By John Hill – Photo by: Victor Moreno

Kincade Young, a recent graduate from Heritage Academy, has been a part of many firsts since the school’s opening in 2019.

Whether it was the first dance show or first girls’ varsity basketball game, Young was there.

But as she walked across the stage on May 25, the firsts morphed into lasting memories – a last dance, a last game and a last day as a high school student.

Throughout her time at Heritage, she was a shooting guard for the girls’ varsity basketball team and team captain.

However, things weren’t always smooth sailing.

Young suffered a knee injury during her junior year, which sidelined her for the entire 2022-2023 season.

Despite being unable to play, she remained an invaluable part of the team, attending every practice and game, supporting her teammates and serving as a role model.

Her dedication peaked on senior night, when head coach Kim Miller agreed to orchestrate a special moment for Young.

Miller and the opposing team allowed Young one play at the beginning of her final game – but defense would not be involved.

Both teams were instructed to step back after Young received the ball at the opening tip-off.

Instinctively, she drove toward the basket and released the ball. The ball swished through the hoop as tears streamed down her face.

“It was an emotional thing because I knew it was my last show,” Young said. “My team made me feel wanted and made me feel I could do it.”

After spending an entire season on the bench, Young said she found a new sense of motivation.

“Before the injury, I knew basketball, but I did not know myself,” she said. “Being out injured, I learned there is a greater purpose in basketball than just playing the game.”

She hopes to empower other student-athletes to lean on their faith and find their own path. For Young, she knows there is always more to come.

As she moves into the next chapter of her life, Young is armed with a new perspective. And with each “last,” she can always find opportunities for the “firsts” that lie ahead.