Sisley, Hawkins, discuss All-Star selectionsJune 7, 2021
By COREY STOLZENBACH
LINCOLN CITY - Blake Sisley remembers walking into different high school gyms and seeing the framed jerseys of a school's past players who competed as Indiana All-Stars. And in the future, others will walk into the Heritage Hills Gym and see Sisley's Indiana All-Star jersey.
Sisley was one of 14 seniors to earn this distinction back when it was announced in April, and the big week has finally arrived. They are set to compete Wednesday against the Junior All-Stars in an exhibition at Brownsburg before a two-game set Friday and Saturday with the Kentucky All-Stars. The Friday game will be in Owensboro, will Saturday's game will be at Southport Fieldhouse.
"It's every kid's dream growing up and playing basketball in Indiana," said Sisley, the first Indiana All-Star in Heritage Hills history. "That's a big deal, and I'm just blessed to be able to be an All-Star and be able to experience it."
This will cap a memorable senior year he enjoyed on the basketball court. Sisley led the Patriots to their second straight sectional championship, but the accolades didn't stop there. He earned honors as part of the Supreme 15 from the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association, and the Associated Press named him Third-Team All-State.
He attributes all of these accolades to the hard work he's put in ever since he began taking basketball seriously.
"I couldn't do it without my family, my dad (Matt), my teammates that I've played with throughout the years, and my coaches, and even the community at Heritage Hills," he said.
He averaged 22.6 points per game his senior year, and his 709 career rebounds are a Heritage Hills boys record. Blake's final high school game wearing a Pats uniform ended in a 52-48 loss in the regional semifinals to Silver Creek, the eventual Class 3A state champions.
This week, though, he'll be playing with former Dragons Trey Kaufman-Renn and Kooper Jacobi, and not against them.
"Just getting to play on the same team for once, I think we're really looking forward to it, as well as all the other guys," he said. "We're just really excited to team up with other and work together instead of just being one versus the other for once."
Blake will also get one more week of playing with his high school coach, Nate Hawkins, who is an assistant on the Indiana All-Stars staff.
"What a joy it's been to coach Blake for the last four years, and to be able to have the opportunity to coach him for three more times - both Blake and myself, we're really relishing this opportunity, and looking forward to being together for this," Hawkins said. "And we're hoping we can represent the state of Indiana in a positive way."
"It's kind of cool how things worked out that he was selected the same year I was for the team," Blake said. "So, just to be able to be with him for a few more games to kind of finish up my career with him, it's going to be a fun week with him."
The two of them are also getting opportunities they didn't get last year. Blake was selected to be a Junior All-Star in 2020, and Hawkins was slated to be an assistant coach for the Indiana All-Star Team last year, but the COVID-19 outbreak took that all away.
Hawkins said in a text message to the Herald on Monday that it was a tough blow not being able to do it last year, but he's excited to have the opportunity to do it again.
"Being selected as an Indiana All-Star coach is a tremendous honor and having the opportunity to represent the state vs. Kentucky is very important to me and this group of boys," Hawkins said in his text response.
"It was really cool to make it, but not getting to experience playing was a little unfortunate," Blake said. "And so, just to work hard all year and to make it this year, I know they fought really hard to be able to play these games this year. Just to get out and actually experience it this year is really exciting and I'm looking forward to it."
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