TERRE HAUTE —
Tim and Cindie Weatherford may be from Cicero, but they are very familiar with Terre Haute.
After all, their daughter Dakota played in Saturday’s Class 3A state championship at Hulman Center, just an hour before the start of their son Austin’s first-round game in the NCAA Division III championship tournament at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.
It was quite a “family shuffle” for the couple to even watch their children play in two important basketball games on the same day.
Last weekend, the family rushed between Crown Point, where Dakota’s Hamilton Heights team won the semi-state 69-58 over Benton Central in the afternoon and Terre Haute, where Austin’s Rose-Hulman team beat Hanover 64-59 for the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament championship in the evening.
But even before the 1 hour, 50 minute trip to Terre Haute on Saturday, the couple watched another son, Grant, a high school sophomore, also at Hamilton Heights, play in the boys sectional basketball game Friday at Muncie Central.
The Hamilton Huskees defeated Muncie South 73-56, with Grant scoring 10 points. That means the Weatherfords have yet another championship game to attend. The boys sectional championship versus Muncie Central was moved to Monday since the lady Huskees played Saturday at Hulman Center.
Grant, in addition to basketball, is also an all-state football player. The Weatherfords have a fourth child, Sterling, who also plays basketball, and won an eighth grade tournament this season.
“It’s been plain crazy. It has been so challenging this year, but you find ways, because you don’t want to miss their games,” Cindie said.
One organizational skill Cindie adopted is the use of a color-coded calendar.
“Each one has a different color. Austin is blue and Dakota purple, which is fitting as she will be playing basketball as a Purple Ace next season” for the University of Evansville, Cindie said.
That means the Weatherfords will be visiting Hulman Center on occasion over the next few years as Indiana State and Evansville face each other in Missouri Valley Conference games.
Dakota and Austin have been leaders for their teams. Dakota, 18, a senior guard, averaged a team-high 19.7 points and scored 22 points in the semi-state victory. Austin, 22, also a senior guard, averaged 12.5 points per game for a Rose-Hulman team that tied a school record for most wins (24) in a season. He earned All-HCAC honors this season after leading the Engineers with 95 assists and 39 steals. His career point total of 1,194 points ranks 15th in school history. He has scored 20 or more points in a game 14 times during his career.
Another milestone was Dakota and Austin each scored their 1,000th career points during the week of Jan. 7. Austin had a chance to reach the milestone first, but Rose-Hulman coach Jim Shaw pulled him from a game to allow Austin to break the barrier at a home game, Cindie said.
Austin, 22, said his parents have been to a majority of the more than 100 basketball games he’s played at Rose-Hulman. Austin said it is his mother who closely watches his game, especially free throws.
“She always tells me ‘dishes’ if I miss my free throws. I know if I miss, I can’t get off the hook,” Austin said. “If we missed free throws, we had to do dishes. That was more of a thing in high school, so now for me it is just more of a joke. Now I live in my own house and have to do my own dishes every day, free throws made or missed,” Austin chuckled.
The Weatherfords own a family business, TWeatherford Inc. (TMI), an engineering computer systems design services company that also sells 3D printers. Cindie is president and Tim is vice president.
“My parents sacrifice so much for us. They own their own company and sacrifice time from that. There are games where they have to stay an extra night, so I definitely appreciate that. That is something I hope I can pass onto my kids,” Austin said.
The Weatherfords do have a background in basketball. Tim said he played two years in high school at Anderson and Cindie played four years of basketball in high school in Alaska. Tim also coached Austin and is coaching his two other sons on an AAU basketball team. That, he said, may account for the competitive drive of the family.
“They have all been in several sports. They have the competitive gene. The interesting thing is they definitely feed off each other,” Tim said. “Dakota used to play with Austin and his tall friends when she was little. That is where she learned to get this beautiful high-arching shot. She has a natural shot that comes from competitiveness. Her being able to steal the ball and do all the things she does comes from having three brothers always taking the ball from her,” he said.
Sports, Tim said, has been an important part of their family.
“We are a true believer that if you keep them [children] busy, they will come out a lot better in the long run,” he said.
Dakota’s class 3A Hamilton Heights team (defeated / lost to) Mount Vernon (insert score here) at Hulman Center on Saturday. (End) (BUT IF win, add -) The victory becomes the first state championship in any sports for Hamilton Heights High School.
Austin’s No. 19 ranked Engineers team (defeated or loss to) No. 12 ranked Calvin College of Grand Rapids, Mich. (insert score here) (END) (BUT IF WIN, add) and gives Rose-Hulman its 25th win this year, the highest season total in program history, as they advance in NCAA Division III tournament play.
Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at 812-231-4204 or firstname.lastname@example.org.