Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Sports

March 2, 2013

PREP GIRLS BASKETBALL: Brittany Neeley wins mental attitude award

Eastern ace excels in classroom, too

— TERRE HAUTE — Brittany Neeley joked with teammates this week that the mental attitude award was typically reserved for a player on the losing team.

Eastern’s girls basketball team may have had fewer points on the scoreboard at the conclusion of Saturday’s Class 2A state title game, but there’s been nothing about Neeley’s time as a high school student that could be classified as “losing.”

Playing in the state finals in the third different sport of her prep career, Neeley was honored as the 2A winner of the Patricia L. Roy Mental Attitude Award following a 62-42 loss to No. 1-ranked and defending state champion Evansville Mater Dei.

“Each accomplishment we get each week seems to make it to the top of my high school career,” Neeley said. “This is such an honor. It means a lot being a student-athlete, although [Saturday] it was a little frustrating on the court. I think we’re going to leave here with no regrets, and it was a good way to end my career.”

The IHSAA allows the principal of each participating school to nominate a player for the mental attitude award, leaving Eastern’s Keith Richie in a precarious position.

Brittany’s twin sister, Bethany, has a resume just as impressive. While Bethany was nominated for the award during the Comets’ run to the state finals in cross country last fall and did not win, Richie is hoping she, the state’s reigning champion in the 1,600-meter run, will win the award during track and field season in the spring.

“[Saturday] was for Brittany. She had an exceptional year in basketball — an exceptional four years,” Richie said. “Words can hardly say how important they’ve been to the Eastern Comets. They work hard — so much harder than any girls I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been doing this for over 20 years. They’re both over 4.0 [grade-point averages] in the classroom. They succeed in the classroom, but before school you’ll see them out running, even during basketball season. Their work ethic is second to no other kid.”

Brittany is ranked second in Eastern’s current senior class with a 4.5 GPA on a four-point scale. That’s the tip of the iceberg as far as her credentials are concerned.

She’s a member of National Honor Society, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Spanish Club, Key Club and Students Against Drunk Driving.

She surpassed the 1,000-point mark for her career this year, then became the program’s all-time leading scorer coming down the stretch run of the season.

On top of her basketball achievements, she’s a three-time state finalist in track and a two-time finalist in cross country. The sisters will run track and cross country for Indiana University once their prep days are through.

“I’m just really proud of her,” Bethany said of her sister. “Most of them are sports accomplishments, but Brittany does her homework and studies hard to keep a good GPA. I wanted her to win an award for something other than sports, something academic. I think it’s really good for our school, as well.”

Saturday was especially hard on Comets coach Jeremy Dexter. He’s been open about just how much the Neeley sisters have meant to, not only his basketball program, but himself as a person.

Their commitment to their school, their teammates and their religion have helped him, in his own admission, strive to be better in all that he does.

Doing his best to fight back emotion, Dexter replied “I can’t sum that up” when asked what the Neeleys have meant to him.

“I always talk about not being able to play that movie forward,” he continued. “They’ll be a part of my family my whole life, and I’ll be part of theirs. You can only have athletes for so long as far as on the floor. They’ll be in my family forever. They mean a lot to myself, my wife and son.”

Trailing late in Saturday’s game, Dexter left the Neeley sisters in the game after wholesale substitutions to give the duo one last opportunity to leave a signature impression.

“I didn’t know if we’d get the ball back to get everybody out of the game,” Dexter said. “I looked at them like I have so many times and said, ‘You have to go get the basketball.’”

With 21 seconds to play, Bethany stepped into the passing lane and poked away a steal. She dished off to her sister as the two raced toward the basket, hoping Brittany would take the final shot.

In a characteristic show of selflessness, Brittany passed the ball back to her sister to score the lay up.

“That’s what they do,” Dexter said. “If you tell them to do it, they do it.

“It was a good way to finish.”

Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance donated a $1,000 scholarship to Eastern High School in Brittany’s name.

Roy, a former assistant commissioner with the IHSAA, oversaw the girls basketball tournament from its infancy in 1976 until retiring in 1999.

For more on this story and other local news, subscribe to The Kokomo Tribune eEdition, or our print edition

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
  • SPL - KT042314 - Prep roundup - pic Prep roundup for Wednesday, April 23 Northwestern's track and field teams swept visiting Tri-Central on Tuesday night.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPL - KT042414 - Brett Bowman column - Brett's column sig BOWMAN: Cottle has high hopes for new campaign In an era that sees superstar athletes at any sport walk around and boast how great they are, it's refreshing to see the likes of Shane Cottle. He is an open wheel racing standout who never blows his own horn and is embarrassed by the attention he receives for being considered one of the top sprint car drivers in the country.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPL - KT042214 - Prep roundup - pic Prep roundup for Tuesday, April 22 Eastern's girls tennis team beat Northfield 4-1 Monday at Greentown for its second straight win following a season-opening loss to Peru last week.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPL - KT042214 - B1 briefs - mug Sports briefs for Tuesday, April 22 The Mid-American Conference on Monday named former Kokomo Wildkat standout T.J. Weir its West Division Pitcher of the Week.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPL - KT042114 - Athlete of the week - mug Simmerman is Athlete of the Week Simmerman helped the Comets go 3-0 last week.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPL - KT042014 KT Prep Roundup - pic Prep Roundup for Sunday, April 20 Eastern's softball squad built a 5-0 lead through six innings, only to have Taylor rally for four runs before the Class 2A No. 9-ranked Comets were able to close the door for a 5-4 win Saturday in a non-conference game at Taylor. Maddie Vint put East

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPL - KT042014 Ortmann-mug Ortmann headed to Taylor When Northwestern senior Graham Ortmann learned last month that he'd been named a recipient of the Lilly Endowment, that was a major weight off his shoulders. The endowment, working with the Community Foundation of Howard County, awards full tuition

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sports briefs for Sunday, April 20 Maupin set to play hoops at Hanover WALTON -- Lewis Cass senior point guard Maci Maupin will continue her basketball career at Hanover College. She will play for Hanover coach Molly Jones, who just completed her 15th year at the Division III school l

    April 20, 2014

  • SPL - KT042014 - John Martino column - Martino column sig MARTINO: You may have company in woods Daylight has lengthened and cold winds have finally given way to warm, gentle breezes, for the most part, anyway. This is the special time of year when many of us enjoy being outdoors, a welcome escape from the four walls that almost held us hostage

    April 20, 2014 3 Photos

  • NWHS tennis 04 Prep Roundup for Saturday, April 19 Northwestern's girls tennis team got a sweep from its doubles tandems and a point from the No. 1 singles player to edge Northfield 3-2 Friday on the Northwestern courts, improving to 2-1 on the season. Emily Harshman won 6-3, 6-2 at No. 1 singles, Me

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

NCAA Men's Basketball Poll
Featured Ads
SportsKT twitter
More kokomotribune.com
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP Video
Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter New Yorkers Celebrate Cherry Blossom Blooms SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Justice Dept. Broadening Criteria for Clemency Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers 'Miss Meadows' Takes Holmes Back to Her Roots Biden: Russia Must Stop Talking, Start Acting David Moyes Out As Manchester United Manager Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet Stowaway Teen Forces Review of Airport Security
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.