INDIANAPOLIS – This was supposed to be the best season of her life.
Gabby Groves and nine other Decatur Central seniors had played nearly their entire lives together and were ready for one last opportunity to compete for a state title. But everything changed for Groves when her father, Steve, was diagnosed with leukemia.
Through that adversity, Groves didn’t waver in her commitment to her team.
“Obviously, she could’ve just hung her cleats up and spent any kind of quality time at home,” said Decatur Central coach Don Ivey. “But I think she did a lot for her dad because she knows that he would want her to see it all the way out.”
One game remains for Groves and No. 9 Decatur Central, which plays in Saturday’s Class 4A state title game against No. 2 Lake Central at Purdue’s Bittinger Stadium. It’s the Hawks’ first trip to the championship game since 2000. The team and this run have been a place for refuge for Groves.
At one practice, she talked with her teammates about what’s going on.
“I talked to them about it and all the hardships I’ve had with it,” Groves said. “They’ve all been really supportive of me. They ask about him.”