Published: April 9, 2014
Peyton will miss the Patterson family. When Shelby Patterson walked off the court for the last time in her high school career at CSU-Pueblo last month, it was the end of an era.
Between Shelby and older sister Sam, for seven years someone with the last name Patterson led the Peyton girls' basketball team. Now, the Peyton program goes into "life after Patterson" mode.
"I only called Shelby her sister's name a few times," Peyton coach Tony Goodman said with a laugh. "I'm not sure if Sam was as complete of a player as Shelby, and I don't know if I've ever had a kid work harder than Shelby did.
"She was always shooting and working out and practicing. I wish I would've had them both at the same time more than that one year because we would've had a state title or two."
Sam was a senior when Shelby was a freshman during the 2010-11 season. The eldest Patterson won The Gazette Small Schools Player of the Year award that year, and now Shelby has added her name to that list.
"It's incredible," Shelby said of the award. "I worked so hard for four years, and this is the best award I've ever received. Samantha was great and I wanted to be just like her, or better, and it makes me feel accomplished to be able to do that."
Shelby averaged 18.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.4 steals and 2.7 assists this season. She led the Panthers to their second straight 2A state semifinals appearance and a 24-3 record. She also had 14 games in which she scored at least 20 points.
"She loves the game and the competition," Goodman said. "She'll be missed greatly, and not just from a playing standpoint, but also as a person. I'd take another one like her in a minute."
Big sister Sam, who is finishing her junior season as the starting power forward for Colorado-Colorado Springs, was happy for her sister.
"I'm really proud of her and it's a big accomplishment for her," Sam said. "She worked hard and earned it."
Sam also thinks the duo left a positive legacy at Peyton.
"I think we did really well, and it's going to be weird not seeing any Pattersons on the court and I hope we left a mark on our small town," she said. "I also hope we were good role models for younger girls and that they play basketball like we did."
Shelby will be playing for Otero Junior College in La Junta in the fall and hopes to play well enough to transfer to a four-year school and continue playing after two years at Otero.
After all the victories she and her teammates racked up the past four years, she says she'll miss the camaraderie the most.
"Putting on those fake tattoos and jamming out to 'It's Tricky' before every game is what I'll remember the most," Shelby said of the team's pregame ritual. "I had so much fun with those girls."