The number four symbolizes building a strong foundation.
Over the last few years, four young ladies have built a strong foundation for the Southwestern High School girls' basketball program.
Senior Kallie Sheron, juniors Regi Cundiff and Kennedy Harris, and sophomore Alexa Smiddy have played a strong role in the success of the Lady Warriors over the last few seasons, and it was the same four who had a pivotal role their team's recent 12th Region championship.
With that combined effort from the Lady Warrior quartet, they claimed the program's first-ever regional title. Southwestern is also headed to Rupp Arena for their inaugural appearance in the KHSAA Girls Sweet Sixteen Basketball Tournament.
Without these four young ladies, the trip to the 2019 state tourney could have belonged to another team in the 12th Region, but this group was not about to let that happen.
From the 2014-15 season until now, the Lady Warrior foursome have combined for 4,291 points, 761 treys and 1,744 rebounds.
According to Kennedy Harris, the Lady Warrior quartet is more of family than basketball teammates.
"We have all had so much fun all these years and we have not known any other coach other than Coach Butcher," Kennedy Harris stated. "And we all learned things by looking up to the older players like Sam (Fitzgerald) and E (Elisabeth Latham). We learned how to work hard to make the seniors have a good year, and we all developed a good work ethic in everything, including basketball."
"During our Christmas tournaments, we would have some fun after games, like going bowling or go watch a movie," Harris added. "We had a lot of team bonding outside basketball. We have spent so much time together and we have such a close connection together. We feel like more like a family than just teammates."
Sheron, a senior that has committed to play basketball at the next level at Georgetown College, has played at the varsity level since making an appearance in seven games as an eighth-grader. The Lady Warrior senior is averaging double figures this year, pouring in 10.6 points per game.
The junior tandem of Cundiff and Harris have both played some big-time varsity minutes. As juniors, Cundiff (14.9 points per game) and Harris (11.0 points per contest) are both averaging double figures. Both Cundiff and Harris are well over 1,300 career points each, and have many more games ahead of them.
For Cundiff, her oldest teammates have been lifelong friends - on and off the court,
"I played with these girls my whole life, even before we played varsity at the seventh grade level - from third grade all the way to now," Cundiff stated. "So, we really have like the family connection. This is family, we practice together every day and see each other every day. That is what got us here because we are so close."
"We have a Christmas Party every year and we do Secret Santa," Cundiff continued. "We always talk to each other during school, we text group messages, and we always in communication with each other. We always talk to each other, seeing how each other is doing or feeling."
Smiddy burst on to the scene as a seventh-grader, and she has been quite the floor general for Southwestern. Heading into the state tourney, the now sophomore tallies 6.9 points per game.
Smiddy, who is the youngest of the Lady Warrior foursome, feels she has built lifelong friendships with her three other teammates
"Most of us have played basketball since we were in kindergarten together," Smiddy explained. "We are just like a big family. We have all been close to each other. Even with Kallie leaving, I know we will stay in touch with her, especially since she is going to college in-state."
The four girls were all immediate varsity impact players as soon as they set foot on the Wigwam hardwood floor as middle schoolers. Smiddy scored 114 varsity points her seventh-grade year, and 215 points her eighth-grade year. Cundiff scored 214 varsity points and had 114 rebounds her eighth-grade year, while Harris scored 273 varsity points and hit 46 threes her eighth-grade year.
"When I first put on the Lady Warriors' uniform as a seventh-grader, I was a nervous wreck and didn't know what to expect or what to do," Harris recalled. "But it was an honor to play varsity at a young age. It made me grow up a little bit, and I learned that I had to earn my spot and my position on this team, and nothing was going to get handed to me. Coach Butcher and my teammates made me work for everything."
Win or lose, this Southwestern quartet has put Lady Warrior basketball on the map at the state level, and that is proof that a strong foundation has been set.
Follow Michael Childers on Twitter - @GetChili22