Friday, June 05, 2009
By JEFF ARMSTRONG
Assistant Sports Editor
Posted: Sunday, May 31, 2009 1:17 AM EDT
Former Spalding High basketball standout Siarre Evans was honored Saturday afternoon in a ceremony at Fairmont Park that had her overcome with emotion.
In an event held in front of family, friends and well-wishers, Evans, a junior on the East Tennessee State University women's basketball team, was given two proclamations (one by the City of Griffin and one by Spalding County) and a signed basketball by the Lady Xplosion 9-under basketball travel team.
"This was overwhelming," Evans said. "The community has always had my back and they proved it today with this ceremony. It's been great."
Robby Milner, who coaches the Lady Xplosion, helped organize the event and told Evans she would get recognized for her achievements on the basketball court at ETSU this past season, including being named the 2009 Atlantic Sun Conference Women's Player of the Year. What he didn't tell her was that it was to be an elaborate ceremony.
"I wasn't expecting all this," she said.
Attending the ceremony for Evans was her head coach at ETSU, Karen Kemp, her ETSU teammate Latisha Belcher and several of her former coaches and friends, including her high school coach at Spalding, Jared Griffis, and her rec ball coach, Craig Starks.
"This was wonderful of the city and county to recognize Siarre's achievements," said Kemp, who's originally from Chatsworth, Ga. "Siarre is like a daughter to me so I didn't hesitate to drive down for this event."
Belcher, also a junior, was happy to attend the ceremony of her "partner in crime."
"We're like family," Belcher said. "If there's something special going on for Siarre, I want to be there to see it."
After the ceremony, Evans signed photos for everyone in attendance. Several of the Lady Xplosion players were glad to see Evans in person and they said they want to be like her when they grow up.
"I liked giving Siarre the basketball," said Kayla Milner, 8. "She also said do well in school."
"I want to play basketball when I grow up just like her," said Dais'ya Reid, 8.
Kayla's sister Kirah, 9, said she liked it when the girls told Siarre to "keep up the good work."
"I also felt proud to give our ball to Siarre," said A'aliyha King, 9. "I had fun today."
Evans is heading back to Johnson City, Tenn. to start a summer internship with the Boys and Girls Club there. She'll work as a camp counselor until school starts in the fall, where the Sports Management major will enter her senior year.
The goal for her senior season will remain the same as last year, she said.
"I want for our team to win the conference regular season and tournament titles and get past the first round of the NCAA Tournament," she said.