By Mike Deak
MENTONE – Many would know Rebekah Parker for her playing career with Tippecanoe Valley High School. One in a line of dozens of outstanding players to shape the Lady Viking program, Parker played her way to Indiana All-Star status as a senior. Before that, she helped Valley to its first-ever sectional title in 2002 as a sophomore of a program that would eventually pile up 73 wins in her four years and a trio of sectional titles.
Valley, however, couldn’t get out of the regional round, but it wouldn’t hinder what Parker had developed as a player, being the second-leading scorer in the state as a senior, averaging 18 points, seven rebounds and four assists en route to the Indiana All-Star nod.
“Being a part of the Indiana All-Stars was an experience I absolutely loved,” offered Parker. “Having the opportunity to play with the best in the state was an honor. So when I see my jersey there it brings back great memories and I was proud to represent our state and our community. Plus my kids think it’s fun to find mom’s picture on the wall.”
Parker graduated as the all-time leading scorer in program history with 1,420 points, and has since only been passed by Anne Secrest.
“I’ve never been one to think about the impact made, I truly loved playing the game and being competitive,” said Parker, who is one of nine siblings in a gigantic Parker family tree. “But thinking about being a part of the first sectional championship is something I feel like helped build a foundation of a successful program. Those memories of riding the bus back home with a parade of cars and sirens from the local fire trucks and police cars are moments I will never forget. Being able to share those times with younger players hopefully gave them motivation to want to work hard to achieve further success.”
The Division I recruit settled on the University of Evansville and immediately made an impact by being chosen to the Missouri Valley Conference All-Freshman Team. She would elevate to All-MVC status and finish her four years among the top-10 all-time in steals and rebounds and is still fourth all-time in scoring, finish with 1,480 points in her standout career with the Aces.
Choosing to stay in the game upon graduation, Parker moved to the sidelines and began coaching, serving as an assistant coach at her alma mater Evansville as well as the University of Toledo. She shifted back to the area and the high school level, catching on with Plymouth as a varsity assistant and then home to Tippecanoe Valley, where she led the JV program for two seasons.
Starting her family, Parker walked away from coaching, but the game never left her.
“I really enjoy coaching details and figuring out what makes players ‘go’,” Parker said. “It’s very rewarding to see the light bulb turn on for kids who are struggling with certain aspects of the game. Being able to work individually with players helps to break down parts of their game that need more attention and I found that to be equally as rewarding as coaching on the sideline.”
Still with the itch to stay connected to the game, Parker jumped into officiating where she could have more of a fluid availability as she started her family. It was a different approach and viewpoint, but the switch made the game more interesting to her. She’s been at it now for six years, a new way to stay on top of the game she loves.
“I think being an official has helped me learn the game even more than as a player or coach,” Parker noted. “Having the understanding of what officials responsibilities are has definitely helped my viewpoint of the game.”