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High School Sports

June 26, 2014

GIRLS’ TENNIS PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Creek’s Hebble goes 20-3, wins sectional to claim honor

While senior was steady, Dragons were up-and-down

SELLERSBURG — In some ways, it was a great season for Silver Creek senior Kat Hebble. In others, it was disappointing.

However, little of the disappointment was on her shoulders.

Hebble made the individual regional championship match by going 20-2 prior to the match. She blitzed Borden’s Abby Ellis — a strong player from a strong team — 6-1, 6-0 and Princeton’s sectional-champion Emily Pedigo 6-0, 6-0 to reach the regional championship.

Those accomplishments helped make Hebble the 2014 News and Tribune girls’ Player of the Year.

“I think it was a Player of the Year-type season for her,” Silver Creek coach Robert Briscoe said.

Hebble’s season and career finally reached its end in the regional final when Bloomington South’s Denise Azcui eliminated her 6-2, 6-2. There was no shame in the loss, however. Azcui swept her way through the IHSAA State Finals and beat Greenwood’s Jade Kawamoto 6-4, 6-4 to claim the 2014 state championship.

Two of Hebble’s three losses on the season came to Azcui.

“I was already good friends with Denise and she’s an awesome person and an awesome player,” Hebble said. “I was really proud that she won [the state championship] and that she took down some of the bigger [names].”

“Losing to the state champion is not something to hang your head about,” Briscoe added. “Denise is a junior and she’s probably going to win it again next year.”

Hebble played at a Player of the Year level for four years, all four of which she was Silver Creek’s No. 1 singles player. However, the long shadow cast by Floyd Central’s Olivia Boesing — the current Louisville freshman and three-time Player of the Year winner — kept her from the honor.

Hebble was in a close contest for the award with Italian exchange student and Floyd Central junior Giorgia Rossetto. Because of a squabble between the Floyd and Creek athletic departments, the two never got to play and settle the debate.

“I would have loved to have played [Rossetto]. That rule is kind of goofy,” Hebble said. “It’s fun to play good people and spice things up. I would have loved to have seen how we matched up together.”

“It is what it is,” Briscoe said of the feud. “When it comes down to it, we can only play who’s on our schedule. All I can tell you is that we didn’t have anything to do with it. [A Hebble-Rossetto matchup] would have been one heck of a match to watch, I’ll tell you that.”

The only thing disappointing Hebble’s senior season was her team’s performance. In her first three years, Silver Creek won Mid-Southern Conference and sectional championships. In 2014, Scottsburg took the Dragons’ MSC title and Borden stole their sectional crown.

“I didn’t expect to lose either of them,” Hebble said. “Borden had a good team and came out with more heart and put everything they had into it. Same with Scottsburg. It’s never a good thing to experience.”

“She’s done everything you can ask of a player to prepare herself to win matches,” Briscoe said. “She was a good example to her teammates. Team-wise, yes, it was maybe a little disappointing the way things ended, but she has nothing to be disappointed about.”

Hebble will now take her tennis talent to Valparaiso, where she will try to help rebuild the Crusader program. Despite the lack of recent success at Valpo, she also considered IPFW and IUPUI, but she knew Valpo was where she wanted to go to school following her first visit.

“They’re rebuilding the program,” Hebble said. “I’m excited to be a part of it.”

“The sky’s the limit for her,” Briscoe said. “She’s going to be great. Valparaiso is getting a great player, and more importantly, a great person.”

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