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Pickens High honors Dean at tournament

PICKENS — Melissa Dean was named the tournament honoree at the first-ever Festival of Flames Girls’ Basketball Tournament established by Pickens High School head coach Rikki Owens.

Dean was presented the honor after a breakfast held for all participating teams and prior to team play on Dec. 21 in the Peggy Harden Anthony Gymnasium by her lifetime friend and college teammate, Peggy Anthony.

Dean played basketball at Daniel High School from 1968-72 before becoming a star three-sport athlete at the University of South Carolina, playing basketball, softball and tennis. She participated in the 1973 AAU National Women’s Basketball Tournament in New York City and twice participated in the Women’s College World Series in Omaha, Neb. She was a teacher, basketball and tennis coach at Estill and South Aiken high schools for 13 years.

For 50 years, however, Dean has endured a staggering number of health issues. She has suffered torn knee cartilage; epilepsy; Wolf-Parkinson-White Syndrome; four brain surgeries; a stroke; a 30-day coma; permanent paralysis of her left side; Achilles tendon surgery; two bouts of breast cancer; kidney stone surgery; gall bladder

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