LAFAYETTE — Almost fittingly, Lyndie Puckett earned her badge of honor as part of the Centaurus basketball program at an early age.
Fighting to get off a shot was a rite of passage that occurred in the Puckett household not long after each child learned to walk. As one of 10 children in a basketball-mad family, Lyndie and her younger brother Trey grabbed their court time whenever they could.
So, when Lyndie was in sixth grade and the family had just watched older brother Corey play for the Warriors, Lyndie and Trey hit the Centaurus court for a little one-on-one. Naturally, Lyndie’s souvenir from the evening’s festivities was a broken finger courtesy of her brother.
Such is life in the Puckett clan. The family name has been a staple with Centaurus basketball for more than a decade and could remain so for another decade to come.
“I’ve been playing for as long as I can remember,” Lyndie Puckett said. “My older siblings really got me involved. Watching it and being around it all the time really gets you into it.”
Just within their family, the Pucketts could have filled an entire Centaurus roster had they somehow been able to play high school ball at the same time.
Two of the three oldest girls, Christie and Riley, played for the Warriors, as did the oldest boy Brendan, who currently competes professionally for the Aurora-based Colorado Kings of the American Basketball Association. Corey Puckett, a 2008 graduate of Centaurus, is a senior on the basketball team at Johnson and Wales.
And the legacy appears as if it is far from over. After Lyndie, a senior this season for the Warriors’ girls team, and Trey, a junior who is the starting point guard for the boys team, there still are more Pucketts making their way up the pipeline.
Ryne Puckett is a freshman in the Warriors’ program, and younger brother Torey, a sixth-grader, is competing for Centaurus’ youth program. The youngest sibling is 9-year old Aaron, who almost surely will be donning a Warriors uniform when his time comes.
Family patriarch Steve Puckett crunched the numbers and figured out that the family has had at least one member competing for Centaurus every season since 1999. That streak doesn’t look as if it will end any time soon.
“Brendan is probably the first one who played at the youngest age, but Christie is the one who kind of got it started,” Steve Puckett said. “Brendan has a lot of games on Saturday night or Sunday afternoon, so I get to see a lot of those. Corey, with his schedule he travels a lot, so that’s a little harder. And basically with the way the (Centaurus) boys and girls split with one home, one away, I usually have to hit the home games because I wind up having to pick up Torey or Aaron to get them home.”
With Brandon playing professionally and Corey completing his collegiate career, a high standard has been set within the Puckett family. Yet it’s a legacy the current crop of Warriors use for motivation.
“The bar definitely has been set high,” Trey Puckett said. “It’s a little bit of pressure to live up to. We’re such a big family, and basketball is what we’re known for. But it makes me work hard. I try to remember my brothers and sisters that came before me, and I try to live up to what they’ve done.”
Centaurus girls coach Jeff Jackson, who has been at the school for 14 years, fondly recalls watching one Puckett after another file into the gym for their older siblings’ games, each one toting either a blanket or a basketball, often both. Jackson is lamenting that Lyndie, one of the leading scorers for the 14-6 Warriors, is the last girl in line.
“It’s been great to see them grow up, and they’ve been great supporters of Centaurus,” Jackson said. “(Lyndie) is one of those leaders by example. Great shooter. She’s just a good floor leader. I wish we had a few more Pucketts coming through on the female side.”
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