A cold, gray, misty evening did not hamper the spirits of more than 100 Broken Arrow coaches, athletes, and city police officers who braved the cold to raise money for Broken Arrow Special Olympics.
In the first of what will be three BA Special Olympic fundraisers within a month, the Broken Arrow Athletic Department's 4th Annual Freezin' for a Reason raised more than $5,600 - with more outside donations expected - at a chilly BA Golf and Athletic Club swimming pool on Wednesday.
"WOW, WOW, WOW!" BA Special Olympic Coach Christina Gould wrote in an email to the athletic department staff. "What a wonderful thing you all do for us. Thanks just doesn’t seem like enough."
The amount raised will go towards the purchase of track & field uniforms and warmups the athletes will wear to the Oklahoma Special Olympics State Games in Stillwater, May 15-17. The team’s annual trip to Stillwater is funded solely by fundraisers throughout the year.
The next opportunity to assist with BA Special Olympics is Sonic Night on January 30 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. East and the Kenosha and County Line Sonic location. Proceeds will benefit the Tiger Special Olympians.
A little more than a week later, on Feb. 8, BA Special Olympics will host its annual Chili Cook-off and auction at 6 p.m., at Centennial Middle School.
During this fundraising event, attendees will enjoy dinner with a variety of chili and spaghetti options. The silent auction features themed baskets, hotel stays, spa packages and restaurant packages. Live auction items include a Broken Arrow Police VIP Ride-Along for up to four people; BA Fire Department Dinner for Four at a BA Fire Station, BA Tiger State Championship Autographed Football, and a BAHS prom package. The live auction is scheduled to begin at 7:15 p.m.
On the court, Kiersten Hines is the Broken Arrow Lady Tigers most accurate long-range shooter. Off the court, however, she is the quickest to offer an assist.
“I love helping people out,” said Hines. “Everybody comes to me and says I’m the mom of the group. Seeing my teammates or anyone else be happy makes me feel good.”
From tutoring fellow Tiger athletes in math or reading to serving special needs students as a peer tutor, there is no end to Hines’ willingness to help.
“Over the summer, there was a girl, I think she was in eighth grade, she would always come to open gym, and say, ‘I want to shoot like you. I want to be like you,’” Hines shared. “I would take time out of the day to work with her on her shot, her dribbling, her confidence. I would tell her stories and she would just laugh and have a great time.
“It’s mind blowing that little kids would come up to me and say, ‘I want play just like you.’ It’s like I can’t believe I’m making an impact on these little kids. That’s crazy.”
The “impact” is not just with future Tiger basketball players.
Her coach explains.
“She doesn’t miss an open gym session,” Lady Tiger first-year coach Mike Dooney said. “She comes to everything that is extra. She does all the little stuff. She works as hard as any kid in the program, if not harder. It’s great for those other kids to be around, because it ignites a passion in them.”
Hines’ passion for the game she loves has is the driving force in building her confidence. She has worked diligently since early summer to improve her craft. She was the only Lady Tiger to make 10,000 free throws during open gym time. Though she didn’t make that many three-pointers, she shot until “my arms hurt.”
Her steadfastness has paid off. Hines is averaging a team-best 12.5 points per game and is shooting 38 percent from beyond the arc. Colleges are taking notice of the Lady Tiger sharp shooter.
“She is maybe the best in-game three-point shooter I’ve ever coached,” Dooney said. “Her shot is always on line. She either misses short or deep. She doesn’t miss left or right. That’s the sign of a really good shooter.”
And a confident one.
“It’s important for me to have confidence, so when my teammates pass me the ball, I know I will hit the shot,” Hines said. “They have confidence in me, so that means a lot to me.”
With the work Hines has put in, Dooney has faith the senior will come through when needed.
“I tell her ‘shooters shoot,’” he said. “In the big moments she doesn’t mind stepping to the free throw line and knocking down the free throws or taking the big shot.”
On the court, she wants the ball in crucial situations. Off the court, she is always ready to help those need.
“For me, I want to be the first person at everything: first person in the gym, to turn something in at school or be the first person to take someone home if they need a ride,” Hines said. “Basketball, it just correlates to life.
“You have to know where you want to go in life and keep progressing each and every day.”
Broken Arrow Tiger record-setting running back Noah Cortes was named the VYPE Magazine and Shelter Insurance winner of the Mr. Football Oklahoma Award.
The Shelter Insurance Mr. Football Oklahoma Award recognizes the outstanding athletic achievements of Noah Cortes and the high standards of athletic excellence and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, which distinguishes Cortes as Oklahoma’s best high school football player this season.
Cortes finished an historic season with the Broken Arrow Tigers by winning the Class 6AI state title over Jenks High School. The win marked the first state football title for Broken Arrow High School. Under the leadership and guidance of head coach David Alexander, Cortes set the single season rushing record for Broken Arrow and led the team to an undefeated season.
During the season, Cortes rushed for 1,958 yards and 35 touchdowns. In the title game versus Jenks High School, Cortes rushed for 120 yards and a touchdown as the Tigers defeated the Trojans, 28-20. Cortes is Broken Arrow's career rushing leader with 4,444 yards.
“Noah is a special player," said VYPE Magazine Publisher Austin Chadwick. "Tough, physical, reliable. He embodied the DNA of Broken Arrow’s team and championship run. Proud of a young man that has turned into an exceptional player and person. We wish him good luck from the crew here at VYPE Oklahoma.”
Cortes is the first Tiger football player to win the award and second BA Athlete to be recognized for a season-end VYPE/Shelter Insurance award. Toree Thompson was named Miss Basketball in 2014 after leading the Tigers to a state championship and undefeated season.
Cortes joins former Mr. Football award winners; Trey’Vonne Barre’-Jenks (2012), Kai Callins-Guthrie (2013), Mason Fine-Locust Grove (2014), Cooper Nunley-Jenks (2015), Shamari Brooks-Union (2016), Joshua Proctor-Owasso (2017).
Parents of Broken Arrow High School, Freshman Academy and middle school student-athletes may go online to complete necessary forms to assure their child is eligible to begin participation in school athletics.
The completion of such forms as the Emergency Consent Form, Concussion and Head Injury Acknowledgement Form and the Risk/Insurance/Transportation Consent Form is required before a student is eligible to participate in Broken Arrow athletics. Other online forms parents are required to complete include the OSSAA’s Eligibility and Recruiting Forms, the Social Networking Form and the Drug Testing Consent Form.
To begin completion of the forms parents will need to include their child’s first and last names and know their child’s student ID number. An electronic signature of one parent is required.
Student-athletes are also required to have a current physical on file in order to participate in Broken Arrow school-sponsored athletics.
Online completion of the required forms is more convenient for parents and will streamline the process for Broken Arrow athletic department administrators, coaches and trainers. Visit RankOneSport's website to start the online forms process.