Golightly

Dominique Golightly is one of five seniors in their final Chickasha basketball season.

Before the final team huddle in every Chickasha girls' home basketball game, senior Dominique Golightly always took a moment to give her biggest fan some attention.

After her name is called and she runs through the gauntlet of high fives in the student section, she comes down the far side of the court and finds her little brother, Christian. The two share a high five before its back to the team for one final pep talk.

On Saturday, they shared that moment in the CHS Activity Center for the last time.

Later on that day in the boys' regional final game, the ceiling of Chickasha's home court still bore the silver balloons that have been there throughout the playoffs.

Each balloon is a letter, and it spells out "Hatch," the nickname of fallen teammate Dontavis Ware who passed away late last spring. Chickasha seniors who knew him best played under his name, victoriously, for the final time that night.

Though they play on in area this week, the reality of leaving the home court for good began to set in for Chickasha's five senior girls and eight senior boys. 

"I told them, 'You seniors have 16 minutes to play in this gym. Let's make it as memorable as we can,'" boys' Head Coach Wes Pulliam said about Saturday's halftime talk.

The Lady Chicks will lose four starters - Golightly, Taylor Sylvester, Hanna Fergason and Tandra King - when they all graduate in May. Add senior McKenzie Stalnaker, and it's a full lineup.

"There's five seniors, four seniors start; it's the year we need the [gold] ball," Sylvester said following Friday's win against Clinton. "We need the ball."

While it may be a factor for players, girls' Head Coach Kirk Reimers said the team never really talks about seniors departing openly. Instead, he wants to keep the focus on how to win the next game.

"What we talk about is what it's going to take to win from here on out," Reimers said. "They're smart enough, they know; we don't need to throw that out in the air. Sometimes, the way you can look at it, truthfully, it's the last go around for everybody. This is the last time this combination of players are together."

For the Lady Chicks, a surprise defeat to Wetherford in regionals means the next game could truly be the last. Golightly said she thinks the situation actually benefits the players and makes them more determined.

"I think it does," she said. "Everybody's remaining positive, even after the loss…Everyone's telling each other it's one step at a time and to keep their head up. We can still make it."

It's a slightly different situation for the boys, who have yet to lose and automatically qualify for state if they win the next game. As it has been all season long, the goal is  - simply put - to win the last game.

"The kids' goal is to win the last game they play," Pulliam said. "We've got eight seniors, so it'd be nice for them to win the last game. That's been our goal all year, win the last game we play. There's only one out of 64 teams that gets to say that."

Chickasha will continue that quest on Friday at area in an 8 p.m. tipoff against Victory Christian boys in Stillwater. On Thursday, the Lady Chicks face a do-or-die against No. 2 Newcastle at 6:30 p.m., also in Stillwater.

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