Friday, March 1, 2024

Windham siblings earn triple championship wins during tournaments

By Matt Pascarella

For Windham siblings Creighty, Cooper and Kelenese Dickson, Saturday, Feb 24 and Sunday, Feb. 25 were big days. WHS Junior Creighty Dickson helped his team secure Windham basketball’s first-ever regional title when they beat Portland 43-34 at Cross Insurance Arena in Portland on Saturday, Feb. 24. Sixth grader Cooper Dickson helped his team beat Falmouth Force 54-52 in the Maine Hoops Town Team Championships at the Augusta Civic Center on Sunday, Feb. 25. Also in that tournament, fifth grader Kelenese Dickson and her team defeated Oxford Hills, 31-28.

(L to R) Windham junior Creighty Dickson, Windham fifth
grader Kelenese Dickson and Windham sixth grader Cooper
Dickson all celebrated championship wins last weekend 
after their teams won titles. Kelenese started playing
basketball after watching her brothers compete for Windham
teams and now has won another championship for her
“It was so exciting to be at the Cross Insurance Arena,” said Creighty Dickson. “I was excited and nervous as it's been a dream of mine. I love my team, it’s my second family.”

Cooper Dickson’s team had never beaten their rival Falmouth and he said going into the game that he really wanted to. He loves playing with his team; they’ve been playing together for many years, and they keep getting better.

“I was really pumped to play Oxford Hills,” said Kelenese Dickson. “We beat them two times this weekend and before this weekend we had never been able to win against them. I had so much fun with my teammates.”

All three of them began playing basketball at a young age. Creighty Dickson began playing at age 5 with youth teams, Cooper Dickson started at age 4 with Windham Youth Basketball and trained with his big brother. Kelenese started at age 6 after she saw her brothers playing and wanted to join them. They all play Amateur Athletic Union as well as travel basketball and spend a lot of time competing.

“It took us not getting in our heads, not giving up and playing our hardest until the end of the game to win,” said Cooper Dickson. “The win felt good because it was the first time beating them. I was really excited; we move onto Rhode Island this month for a regional tournament.”

According to Kelenese Dickson, it took them to push through and work as a team to win the tournament. She said it felt good for her team to be in first place. She also will play in a regional tournament in Rhode Island this month.

Creighty Dickson was injured in the second half of the regional final game but only stayed out momentarily. He wanted to get back on the court and win.

“He’s a tough kid; he’s a true basketball player,” said Windham varsity coach Chad Pulkkinen. “He lives and breathes it; his energy is contagious with our group. He wasn’t going to just step off the floor, if he can still crawl, he’s getting on that court. He’s a great kid who tries his best for his brothers.”

They’ve all stuck with the game because of their love for it. Kelenese Dickson says she loves basketball because it’s full of enjoyment. She likes being aggressive and always wants to be better than her brothers.

“What makes her an exceptional player is her ability to score at will,” said Windham fifth grade girls’ basketball coach Chris Sargent. “She has great defense and understanding of the game and game situations. She has always been the happiest girl on and off the floor. A born leader, great all-around player.”

Creighty Dickson loves the sport and has set goals for himself and wants to accomplish them.

“I love to compete, and I have so much fun,” said Cooper Dickson. “I did drills with my dad and brother and that’s always inspired me.”

According to Windham sixth grade basketball coach Steven DePaolo II, Cooper Dickson is a team asset when he plays team basketball and keeps his head in the game, and everyone plays for each other. It is how the team has been so successful.

“I feel like their time and commitment is paying off as they practice daily and really work hard to be better,” said mom Katie Dickson. “Creighty is consistent, unselfish and good at everything he does ... he paves the way for the rest of them. Cooper is super competitive, and you see that when he is playing. He plays with big emotions and a big heart but really hates losing which makes him determined. Kelenese is so strong and energetic; as the baby of the family, she often can get drowned out in the noise in our home. She has learned to develop a very loud and passionate presence to make sure everyone knows she is with us.”

For dad Craig Dickson, it’s fun to watch them develop and to love the game like he does. It’s great for him to see their extra effort paying off. They play basketball year-round; it’s a daily part of their lives. They are good students. The best part for their father is their hard work on and off the court. <

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