Two Eureka Hornets and two best friends compete on the court tog - WEEK.com: Peoria-area News, Weather, Sports

Two Eureka Hornets and two best friends compete on the court together one final time

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PONTIAC, Ill. (WEEK) -- -

"Two valedictorians. Two class acts," Eureka girls basketball coach, Jerry Prina, said.

Two Eureka Hornets. Two teammates. Two best friends. 

Tessa Leman and Natalie Bardwell finish their high school basketball careers together representing Eureka. Tessa leaves behind her green and white basketball jersey and, a career high scoring record, for a red white and blue United States Military Academy softball uniform so she can compete and serve her country.

"It's cool, but I really hope somebody beats my record soon," Eureka all-star, Tessa Leman, said. "I hope they have another successful season this year cause records are meant to be broken." 

Natalie will focus on her basketball career at Olivet Nazarene University. This weekend, she was given the leadership award by her teammates. An award that shows exactly type of person she is.

"Natalie is a girl that for four years has made a commitment to raising money for St. Judes," Prina said. "If not, the largest student led fundraisers in the state of Illinois, in the country. We're so proud of her and we're gonna miss her leadership on the floor. But we're really excited for her making the jump to Oliver Nazarene University and she's gonna represent Eureka well and she's gonna represent the Tigers well." 

One of the hardest parts of leaving home is leaving each other. 

"I'm gonna miss playing with Tessa the most, I think," Eureka all-star, Natalie Bardwell, said. "Just cause it's gonna be weird stepping out on the court without her. She's been by my side all these years and she's been an amazing teammate, amazing player. I think definitely just having my best friend on the court with me is what I'll miss the most." 

"Definitely I do," Leman said. "It's been a fun ride. We've been together a long time, so I'm just gonna miss sharing all the memories with her." 
 

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