Acre leading Guy-Perkins as a junior

by Levi Gilbert

In her junior season, Gracey Acre is being asked to help lead the Guy-Perkins offense. It’s a challenge she is taking head on. Earlier this season, Acre put up a career-best 33 points in a game.

“[I’m focused on] getting stronger mentally and physically, becoming better conditioned and being a light to my teammates,” Acre said. “I strive to be better in all aspects of the game, as well as life. I am a perfectionist, and I always have that thought in my mind that I can be better. Honestly, each day I try to improve myself to be the absolute best I can be.”

Acre, a junior point guard/forward for Guy-Perkins, was selected to this year’s 501 Basketball Team — 34 players representing the best the 501 has to offer both on and off the court. The team is sponsored by First Service Bank and First Security Bank. Acre was nominated by her head coach, John Hutchcraft.

“Gracey is a leader on the court,” Hutchcraft wrote in his nomination. “Gracey is kind, positive and a great role model. She works hard and has a great work ethic. She takes her leadership role seriously, and she is encouraging to her teammates.

“I’m counting on Gracey to be a big scorer for us and to continue to lead the team.”

Guy-Perkins is 6-11 in the early going, and Acre has shouldered a larger leadership role as the team has been short-handed due to injury.

“Two of our starters were out for about five games,” Acre said. “One of them, Nikki Brown, is a senior. She is passionate about the game, and her injury was difficult. However, going through that her senior year has made her better. Throughout the rest of the season, I hope we succeed greatly after the small bumps placed in our road. Nikki and I are co-captains of the team this year, and being without her on the court was difficult.  

“Losing one starter hurts the team, and losing more than one hurts even more. I had a lot of pressure each game trying to keep things controlled and encourage my team to play hard despite the struggle we were facing. I can truthfully say that these tough times made our team better, and also made me better on a personal level.”

Acre is a believer in the strength that can come out of difficult times, both on and off the court.

“Almost a year ago, my sister’s best friend’s mother passed away,” Acre said. “It was difficult on all of us, and it’s still hard today. My sister’s friend and brother lived with us for quite a while after this, and when someone close to you endures pain, you do as well.

“We went through a lot of changes throughout this time. As time goes on, of course things get a little better, but there is always that wound that never fully heals. I am thankful for hard times for they make us who we are today, and the love of family is crucial in times like these.”

Acre and Guy-Perkins face a challenging 1A-5 North conference this year, including three-time state champion Nemo Vista and Wonderview.

Acre is a multi-sport athlete at Guy-Perkins. In the spring, she will play softball. Outside of athletics, Acre is involved in Family Career and Community Leaders of America (she’s the local chapter president), Beta Club and Future Business Leaders of America, and she serves as the junior class reporter. In the community, she’s active in the Guy Church of Christ youth group.

“I was born and raised right here in Guy,” Acre said. “I have attended Guy-Perkins since kindergarten, and this is where I will graduate. I love the feel of our small town . . . We like to say that Guy is a small town with a big heart, and If you ask me, I will agree with this statement any day.”

While just a junior, Acre already has her eye on her future after high school, and she would love for basketball to be a part of it.

“My goal is to play basketball at the next level,” she said. “I would love to play at Harding University. I have a special place in my heart for children. At the moment, I plan on majoring in psychology and hopefully later in life starting my own family. I just want to be great. No matter what path I take, I am choosing to trust God. I know that the sky is the limit, and whatever I put my mind to, I can surely do.”