Sisley signs to play basketball at University of Evansville

Photo by Jimmy Lafakis/The Herald
Heritage Hills senior Blake Sisley (center) prepares to read a speech on Friday evening in Lincoln City. As Sisley signed to play basketball at the University of Evansville, he was joined by sister Lauren (far left), mother Heather (left) father Matt (right) and sister Claire (far right).

By JIMMY LAFAKIS
jlafakis@dcherald.com

LINCOLN CITY — When Blake Sisley took the microphone on Friday evening, the Heritage Hills senior had one goal in mind. Sisley wanted to thank each individual who helped him achieve a basketball scholarship to the University of Evansville, and he seized the opportunity.

That gratitude will be a cornerstone of Sisley’s approach as he prepares for the next steps in his career.

“I’ll always remember it here,” Sisley said. “I’m looking to open up a new chapter and start creating one down there.”

Last season, Sisley helped the Patriots capture a Pocket Athletic Conference championship and a Class 3A sectional championship. Now, he embraces the chance to lead — both vocally and by example.

“I’m stepping into that senior role,” Sisley said. “I’m leading the younger guys and leading the whole team. I think that’s one thing I can take to UE. It’s just becoming a natural leader from the get-go.”

Heritage Hills head coach Nate Hawkins has watched the big man mature before his eyes. Sisley’s growth has left an indelible impact on his coach.

“I’ve been with that kid for all four of his four years here in high school,” Hawkins said. I’ve known him since he was a little-bitty guy. It is very emotional. I’ve watched him grow. Not only as a basketball player, but as a person.”

As Sisley’s game progressed, Hawkins helped him expand his repertoire.

“He played right away,” Hawkins said. “He started from Day One and made an impact as a freshman in the post as a big guy. As he’s grown older, we’ve started to transition his game a little bit more to where he can take you off the dribble. He can shoot it. He’s a pretty high-level 3-point shooter.”

During the summer, Sisley played for the Indy Heat of the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League. As his former teammates signed to universities such as Butler, Purdue and Ohio State earlier this week, Sisley congratulated several of them on Twitter.

“We all love the same game,” he said. “That’s basketball. It’s more than just a game, and that just goes to show you. It’s cool because you’re going to be able to look one day and say, ‘I played with that guy. I played with this guy.’ It was a good experience over the summer.”

On the court, Sisley takes his craft seriously. As he watches the senior develop his skills, Hawkins sees a rare breed coming into his own.

“You don’t find kids that are 6’9 and 220 (pounds) in high school,” he said. “Not running around here. He can shoot it and he can take you off the bounce. He’s finishing better at the rim as he’s gotten stronger. He’s just a treat to coach.”

The work is not done, however. Sisley and the Pats still want to handle some unfinished business.

“We’re just looking to repeat our sectional championship and our PAC championship,” Sisley said. “We think those goals are still reachable. It will be tough, but you want to set goals that you have to try hard for.”




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