Featured athlete: Cordell basketball player overcomes loss of beloved ‘Mema’

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  • Burch passes the ball over the head of a defender.
    Burch passes the ball over the head of a defender.
  • Cordell basketball player overcomes loss of beloved ‘Mema’
    Cordell basketball player overcomes loss of beloved ‘Mema’
  • TOP LEFT: Lacey Burch and her Mema, Janie Bellah, at a Oklahoma City Thunder basketball game. ABOVE: Burch goes up for two points in a recent game.
    TOP LEFT: Lacey Burch and her Mema, Janie Bellah, at a Oklahoma City Thunder basketball game. ABOVE: Burch goes up for two points in a recent game.
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Senior Lacey Burch has always been Mema’s girl, even after her Mema, grandmother Janie Bellah, passed away.

Burch has always been athletic, spending a majority of her childhood outside playing basketball.

“I’ve had three different basketball hoops and must’ve went through like a hundred basketballs. I’ve just always had a passion for it,” Lacey said.

Burch’s Mema is who inspired her to play basketball, funding the hobby and always being her No. 1 fan.

“My Mema is the reason for all of it. She always was giving me money for little league and putting me in everything Cordell put on. She paid for my MAYB summer league when I was young. I’ve been playing actual basketball games since fourth grade, but I’ve been practicing for as long as I can remember, because of her,” Lacey said.

Some of Burch’s fondest memories with her Mema are the times they would watch the Oklahoma City Thunder’s basketball team play.

“Mema loved watching the Thunder. I can remember her making me watch Steven Adams and Russel Westbrook so I could study how they played to make myself better,” Lacey said.

Burch’s heart shattered when she lost her Mema in 2018, taking away her motivation to play ball.

“I was just so angry about losing her, that I didn’t want to play anymore. I ended up taking a break for a few months.”

If it wasn’t for Burch’s group of supporters, she may have never gotten back into the game.

“My teammates and coach helped a lot, so did my mom. She was and still is my shoulder to cry on. I decided to start playing for my Mema. I know she wouldn’t want me to give up. My teammates are another reason I play, they are my rock,” Lacey said

Burch’s team, coach, and mother are also the people that stepped up to help Burch overcome her two knee injuries.

“My team picked up the slack for me when I tore my ACL and both meniscus in my sophomore year, and also when I tore my meniscus in my junior year. I probably only have like half of one of my meniscuses left on the right side. It was really hard and had an emotional and physical effect on me. I couldn’t walk for 6 weeks, and I can still feel the difference,” Lacey said.

Burch has worked hard to be optimistic, finding that growing closer to her mother, Kim Batt, is the silver lining in her tragedy.

“I miss my Mema a lot, but what gets me through is how it’s brought me and my mom together. My mom has really put her all into filling in for Mema. It’s helped me so much. She’s my rock,” Lacey said.

Burch’s parents have always been there for her, never missing a beat.

“My mom and step-dad, Tad Boone, gave me such a good childhood. Tad hasn’t missed a single game or doctor’s appointment, and even though she might not agree, me and my mom act just like each other.”

THE BURCH FILE

YEAR: Senior

PARENTS: Kim Batt and Tad Boone

BEST FRIENDS: Jade Gonzales, Madison Damon, Kamdyn Davis, and Mckenzy Isbell

JOB: United cashier

HOBBIES: Working out, coloring, making bracelets, watching Netflix, babysitting nieces & nephews, spending time with family