On Monday, January 18, 2016, a dream was achieved. Sadie Nelson a senior at Windham High School scored her 1,000 point in her high school career for girls’ varsity basketball. Sadie is such a well-respected teenager, student, daughter, friend and person within the Windham community that individuals from the ages of kindergarten to grandparents packed the gym to watch and support her career record moment.
The girls’ varsity team (7-6) hosted the Auburn Eddies (11-2) where the Lady Eagles handed Auburn their second loss 47-42.
Sadie started playing basketball in third grade; her first team was through the Windham Youth Basketball Program and sponsored by Chutes Family Restaurant, a local breakfast spot. Realizing her passion for the sport of basketball while in the fifth grade, Sadie started taking it more seriously. Deciding she wanted to better herself and become a skilled ball handler while honing her defensive skill she started to join some of the Maine Elite teams that were offered for young players like herself.
When Sadie entered high school as a freshman, Coach Brody Artes was just beginning his coaching career of the Lady Eagles basketball team. Making the varsity team as a freshman player, Coach Artes worked with Sadie throughout her four years of high school. Sadie stated “Coach Artes always pushed me to be better player and motivated me to be the best that I can be. Coach has opened up so many opportunities for me and has given me a lot to remember, I couldn't be more thankful for all that he has done for me the past four years.”
Having so many memorable moments throughout her high school career of playing basketball, listing a few of those that were standouts is a challenge. One of the top moments was her sophomore year when Windham beat Thornton Academy at the buzzer and then followed it up by defeating Cheverus, which brought the Lady Eagles to the Western Maine finals. Another memorable moment and most recent was scoring her 1,000 point along with getting a huge win over Edward Little both in the same day.
Sadie’s inspirations have always been her parents, Wayne and Kimberly Nelson. “I have always wanted to prove to them that I can be great and that I can push myself to be great at anything I do. I couldn't have done it without them and I owe them everything for putting so much of their time into my athletic career,” Sadie said.
Sadie is popular with both the kids and adults with her good manners, attitude and behavior –When asked, “How does this make you feel as her parent when you are out in the community and get to witness this adoration for your daughter?” Wayne stated “Sadie’s always been pretty modest when it comes to a lot of things, so it means the world to her mother and myself to know how much she’s looked up to by the younger kids in our community, and how the parents and her peers feel about her. There are not enough words to describe this feeling. Sadie has always worked hard to achieve the goals she has set for herself. I remember in the ninth grade, Sadie made the varsity basketball team and I was at the gym waiting for her, as she walked out of the gym she passed a young girl and her mom the girl was probably fourth or fifth grade, the girl tugged on her mother’s jacket and said, ‘That’s Sadie Nelson and she’s a varsity basketball player.’ I never really talked with Sadie about it but I know she heard her, the glow that she had on her face from hearing that – that’s what makes it all worth it. Sadie has had a lot of great coaches over the years and we’ve met a lot of great parents along the way. We couldn’t be more thankful to have Sadie in our lives. She makes us proud every day and to know how the community feels about her is the greatest feeling her mother and I could ever imagine.”
Another inspiration for Sadie is the little kids in the community. Doing whatever she can do to be involved in some part of their lives. Sadie appreciates how they have cheered her on during her games, some even traveling to watch her and the Lady Eagles play away from home. Speaking with them at their practices from the Windham Youth Program up to the middle school teams is another passion for Sadie.
“Anything to see them smile when they see me, it means the world,” she said.
Sadie also plays goalkeeper for the varsity girls soccer team and this spring Sadie will be playing for the varsity softball team to wrap up her senior year at Windham before moving onto college where she will be attending the University of New England to study athletic training. Sadie will continue to play basketball for head coach Anthony Ewing at UNE, stating “I'm more than thankful to be able to continue my basketball career.”
More often than not, she would come in the gym at 6 a.m. and get 200 plus shots up before school started. She has traveled all over the east coast playing with her AAU program, competing against some of the best competition in high school girls’ basketball. She has received numerous honors from her playing days here at WHS, including First Team All-Conference player for the SMAA. She has always been in the conversation with the best high school girls’ basketball players in our conference since she was a freshman,” said Coach Artes.
“With all of the aforementioned anecdotes about her work ethic and her abilities on the court, Sadie’s most significant contribution to the Windham girls basketball program is her love and desire to work with the youth, a trait that will keep on giving for years to come. Sadie has been a great role model for young athletes throughout her four years at Windham High School. The future of the program looks up to her as a leader, as a captain, and as a stellar basketball player. She always makes time to go out of the way talk to the younger kids, giving high fives or words of encouragement, and as I mentioned before, that aspect of the person that she is will continue to be immersed in the Windham Youth Basketball program even after Sadie graduates in June,” Artes continued.
“Sadie has been the engine that has run our team for the past four years. Teams will try to shut down Sadie, preventing her from scoring, but she always seems to find a way to get her usual 12-15 points a game. Evidence of this was on Monday, as she struggled to shoot from behind the arc, but found a way to score by driving hard to the basket and leading our team to a hard earned, major heal-point victory. During Sadie’s tenure at WHS, the Lady Eagles have made the playoffs during her first three years and hoping to make it a fourth year this February. During those three years, Sadie has led us to a 5-3 playoff record, and an appearance in the Western Maine Class A Final game during her sophomore year,” he said. “She is a great kid to coach, will always give you her all, and has a passion for being a positive teammate and a positive influence on everyone around her.”