Court connection

Seniors who have played basketball together since they were young share a special bond

Seniors+Cece+Mitchell+%28left%29+and+Lela+Scott+%28right%29+smile+at+each+other+during+practice+on+Dec.+7.+The+girls+are+sharing+their+last+season+together+as+captains.

Grace Elder

Seniors Cece Mitchell (left) and Lela Scott (right) smile at each other during practice on Dec. 7. The girls are sharing their last season together as captains.

At the first practice for a second grade Perry Township Youth Basketball team, two girls were running their warm-up lap. Neither one would have expected that one of their future closest friends was in the same practice that day.
Seniors Cece Mitchell and Lela Scott have been playing basketball together since second grade, and the friendship that has grown during their time together is irreplaceable.
“I love playing with Lela,” Mitchell said. “Basketball isn’t my main sport, but I’ve definitely kept playing because of my friends.”
As they grew up, Scott and Mitchell were placed on the same team both in recreational and travel leagues year after year. Spending so much time together playing basketball easily led them into a stronger friendship that extended off of the court.
That relationship has inevitably made their chemistry on the court together grow as well. Coaches and teammates alike have noticed how well they play together, and that stems back to how well they’ve gotten to know each other off of the court over the years.
“We like to say that we have a mental connection,” Scott said. “We work really well together.”
After playing with one another for so long, it almost seems like Mitchell and Scott really do have a mental connection. Head girls basketball coach Adam Morelock often notices that they seem to know where the other is on the court without looking.
“They just feel where each other are on the court,” Morelock said.
Mitchell and Scott are two of the three captains on the girls team this year, which means they often get to help lead practices.
Morelock has been coaching both girls for all four years of their high school basketball careers. He’s watched them grow as friends and as players, and now he gets to watch them as captains for their final year playing together.
“They keep things light and have a good time together,” Morelock said. “The way that they joke with each other keeps practice fun.”
Since they’ve known each other for so long, Mitchell and Scott both believe that they’ve seen each other grow not only on the court but also as people.
The girls have helped each other to come out of their shells over their years of playing. In the beginning, Scott was less confident in her skills on the court. Anyone watching her play in a game could see that she was nervous to shoot and always looked to pass first. Now, she carries the ball more often and averages eight points a game.
While Scott was struggling to be confident on the court, Mitchell was much more reserved as a person. She was always on the quieter side, but now she helps lead the team.
“I remember her always being shy,” Scott said. “She’s just grown into a loud and energetic person.”
Scott isn’t completely sure if she wants to continue playing in college next year, but if she does it will most likely be at either Concordia University Chicago or Aurora University. Mitchell, on the other hand, has decided to focus on running.
This will be their last season together on the court, and Scott doesn’t even want to think about how soon it’s going to end.
“We’ve been playing forever together,” Scott said. “I don’t know basketball without Cece.”

“We’ve been playing forever together. I don’t know basketball without Cece.””

— Senior Lela Scott

According to Morelock, practices never have a dull moment because of the two of them. Mitchell and Scott have a bond that’s hard to come across, especially since they’ve known each other for so long.
Even though they won’t join each other on the court again after this season, they know their friendship will pass the test of time. And when their season ends this year with a final buzzer, there’s no promise that tears won’t be shed over the last time they’ll play together.
“I’m very sad since we’ve been playing together for so long,” Mitchell said. “It’s going to be weird that next year she’ll be playing in college without me being on the same team as her.”