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Hebron teams lean heavily on Skidgels

Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Hebron's senior Tyler and his sister Amber Skidgel a sophomore both lead the Lion's basketball teams in scoring this season.

Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Hebron's senior Tyler and his sister Amber Skidgel a sophomore both lead the Lion's basketball teams in scoring this season.

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Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Hebron's senior Tyler and his sister Amber Skidgel a sophomore both lead the Lion's basketball teams in scoring this season.

Tyler and Amber Skidgel are each the leading scorers for their Hebron basketball teams.

At home, there can be only one winner.

The brother and sister have been competing against each other on the family's hoop for as long as they can remember.

Tyler, a senior and older by two years, claims to have an unblemished record.

Amber chuckles at that.

"Sometimes I let her get close," Tyler said. "But then I beat her."

Even now? Even with Amber already starring for the Lions as a sophomore?

"Mmmm, she got pretty close when I played with one arm because the other one was broken," Tyler said with a cheeky grin. "But I still beat her."

"Remember that?" he said, looking at his sister.

"No."

"Yeah, you do," Tyler said, and they both grinned. "She's getting closer now though."

They give each other a hard time, but the Skidgels give their opponents an even harder time.

Amber is a dominant force, leading the team in points and rebounds per game. Her 23.3 average also ranks second in Gwinnett County.

"She's a consistent scorer," Hebron girls head coach Bryan Bartley said. "She can not only shoot, but she can score. She can drive the ball to the basket.

"Her best days are ahead of her. She's a gym rat and you can see the quality of her work by the results she's getting. We just want to continue to push her."

Amber's battles against her brother have helped her, too.

"She's always trying to beat her brother in different (stat) categories," Bartley said. "She's definitely ahead of her time because she's got a brother two years ahead who she wants to beat."

Amber said she can handle the pressure when other team focus on containing her.

"They try to (make it difficult)," Amber said. "Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't."

They aren't tougher on her than Tyler.

"No, not even close," Amber said.

Even as a freshman, Amber understood the team was going to need her to make significant contributions and she was prepared for it.

"I knew it from the beginning of last year when we only had seven players to start out with," she said. "We got one more, but I knew that was going to be my role to fill."

Tyler has had a harder time during his prep career. Not because the team didn't need him or because he wasn't ready to step up. But injuries have sidelined Tyler for several seasons.

"This is the longest he's ever gone without some kind of major injury," his coach Will Cantrell said. "I'm not talking like a pulled hamstring or jammed finger. I'm talking broken wrist, broken ankle.

"This is the longest he's ever gone and the reason is because he has no care for his own body. He just goes full out, as hard as he can go, all the time. We prayed over him before the season started, we just asked for the Lord's favor and so far, so good."

Tyler leads the team with 11.9 points per game and is second in rebounding. He's had some huge games for the Lions as a senior, including a 28-point performance.

"He's been, by far, our best offensive weapon this year," Cantrell said. "This is my third year here, so I got him when he was a sophomore and he has just grown by leaps and bounds from a basketball sense. His abilities and his confidence with things he knows he can do. And most importantly, things he knows he can't do, that he probably didn't have a very good handle on as a sophomore.

"He plays to his strengths. That's the best thing I can say about Tyler. If all of our guys would play to their strengths, we'd be a lot better."

Sitting through those injuries wasn't easy.

"I felt helpless on the sidelines," Tyler said.

It makes it tough to develop, too."The thing that makes it so hard is that the time that he would be putting into practice the last few years, he's been having to sit on the sidelines and encourage his teammates," Cantrell said. "From a personal standpoint, which is the reason all of us coach, I've learned way more about his character from the injuries he's gone through than I have through any of the games. And he's had a 28-point game this year. He's had a 26-point game. He's had some big nights.

"But I learned way more about his character through the things he had to go through than those games."

It also made Tyler appreciate things more.

And there were still his wins at home against Amber to savor.

Comments

katmook 1 year, 7 months ago

What a great story, well written and the photos are good, too. Since I know the grandmother and knew their dad when he played basketball in High School, I feel like I know these kids well. Good kids. Great athletes. Kat in Omaha

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