HERSHEY >> Anyone who’s been around the Lady Bears this season can certainly recognize one thing: Avery Sweisfort wears her heart on her sleeve.
A feisty freshman, Sweisfort has often been first off the bench for Boyertown, a fresh set of legs and a strong piece on the defensive end.
What they may not realize, though, is what she wears on her basketball sneakers.
All season long, Sweisfort has had the No. 24 etched in Sharpie on her sneakers, honoring her senior sister Candice, who tore her ACL over the summer.
“It’s like she’s still out there playing with me,” said Sweisfort moments after the Bears’ won the PIAA Class 6A Championship Friday night. “I kind of took over her role this season coming off the bench after she got injured.”
Sweisfort’s first season with the Bears came along with her father, assistant coach Troy Sweisfort. Together, the trio of Sweisforts brought plenty to the Lady Bears.
Throughout the year, the elder, animated Sweisfort sister could be found fully engaged on the bench, rooting and pushing her teammates all the way to the state championship game. Although she couldn’t be a part of the team on the floor, she was certainly a part of the sideline festivities.
She’d stand up with her hands over her mouth when a Boyertown player blocked an opposing players’ shot. She’d be among the first to stick out her hand for a high-five as a teammate came off the floor. And she was certainly part of each celebration as the Bears plowed their way through the PIAA playoffs.
“My teammates still make me feel like I’m a part of the team,” she said. “Even though I couldn’t be out there playing with them, I’d still get excited for games. I always tried to stay in the moment.”
The older sibling is generally the one who lays the groundwork for the younger to follow.
Even amid injury, that’s still the case for the Sweisforts.
“All these girls on this team are like older sisters to me,” said Avery Sweisfort. “I’ve been playing with most of them since I was in fifth grade, not to mention my own sister, Candice. It’s going to be so hard once they all leave.”
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