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At the beginning of the basketball season, the Grant County Braves basketball program had three seniors on the team.
By season’s end, it was down to senior forward Josh Blackburn.
At Senior Night Feb. 17, the Braves basketball program bid farewell to Blackburn and seniors from the wrestling team and cheerleading squad before the Braves/Juggernauts game.
For Blackburn, it was a somber moment.
“It was heartbreaking,” he said. “It won’t be as bad as the final game I play. Hopefully we will have a couple more games before we get beat.”
Braves coach Jim Hicks said it was a special moment for his lone senior.
“Josh is a special person,” he said. “He has played here for four years and is going to be a success in life.”
Hicks also said that Blackburn is a hard worker and listened to his coaching and did whatever was asked of him.
As the game began and for most of the game, the Braves were able to hang with Lloyd Memorial, even without the play of Andrew Hurley, who is sidelined for the remainder of the season with a knee injury. Trevor Hunt is also nursing an ankle injury, but should be back for the district game.
“The first three or four minutes killed us,” Hicks said. “Maybe some of that was my fault by changing things up and running a zone defense, which is uncharacteristic of me.”
Blackburn said that the team can still perform without Hurley and Hunt in the rotation and the team will also move on once he graduates.
However, Blackburn said that they could have used Hunt in the Lloyd Memorial game.
“We missed Trevor on the offensive rebounding,” he said. “He is also a good shooter and that could have helped us against Lloyd.”
With the team gearing up for a postseason run, Blackburn said that Hicks reminded them of that after the game.
“He told us that we have worked too hard for this,” he said. “We need to show that hard work and win whether it’s pretty or not.”