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Rebounding on and off the court

Senior makes comeback to basketball after painful year

REBEL+REBOUND%3A+Senior+Katelyn+McClary+extends+her+arms+for+a+quick+rebound+over+Perry+Meridian+star+Sadie+Hill.+The+Lady+Rebels+won+the+game%2C+their+season+opener%2C+over+the+Falcons+60-35.
REBEL REBOUND: Senior Katelyn McClary extends her arms for a quick rebound over Perry Meridian star Sadie Hill. The Lady Rebels won the game, their season opener, over the Falcons 60-35.

REBEL REBOUND: Senior Katelyn McClary extends her arms for a quick rebound over Perry Meridian star Sadie Hill. The Lady Rebels won the game, their season opener, over the Falcons 60-35.

Photo by Dave Schrader

Photo by Dave Schrader

REBEL REBOUND: Senior Katelyn McClary extends her arms for a quick rebound over Perry Meridian star Sadie Hill. The Lady Rebels won the game, their season opener, over the Falcons 60-35.

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Nov. 23, 2016: a day that, to the majority of you reading this, means nothing. It will bear no significance, nor will you probably remember where you were or what you were doing. For one senior, this day will live in infamy.

It took a while, but senior Katelyn McClary can finally look back on that date with some peace of mind and a level of gratitude. Nov. 23, 2016, the day before Thanksgiving, was not a day that was easy to look back on though. Then, she was screaming in agony. Then, giving thanks was the last thing she had on her mind.

At 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 23, 2016, per usual to most high-school basketball start times, the Roncalli Lady Rebels were set to tip off against the Cardinal Ritter Raiders. Roncalli had made the short, 30-minute bus trip up to 30th street, just blocks away from Marian University, looking to improve upon their impressive 4-1 record.

7:30 p.m. came as expected, and the starting lineup took the court. The Lady Rebels sent out the same five they had started in the five games before, with McClary in the mix. Teammate and close friend Paige Saylor (RHS ‘17) set herself up behind center Sophie Daniel, a junior at the time, who was ready to tip off.

As the game began, the Lady Rebels started playing their game, controlling the tempo and running the floor, quickly tiring out the Cardinal Ritter starting five.

And then, it happened.

“I was on the left wing, and I was driving to the right lane line for a layup,” McClary said. ”I stopped, and I took a jump shot when my knee came out from under me.”

This one play halted a season that had been a great start for McClary. Averaging nearly nine points and seven rebounds through the first five games, she was already showing improvement from her sophomore year.

She knew as soon as it happened that her injury was serious. The final verdict reflected her initial thoughts and feelings.

“I tore my right ACL and meniscus, and [I] sprained my right MCL,” McClary said.

This devastating injury halted what was set to be a season that would result in career numbers for McClary. Not only was it set to be a career year, but was also a year of preparation before she and her fellow classmates took over the team as seniors the following winter.

All that was taken from her in one play.

One word can describe that fateful event on the night of Nov. 23, 2016: pain. There was pain in the injury itself. There was pain in the drive to the block. There was pain in the rehab.

Despite all the pain, McClary is back. Through the first six games of the season, she is averaging six points and four rebounds a game. These numbers may be down from her early junior year stats, but it’s still early in the season.

“[I am] more confident than last year,” McClary said, “but [I’m] still trying to get to where I was last year because the [rehab] process in still coming along.”

Production may be down, but there is no shortage of her leadership, both on and off the court. Still, McClary still has constant fears that she may tear her ACL again.

“It’s very common,” McClary said, “and I don’t want it to happen again. I wouldn’t even wish [that injury] upon my worst enemy.”

Despite the setback last year, McClary will continue to play basketball next year at the collegiate level for D-III school, Anderson University. As for now, she’s not looking too concerned with her college career–she just wants to play high school basketball.

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Rebounding on and off the court