2018 playoffs a family affair for Vickers sisters

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Sisters Carissa (#24) and Shaylin (#12) Vickers are joined by their parents, Kevin and Shyla, during Parents’ Night. This season is the first time that the Vickers sisters have played together at the high school level. (Alex Rubio Photo)

By LANCE CATCHINGS

Shaylin and Carissa Vickers have each loved basketball since they were young. This season, they got the rare opportunity to become teammates. Shaylin, a senior, is the starting guard for the 30-3 Lady Panthers, while Carissa, a junior, comes off the bench and is a defensive force. Shaylin admits she felt some pressure headed into this season.

“My expectations coming into this season were very high,” Shaylin said. “It is a lot of pressure, because it is your last of everything as a senior, but you get to spend a lot of time with your teammates and bond with each other. In the end, it is always more fun than it is stressful.”

Shaylin not only carries the mantle of being a starter on a team people expect to see in the State Final, but she also carries the title of big sister.

“It’s really nice having a sister on the team,” Shaylin said. “Being able to turn and look at the bench and see someone supporting you who you have grown up with is really encouraging. We lift each other up when we are down and have each other’s backs no matter what. Being an older sister can be tough at times. Sometimes, I would prefer to be a younger sibling to see how they do things. I have to experience things for the first time, not always sure what to expect. I try to set an example for my younger siblings, so that adds a little bit of pressure, but it’s not too bad.”

Rather than shy away from her duty, Shaylin embraces it head-on. She believes this team has the ability to make a historic run, but she is keeping things in perspective.

“We are taking this playoff experience one game at a time,” she said. “We plan to work on some things as we move forward down the road. Right now, it’s just one game as a time.”

While there is pressure to perform on the court, there is also some pressure to perform as an older sibling.

“There is definitely more responsibility being the oldest, but it’s a good responsibility to have,” Shaylin said. “You want to be a good role model, so they don’t make the same mistakes that you do.

Shaylin loves representing the Lady Panthers on the court, and having her sister with her as a teammate has made her senior season the highlight of her Liberty Hill career.

“It is exciting to go out and wear Liberty Hill on my jersey,” Shaylin said. “I have gone to school here my entire life, and now I am a senior representing Liberty Hill, so it’s really exciting. Liberty Hill is a great school with a great environment. Having my sister along for the ride is just another amazing aspect. I get to have my best friend with me through it all, which is exciting.”

Carissa Vickers has always supported her older sister. Last season, after her junior varsity season ended, she served as team manager for the Lady Panthers during the playoffs. She said the experience only made her and her sister closer.

“Last season, I wanted to travel with the team to Regionals and State, so I managed for them during the playoffs,” Carissa said. “It was a nice experience last season. I got to eat with them and stay in the same hotels and support them from the bench.”

This season, the younger Vickers found herself in a new role, as a teammate to her older sister for the first time in their high school careers.

“One of my goals growing up was to get to play with my sister in high school,” Carissa said. “Just to be on the same team with her feels so good. It’s pretty great, because I have even more friends on the team this year, and I have gotten to bond with them. Being with my sister has brought even more excitement. The fact that we get to go through this playoff journey together as teammates is an awesome experience.”

Carissa thanks her sister for the example that she has set and hopes to follow in her footsteps.

“It is definitely hard to follow in her footsteps as the younger sister,” Carissa said. “She has worked so hard to get where she is, and I have to fill her footsteps and try to fill that role next year. She will leave big shoes to fill.”

Shaylin’s hard work and dedication to her sport and teammates creates drive in her younger sister. There are plenty of things she will miss after Shaylin graduates, but she is enjoying all she can now.

“She definitely motivates me to try harder and she pushes me,” Carissa said. “We usually get along pretty well, but as sisters, we occasionally fight over clothes or small things. We sometimes ride to school together and get breakfast, and those are things I really enjoy and will miss next year. It will be hard without her at home next year. She is my best friend and I don’t know what I’ll do without her. I’m not ready to let her go yet, and thankfully, we still have some time this year.”

Carissa believes that her older sister has made her a better worker by example.

“The biggest thing my older sister has taught me is to keep working hard and never give up,” Carissa said. “She encourages me to never get down on myself and motivates me to work my hardest.”

The Vickers sisters will share the court again on Friday against Mexia after winning their first-round playoff matchup against Giddings on Monday.

Lance@LHIndependent.com

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