BELLOWS FALLS — A Bellows Falls Union High School athlete has been named as a finalist for the Jersey Mike’s Naismith High School Basketball Courage Award.
Delaney Lockerby, a junior at Bellows Falls, was recently named as one of the top 10 candidates to receive the award.
The Jersey Mike’s Naismith High School Basketball Courage Award recognizes a high school basketball player who has consistently gone above and beyond throughout the basketball season and has demonstrated courage in their approach to their team, school, and community, according a press release.
Lockerby was nominated for the award by one of her track and field coaches, Jaime Dansereau.
“I was very surprised,” Lockerby said. “I had no idea that he nominated me, so it was really shocking, especially since I made it that far.”
Dansereau said he nominated Lockerby because of the way she carried herself after the loss of her father and the way she always tries to help her teammates.
“She has always been a positive influence on her teammates,” said Dansereau. “She’s always been a leader, but to see her come back from such a tragedy where a lot of students could have just called it quits ... Delaney didn’t do that. She took care of herself, took care of her family, but she was still very much intertwined in her community, which we’re all very thankful for.”
Lockerby’s father, Bill, was a community leader who dedicated a lot of his time to youth sports as a coach. He passed away 15 months ago and since then, Delaney has stepped up as a leader in the sports community, volunteering her time to teach young athletes and also serving as a member of the student council.
Lockerby said she learned that she was one of the top 10 finalist from her mother, Jes Lockerby, something she said was very “exciting, shocking, and surprising.”
Delaney Lockerby said she doesn’t view herself as a leader, but as more of a source of support for her teammates.
Her basketball coach, Dennis Fitzgerald, has a different perspective. He said not only is she supportive of her teammates and regularly trying to boost their confidence, he said she will help younger players if they are unfamiliar with the offense that they are trying to run.
Lockerby said that her desire to help her teammates and younger athletes comes from her father.
“My dad was always in the community and he always wanted to help everybody, so seeing him, he coached ... in the community a lot,” said Lockerby. “Seeing him do that I guess kind of transferred to me and made me want to do it.”
However, Fitzgerald said the impact she has goes beyond the basketball court.
“She is on the student council, she volunteers for different activities and is a leader both on and off the court, which not everyone is. She does so much in the school also … She makes sure her voice is heard in an appropriate ways … I like what she brings to the entire school.”
While Fitzgerald, who is in his first year as coach, did not know Bill Lockerby, he had such a strong reputation as a coach and a presence in the community that Fitzgerald was aware of all he had done. In Delaney Lockerby he saw some of the same exact attributes that had earned her father his reputation.
“She definitely tries to keep his spirit going,” Fitzgerald said. “She’s very positive all the time. I think sometimes he speaks through her. She’s carrying on his legacy and she’s kind of adopted that role. Everything that she does is taking his model … as far as the positivity and helping others, the energy that she gives, even on bad days.”
Her mother, Jes Lockerby, agreed, indicating that she sees a lot of the father shining through his daughter.
“[She has] patience and positivity,” Jes Lockerby said. “She coached the 5-6-year-olds in field hockey this past year. She, like her dad, would get down on their level and speak to them, individually, always with a word of encouragement and advice.”
The Atlanta Tipoff Club, which administers the Naismith Awards, will announce a female winner and a male winner on March 7.