Rewards come despite record

By: Cecil Conley, Sports Editor
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Dan Hicks has no idea how he could be the Pioneer Valley League Coach of the Year after his Lincoln High School girls basketball team finished 0-10. He even skipped the Zebras’ PVL finale. His absence was not his fault. The game at Colfax was postponed Thursday because of poor weather. By the Zebras played the Falcons at 1 p.m. Friday, Hicks was on his way to Florida. It seems the coach also happens to be a NASCAR fan. Hicks was among the crowd at the Daytona 500. Hicks did not even attend the meeting of PVL coaches when votes were cast for the all-league team. Without any campaigning by Hicks, junior guard Elizabeth Magana was named to the team. Seniors Desi Kawas and Mikenna Kossow were honorable-mention selections. Hicks has yet to figure out how his team was deserving of so many honors when the Zebras finished in last place. All he knows is his team is heading in the right direction. He can point to a few games to make his case. Lincoln opened the PVL season Jan. 19 with a 47-20 loss at Bear River. When the teams met again Feb. 3 in Lincoln, the Zebras gave the PVL champions all they could handle in a 34-32 loss. In both games, Lincoln trailed by at least 12 points after the first quarter. The difference in the rematch was the Zebras did not surrender and rallied to tie the score at the end of three quarters. “Our season was disappointing on paper,” Hicks said, “but I think the girls saw we were making progress.” Junior Sarah Dargan certainly noticed. “We definitely got a lot better,” she said. “It doesn’t seem like that, but we’ve definitely grown.” Dargan is also a firm believer in Hicks, who made it clear he does not accept losing in his first season. “He knows what he’s talking about,” Dargan said. It took time for the girls to become acquainted with Hicks and his straight-shooting style of coaching. “It was difficult, very difficult. It took a while to get used to him,” said Magana, who was not overjoyed after Hicks moved her to point guard. If nothing else, Hicks hopes Magana will realize her potential after being named to the All-PVL team. “I knew she was a reluctant point guard,” Hicks said, “but I think she also knew I wasn’t going to change.” One change will be coming next season. Hicks will not be buying tickets to the Daytona 500. He will not have time to make the trip because he expects the Zebras will be in the playoffs. “I’m not saying that to sound whatever,” he said. “With the kids that are coming up in the program, we’re going to be contending for the playoffs and league championships in the next few years.”