Ceremony honors PHS She Bears for 1A state basketball championship

The PHS She Bears proudly show their state championship rings with head coach Scott Veal, Bear Creek Mayor Tammie Batchelor and State Representative Tracy Estes. From left are Veal, Batchelor, Mary Ashton Hyde, Amber Markham, Caitlin Martin, Lexie Dishner, Ally McCollum, Baily Bishop, Gracie Hallman, Allie Veal and Representative Estes.

BEAR CREEK - The memories of  winning the  1A state basketball championship this spring  are still burning bright in the hearts of the team members and fans of the Phillips High School She Bears.
A ceremony was held Friday,  May 17, at the Attie Fleming Complex on the Phillips school campus to honor the She Bears, Head Coach Scott Veal, assistants, Deb Cook, Julie Hallman, Brandon Clement and Jacob Feltman.
PHS Principal Al Temple welcomed everyone, recognizing special guests. Principal Temple commented, “These ladies are a representation of our community and state and we are extremely proud of them.” Temple then introduced the team members individually. They included Baily,  Bishop, senior; Lexie Dishner, senior;  Gracie Hallman, junior; Mary Ashton Hyde, junior; Amber Markham, senior; Caitlin Martin, senior; Ally McCollum, junior; and Allie Veal, sophomore.
Bear Creek Mayor Tammie Batchelor then spoke at the podium. She said, “Congratulations to these young ladies. It is an honor. I attended the  championship game.   I watched those girls come back from a deficit, with such a determination. I couldn’t help but get emotional.
“Their determination and hard work are examples of what this school is about.
“On behalf of the town of Bear Creek, I want to say congratulations. We are so proud of you. We look forward to next year, because we have so many
girls returning. Thank you so much.”
Keynote speaker for the event was State Representative Tracy Estes. Representative Estes began, “It is truly an honor to be with you today to participate in these few minutes set aside to honor this outstanding group of young women.
“I appreciate how they represented our school and our community. They did it with class. As I was driving here from Florence today, after some meeting, the word team kept coming to mind and this group of young women embodies that word.
“Many of us remember last year that we were this close,” referring to ending up as state runners-up.
“I am so proud of them and what they have accomplished. They dedicated themselves to the work and energy it took to become a true champion in every sense of the word.
That is what makes team sports so incredible. It takes time, energy, dedication
and commitment. You also learn to lean on each other that commands a trust like no other. That is why it is called a team.
“This team came together in February who had put that time, sweat, energy and hard work in to achieve this tremendous goal, with a time of celebration.
“Many of you know that I served on the Board of Education in Winfield for 15 years. I used to tell everyone that my wife and I had two children and 1,300 adopted children. On Nov. 7, of last year when I became the

representative, the Estes house  had a population explosion. I now have 7,000 children, including those I am looking at today.
“I can honestly say that I have never been prouder of my kids than I am these and you should be, too.
“I bring to you greetings from the Governor of the State of Alabama, Kay Ivey, and  bring a resolution that has been passed by the Alabama House of Representatives.

“I am going to read that for you now - Montgomery, Alabama Resolution HR10 by Representative Tracy Estes commending the Phillips High School Girls Basketball Team:
WHEREAS, highest commendations and congratulations are herein proudly presented to the Phillips High School Girls Basketball Team for claiming the title of Class 1A Champs; and
WHEREAS, through hard work, diligence, and an unwavering commitment to excellence, the Phillips High Schools Girls Basketball Team, She Bears, defeated Skyline 71-63 at the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center on Thursday, February 28, 2019; the She Bears also scored the final 11 points of the championship contest; and
WHEREAS, the members of the Phillips High School Girls Basketball Team, whose efforts are commended and praised are Seniors Lexie Dishner, Baily Bishop, Amber Markham, and Caitlin Martin; Juniors, Gracie Hallman, Ally McCollum and Mary Ashton Hyde; and Sophomore, Allie Veal; and
WHEREAS, expert guidance and leadership were provided by Head Coach Scott Veal; and Assistant Coaches, Deb Cook, Julie Hallman, Brandon Clement and Jack Feltman; and
WHEREAS, the talented and hardworking members of the Phillips High School Girls Basketball Team are one-of-a-kind athletes whose determination, heart and effort inspire countless others in their community and beyond; now therefore
BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE LEGISLATURE OF ALABAMA, That the Phillips High School Gilrs Basketball Team is honored and congratulated and this resolution is offered to the players and their coaches in highest tribute, along with our best wishes for continued success in all future endeavors.
I hereby certify that the above resolution was adopted by the House of Representatives of the State of Alabama on this the 5th day of March, 2019.

Representative Estes told those in attendance, “I was in meetings in Mobile or I would have been in Birmingham to sweat it out and enjoy the victory.
“I became the butt of a running joke before it was all said and done. I kept checking Al.com about every 90 seconds to get a running score.
“The deficit started to close and my heart started racing and my palms were sweating. I was a nervous wreck. I kept checking the score so often that my fellow representatives started asking ‘What’s the score?’ They had bought in because I was so excited.  After about the 30th person I went up to  and said, ‘That’s my girls!’, a lawmaker said to me, ‘Tracy, we know. That’s your girls!’
“These are my girls and they are your girls. I am very grateful. Congratulations She Bears.”
Representative Estes then presented the resolution to Coach Veal to a standing ovation.
Veal stepped up to the podium with a sincere look of great pride for those young ladies. He said, “Like it has been said, this is something that doesn’t happen very often. A lot of Hall of Fame coaches and players have never had a state championship. I am honored to be a part of it. This happened because of these girls. Those are who we are here to celebrate. It is not what we did,” speaking about the coaches. “It is what they did. They are who we are celebrating. Without them, we would not be here today. It was all them.
“I am thankful for this group of girls we have. The seniors are going to be greatly missed.”
As he looked back at the girls he replied with emotion, “I love you and I know that you know that. Listening to what Representative Estes said about a team that you can lean on, one you can depend on. Let that sink in and think about it every day.
“Some of these people you will never see again,” he told the young ladies. “They will go to college, get jobs, move away or whatever. Enjoy the last five days you have together. Love one another. Thank you Phillips High School and Dr. Temple for what he has brought here to this school. He brought a lot of life to the school and he has bought in.
“I encourage all the other girls and boys to get out and participate in baseball, softball, basketball, track, whatever sport. We want you to get involved.”
Representative Estes has secured the funding needed to purchase the new championship banner and team photo that will be placed in the gymnasium, as well for  the girls’ championship rings.


See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.
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