SportsAthlete of the Week


Athlete of the Week: Crowley County’s Gunner Hughes

Gunner Hughes
Gunner Hughes
Gunner Hughes
Posted at 3:10 PM, Mar 01, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-01 20:46:20-05

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The Crowley County Chargers are having a dominant season over the other teams in the Southeastern plains. With an overall record of 21-0 and 11-0 in their league, the Chargers are currently ranked third in the state for the 2A men's basketball classification.

News5’s Athlete of the Week is playing for more than just his team.

For most athletes when they step on the court, the goal is simple, to win. But, the Crowley County men’s basketball team is playing for a lot more than the score on the board.

Gunner Hughes is a junior at Crowley County High School and the captain of the school's men’s basketball team. Hughes's best friend and former teammate, Blevyns Brown, passed away in October.

“We lost someone on our team, a close friend of ours. Every time we step on the court it is for him. He played every sport, he was a three-sport athlete, so for him to go hurts us, he was just that much better of a friend,” Hughes said.

Hughes's mom told News5 the boys were more than teammates, they were like brothers. She said at the beginning of every game, Hughes and Brown would jump as high as they could, and lock arms in the air. It is a memory Hughes brings with him each time he steps onto the wood floor.

“So we want to do everything for him so this year we are dedicating it to him,” Hughes said.

Hughes has played basketball with most of his teammates since first grade and his dad, Kyle Hughes, has coached many of the players since third grade.

When Gunner’s name is announced before the game, he shares unique handshakes with many of his teammates.

“I'm just so proud of him,” Kyle Hughes said.

Kyle Hughes has been the head coach of Crowley County for five years. He was an assistant coach for two years before taking over the head position. He said it's interesting to coach his own son.

“It's a challenge for me, but it's been fun. He loves to play this game, he is a good kid, so it has been easy to coach,” Kyle Hughes said.

The Chargers are having a strong season. The team is undefeated so far and they are beating their opponents typically by a hefty margin. One of the teams just down the road from Crowley County is Swink. It is a gym Coach Hughes knows all too well.

“I went to school at Swink so you know, there's that itch. You don't want to lose against the team you played for,” Kyle Hughes said.

Coach Hughes's two jerseys still hanging outside the Swink gym. But inside, his son Gunner is bringing it to the competition. Gunner shot 100% from the free throw line against Swink during their game in January, which the Charges won by 23 points.

As a junior, Gunner has already secured more than 1,000 career points, averaging 21 points a game. He is currently ranked third in the 2A men's basketball state rankings for points per game. Gunner said he could not do it without his teammates.

“We have had success but to keep humble and to see the boys keep coming to practice every day and giving everything they got is pretty fun to see,” Kyle Hughes said.

Success is not unfamiliar to Crowley County. The Chargers won their division last season and now the team is looking to cut down the net yet again.

“There is probably going to be someone who challenges (us) more and we are going to have to rise to that occasion,” Kyle Hughes said.

The team hopes to make it back to the state floor for the second year in a row, not only in honor of their school but for Brown.

The Crowley County Chargers have a playoff game on Friday night against Addenbrooke Classical Academy. Tip-off is at 5:30 p.m.

Gunner’s younger brother will play on the team next year joining him and his dad. Gunner said he plans on playing basketball in college after he graduates.


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