Jacksonville Daily Progress
NEW SUMMERFIELD —
One of country artist Hank Williams Jr.'s biggest hits — “Family Tradition” — peaked on the charts at No. 4 way back in 1979.
High school basketball in the small town of New Summerfield, which does not field a football team, has long been a family tradition for many families, both in the past and present day and that tradition shows no sign of peaking in any way.
Two young men, Hornet seniors Ryan Weaver and Austin Gray, who have played basketball in New Summerfield since their pre-kindergarten days, come from a long line of former Hornet and Lady Hornet players.
In fact, Weaver's sister, Ramie, is a starter on this year's Lady Hornet squad.
“My mom and several of my uncles have played basketball at New Summerfield, so growing up as a boy I always worked towards preparing for the day when I would be able to play basketball for New Summerfield,” Gray, the Hornet's point guard, said.
Weaver, who also has several relatives that have donned the blue and gold in their respective days, said that he too is also continuing a family tradition and that playing New Summerfield basketball is something that residents of the community have always taken great pride in.
“My dad played basketball here and several of my aunts did as well,” Weaver said. “Everyone has always been proud of New Summerfield basketball and when we go out on the court we are honored and humbled to be able to wear the New Summerfield uniform. It's definitely a sense of pride for us.”
Weaver said that winning basketball gives New Summerfield an added dimension of sorts.
“New Summerfield has always been know for greenhouses and plant farms,” Weaver said. “It's pretty amazing that (in recent) years our basketball teams have played at a level where people are starting to associate New Summerfield with quality basketball.”
And, as Gray explains, the family concept of New Summerfield basketball is not just limited to the Gray and Weaver households.
“We (the Hornet players) don't see ourselves as a basketball team, we see ourselves as a family first,” Gray said. “We all know each other well, we spend a lot of time at each others houses when we are not playing and we hang out and do things together a lot.
“I really think that the reason that we have been so successful is because we are a family first.”
As seniors, Gray and Weaver realize that their paying days as Hornets are becoming fewer and fewer and that they absolutely want to go out with a bang.
“The time goes be so fast,” Gray sadly said. “We don't want it to end, but we know that our time will come to an end.
“That's why we want to leave everything that we have on the floor and treat every possession like it is our last one.”