Former Peaster coach and Poolville resident Denise Yankie was recently honored by the University Interscholastic League at the Girls State Tournament for her 513 career coaching victories.
But Yankie still remembers what it’s like to be a basketball player – because she still is one, and a good one at that.
Yankie and five friends recently won the gold medal for their age division (Women 55-59) at the Texas Senior Games in San Antonio. They defeated teams from Shreveport, California, San Antonio and New Orleans.
This qualified their team, the Pink Warriors, for the National Senior Games in Birmingham, Alabama in June of 2017.
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"This is a great way to keep moving, enjoy the sports you love and enjoy the competition," said Yankie. "We keep telling ourselves that we are not going to be so competitive, no diving for the balls anymore, that we are just going to play and have a good time.
The team adopted the name Pink Warriors for a cause.
"Breast cancer has effected just about all of us personally with either ourselves or family and of course, definitely with our friends," said Yankie.
The six team members are connected with either high school or college basketball. Along with Yankie, there are Karen Heintz (College Station), Doris Dennnard (Decatur), Amy Klepac (Brenham), Tammy Gilbert (North Zulch), and Terry Bonno (Houston)
Doris, Denise, and Terry all played together at Stephen F. Austin. Karen and Amy played high school basketball at Conroe, with Karen going on to play basketball and softball at Baylor, and Tammy played basketball at Sam Houston State.
"We knew of each other, having played against and with each other in college," said Yankie.
"Four of us started playing together in 2012-13 as the ‘Put Togethers.’ We played in Cleveland, Ohio in the 2013 senior National Games and placed fifth out of 21 teams in our age division."
The senior games offer individual sports for men and women in five-year age division increments, beginning with 50 and ending with 100-plus. All team sports are offered separately for men and women in age divisions from 50-plus to 80-plus.
"Matter of fact, in the 2013 games, Pat Boone stayed in our hotel and was there playing in the men’s 3-on-3 basketball 75-79 division," said Yankie.
"We all play for the love of the game – back in the day and now."