Seniors lead team through perseverance, determination

Basketball is the definition of a team sport. Five players on the court must interact in a seamless fashion to effectively protect their own goal and score points in their opponent’s. Injuries and setbacks can ruin a season and cripple a team, but they can also be used to strengthen bonds and push the team to come together even more.

The girls’ varsity basketball team is focused this season, and the players and coaches are looking to win district and go deep into the playoffs. Basketball coaches look to veterans each year to lead the team, and senior Teanikia Rodgers fits that role.

“Teanikia has improved tremendously in her three and a half years at Bryan High,” varsity girls basketball coach Beth Jesurun said. “Our goal is always to win district and make the playoffs, and her leadership will make a big difference this year.”

Each player must fill a role on the team to be successful and work as a group to win.

“Teanikia’s role on the team is to be a leader at point guard,” Jesurun said. “She needs to have a steady presence on the court, distribute the ball, and make free throws. She is very vocal and does a good job communicating to her teammates.”

Senior teammate NeNe Newton suffered a torn ACL, MCL, and PCL, blowing out her entire knee the summer after her freshman year and missed the majority of the season her sophomore year. The team also looks to her as a leader on the team when it comes to perseverance and determination which has been seen through her recovery.

“NeNe’s injury depleted our depth at point guard and put her a year behind,” Jesurun said. “Most of the time, ACL injuries take over a year to get back at full speed.

Not only did NeNe’s injury affect her physical capabilities, but also her confidence and mental toughness.

“NeNe needs to take time to regain confidence in her knee that she had prior to her injury,” Jesurun said. “NeNe worked mentally and physically to overcome her injury. The injury has helped her mature; she doesn’t take playing for granted.”

Her desire to get back on the court stemmed from her attending therapy and overcoming the year long set-back.

“I overcame my injury by going to therapy and really focusing on getting back on the court,” Nene said. “It was very frustrating to come back because of my injury.”

Her recovery inspired her teammates to know that once you hit the bottom or an obstacle gets in the way, there is always a way to overcome.

“Watching NeNe come back from basketball taught me that if you ever get knocked down by life there’s always a way to overcome it,” Teanikia said. “Her injury was a major setback for her because she loves basketball so much, but that caused her to be out for a whole season. Now she’s back and I’ve seen so much improvement from her.”

The injury has rejuvenated NeNe and helped her focus on the season ahead as she trains each day to grow as a player both physically and mentally on court.

“Although things get hard, you have to keep pushing. There’s some days you don’t want to get up and go,” NeNe said. “You play how you practice.”