Posted Date: 02/02/2024
On Friday, January 26, 2024, Celeste High School celebrated the 30th anniversary of the 1991-1992 and 1992-1993 Lady Blue Devils back-to-back state basketball championships. The state athletes, coaches, book keeper, community members, and the present varsity and JV Lady Blue Devils gathered in the high school library for a luncheon to honor the 30th year milestone. The library was decorated in Lady Blue Devil championship memorabilia which certainly led to many stories of courage, perseverance and winning spirit. Tim Cooper, the current Lady Blue Devil head basketball coach, was the leading force behind the reunion. Realizing the magnitude of not only winning state once, but twice, Cooper believed that these remarkable athletes could offer words of encouragement, inspiration and advice to his high school team. Coach Morton and team members did not disappoint with their stories of dedication to the game, mental and physical toughness and team camaraderie. “You’ve got to leave it all on the court. Push each other as a team, and know that you did your job and that you worked as hard as you could. Learn to believe in yourself and in your team, and know that these things will stay with you all your life,” stated Shalonda Enis Cook. Shalonda is a former professional basketball player who played for the Washington Mystics and Charlotte Sting of the WNBA.
Community members Bob and Reba Barnard and Blue Devil Appreciation Award recipients Sarah Swindell and Mike Lewis were also in attendance. Sarah, who also serves as the Celeste historian, spoke of her devotion to the game and she shared stories of playing basketball when girls played a type of half-court game with three forwards and three guards. She encouraged the girls to find a way to practice as she did when her father made a court out in the pasture for her and her teammates to practice. Mike Lewis is known as the ultimate Celeste fan. He is famous for his megaphone that he uses at all sporting events. Having eight children of his own that attended Celeste, he has been cheering on the Blue Devils for many years!
There was a unique vibe of excitement, respect and pride that filled the library that day! Thirty years may have come and gone, but this group of Lady Blue Devils share an unmistakable bond of solidarity, compassion and work ethic. “We practiced six days a week, and on Sunday we prayed,” stated Shalonda. Together, this team achieved back-to-back state wins playing the game they loved.
Players and coaches attending the reunion included, Coach Susan Trentham Morton, Assistant Coach Scott Green, Book Keeper Kim Rhoden, Brandi Pearson Savage, Marla McWhorter McCord, Shalonda Enis Cook, Jessica Dunn Grinstead, Abigail Olson Evans, Jamie Blackstock, Amanda Causey McGee, Shayla Compton Pope, Cheryl West Howerton, Tina Eudy McDaniel, Joey Williams Moore, Brandi Day Curry, and Marlo Lewis Paris.