach my potential. The experience changed me mainly due to Coach VanHekken; he always pushed me to be the best I can be, and he always stressed that we remember what truly is important. The lessons he teaches in a basketball season really aren’t just for basketball but for life. I am blessed to have been able to be a part of Hamilton Basketball and all that it represents. The experiences I had-both good and bad- have caused me to become a different, better person.

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