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Lady Tiger overcomes multiple ligament tears

Ron Rickens Female Award winner

Mirror file photo Hollidaysburg’s Allison Hileman will continue her basketball career at Bloomsburg University.

Hollidaysburg senior Allison Hileman, who recently received the District 6 Dean Rossi Sportsmanship Award, has been selected as the female Ron Rickens Award winner.

The award is presented annually by the Mirror in memory of former local coach and referee Ron Rickens to someone who shows examples of sportsmanship, leadership, academic excellence and community service.

“I’m very honored,” Hileman said. “I’m glad that I was viewed as that type of person and that I have done enough to earn this.”

Hileman overcame an ACL tear before her sophomore season and a pair of meniscus tears during her senior year to lead the Hollidaysburg girls basketball team to playoff success in both seasons.

“Allison has had adversity throughout her high school playing days,” Hollidaysburg coach Deanna Jubeck said. “She’s the type of kid that worked day in and day out trying to get back on the basketball court. She had her mind made up that she was going to try and make it back for those playoff stints. When we put her back on the court, it gave our whole team motivation to try and get those victories.”

Hileman scored a game-high 16 points, including three straight 3-pointers, to help Hollidaysburg defeat Obama Academy in the District 6 Class 5A championship game in 2018 after missing the regular season due to her injury.

This past year, Hileman battled back twice and helped Hollidaysburg win its first state playoff game during her time in the program by scoring 12 points against Slippery Rock.

“She has been our glue for a couple years,” Jubeck said. “After the district game, she was able to rally the troops and more or less bring them all together and tell them we weren’t done yet.”

The outgoing senior, who will continue her basketball career at Bloomsburg University, helped the Lady Tigers even when she couldn’t be on the floor.

“She was on the court with us daily,” Jubeck said. “She scheduled her therapy around our practice time so, although she wasn’t physically on the court, she was there emotionally and vocally every day.

“The kids saw how hard she was working to get rehabbed and back to where she was going to be an asset to our team, and I think they saw a kid who had been dealt some bad luck that was fighting to get back to us. Her attitude and perseverance were higher than I have ever seen for someone battling those type of injuries.”

Hileman said the adversity has made her a better person.

“It’s taught me that there’s always going to be obstacles in life,” Hileman said. “You can face them many times, but you can always overcome them.”

Hileman, who has been an altar server at her church since third grade, was also there for fellow injured teammates.

“I just tried to go where I normally would be in practice and talk with the girls,” Hileman said. “I spent time with (junior) Taylor Smith, who was out all year injured, and spoke with her about what she was experiencing and talking her through it.”

Jubeck said Hileman’s compassion has been evident as long as she has known her.

“Allison is a great kid on and off the court,” Jubeck said. “She’s that kid who is going to be there for anybody. If you’re having a rough day, she’ll be there to cheer you up a little bit. She’ll lend a helping hand when you need it. She comes from a great family that has instilled in her that it’s not all about athletics. You have to have the academics part and the people skills to make it.”

Hileman realized a dream when she signed with Bloomsburg, something she wasn’t sure would happen after all her injuries. She said her time in the Hollidaysburg program will provide a great foundation for her next chapter.

“I think we have such a great team atmosphere,” Hileman said. “I hang out with the team outside of basketball, and we’re all very close. That’s something very special we have, and I look forward to carrying that over to Bloomsburg.”

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