PANTHER OF THE WEEK: Parker McCurdy

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Shooting guard Parker McCurdy (#5) attacks the rim against Burnet. Three days before what would be his first playoff game, McCurdy’s appendix was removed, forcing him to miss at least 10 days before his next appointment. (Alex Rubio Photo)

By LANCE CATCHINGS

Junior starting shooting guard Parker McCurdy was having a very successful season for the Liberty Hill varsity basketball team before last weekend’s events. The first-year basketball letterman has made his presence known on the court primarily with his outside shooting.

“This is my first year to play for the Liberty Hill varsity basketball team,” McCurdy said. “Last year we had a lot of seniors, and size-wise, they were a big team. This year we had to change a bit, because we had smaller players and were a little more scrappy. Defensively, we were excited coming into the season, because we knew we had the potential to be a pretty quick team. Our team focused on getting steals, and that helped us be effective this season.”

The Panthers recently defeated their rival Burnet Bulldogs to become District Champions, and McCurdy was enjoying the ride.

“My season was going pretty good,” he said. “We won our district, which was nice to beat a rival. At their place, Burnet had a really big student section and the gym was loud. That made it a fun game to play in. When they came over to our place, we had a pretty big student section that responded, and it was a pretty big game. It was loud and the game was competitive, and we got the best of them that day.”

McCurdy said every game, he just tried to go out and do his job and support his teammates.

“Offensively, I just try to take the shots my coaches want me to take,” he said. “I don’t want to force anything, and I try to focus on moving the ball around and getting assists. Defensively, I play up in the press or the front of the defense. My job is to get more steals and get hands up in the defense. I try to keep a high energy to help carry the team when I can. I try to be a well-rounded team player.”

McCurdy was looking forward to playing in his first basketball playoff game as a Panther, but all of that changed Friday afternoon.

“Friday, my stomach wasn’t feeling well, but I didn’t know what the problem was,” he said. “I went throughout the day at school, but the pain progressively got worse. I went to the doctor with my parents that afternoon, and they told me I had appendicitis. They wanted to get it removed immediately, so I got it taken out on Saturday.”

In true student-athlete fashion, McCurdy’s first thoughts when he heard the news were on basketball.

“At first, I thought it was good timing, because we had a few days before the playoff game,” he said. “I know my team can do it even if I can’t play. I am not sure on my recovery time to get back to the court, but I have to go back to the doctor in 10 days for a check-up.”

Having your junior year basketball season thrown off course with an unexpected surgery can be disheartening, but McCurdy is determined to look on the bright side of things.

“It’s just a bad deal, timing-wise all the way around, but I will be okay,” he said. “It will be fun to watch my teammates and cheer them on in the upcoming game. Being supportive of your teammates is a big part of the sport. Our way of basketball revolves around energy and defense. If I can be on the bench, then I will still be involved, yelling for my team and doing as much as I can. I’ll do what I can to help keep the gym loud and my teammates hyped up on defense.”

Senior Riley LaDuque will step in and replace McCurdy while he heals from his surgery. McCurdy has the utmost confidence in his teammate.

“We try to just take things one game at a time, and that’s how you reach your ultimate goal,” he said. “I am excited to watch my teammates and see how we play. Riley LaDuque replaced me in the lineup. We are good friends, and I know he can step in and be successful. He’s a good shooter, and I know he can come in and get the job done.”

Lance@LHIndependent.com

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