|By Shayne Combs,
Obviously any situation that involves a senior - especially a senior that many consider the best player in
the league - missing the remainder of her final season is never going to be viewed as good news. With that
said, considering the immediate feedback from Piketon on Alex Southworthâ€™s injury this past
Tuesday night, the most recent update from Thursdayâ€™s trip to the doctor would have to be looked at
as a more positive outcome.
The injury happened early in the second quarter of Piketonâ€™s game with Zane Trace as one second
Southworth was rising for a jumper and the next she was on the ground in pain. The original thought from
the sound, the look of the knee, and the overall pain was that the ACL and perhaps the MCL were both
damaged in some way. Further testing within the next 24 hours showed that they both were okay, but the
meniscus had been damaged.
On Thursday, Southworth was able to get in for surgery and the feedback from the doctor was that the
procedure was a success. A recovery timeline for these things is a really hard thing to determine this early
in the process. The early guesses range anywhere from four to eight weeks.
It is my understanding that the optimistic attitude of Southworth is saying it will be sooner rather than later,
but in talking to Piketon head coach Brett Coreno Thursday night, he understands the importance of using
the error on the side of caution approach.
â€œObviously we want Alex back as soon as possible, but her health and her future are the far more
important things to think about in this situation,â€� Coreno said to me in our phone conversation
Thursday evening. â€œI would never want to rob her of the chance to play come tournament time if her
doctor and family decide that she is okay to go, but I would still have to be really confident in my own
mind that she was ready to play. I just feel she has way too much on the line to risk rushing back from
such a serious injury.â€�
From a basketball standpoint, the Lady Redstreaks lose a really unique talent. At 6â€™1â€�,
Southworth is a point-guard that is a triple-double just waiting to happen on any given night. She can
score, but she is so unselfish with the ball that most stat lines for her usually involve big numbers in several
different categories. To this point in the season, Southworth was a top three scorer in the league while
leading the conference with nine rebounds and seven assists per contest. She had already recorded one
triple-double and flirted with a few others.
This loss obviously hurts Piketon, but I would not completely forget about this squad. This young roster
has some ability and they are going to play really hard. Sophomore K.K. Jenkins is one of the leagueâ
€™s elite talents. Jenkins, who averages 12 points and seven rebounds, posted 19 points and 13
rebounds in Piketonâ€™s first game without their star â€“ a game that resulted in a blowout win over
Northwest for the Lady Redstreaks.
Coach Coreno also has other players he will look to for more production. Elisha Manley is a player who
brings a lot of energy to the floor. At only 5â€™4â€� Manley averages just fewer than nine rebounds
per game. Sophomore Aleah Pelphrey is also a player who is capable of picking up some of the scoring
load. Piketon has even started to get solid contributions from a few freshmen as Ashley Lawhorn has
proven to be one of the better three-point shooters in the league, and Katie Ward had 13 rebounds
Wednesday night in the win over Northwest.
It is hard to say what the final month of the season will look like for Piketon. My bank account and my
level of intelligence say that I am not a doctor, so I will not try to predict Southworthâ€™s return. If she
has played her final high school minute, I understand that will be a difficult way to end her high school
career, but I say to her that we at SVCsportszone.com are wishing her a full recovery that has her making
plays in a Ball State uniform next season. As for Piketon, I realize this changes some things, but I also
know that they are extremely well coached, they play really hard, and they still have the potential to be a
dangerous team in the second half of the year.