Gary West Memorial Tip Off at Reynoldsburg
By JIM DABBELT
Here is the schedule for the Gary West Memorial Tip-Off Classic this weekend at Reynoldsburg HS (Summit Rd. Campus) near Columbus.
Toledo Notre Dame vs. Dublin Coffman
New Albany vs. Eastmoor
Pickerington North vs. Zanesville
Hathaway Brown vs. Dayton Carroll
Reynoldsburg vs. Cincinnati Princeton
Olentangy vs. Teays Valley
Walnut Hills vs. Gahanna Lincoln
Withrow vs. Shaker Heights
Reynoldsburg vs. Hathaway Brown
Former standout players giving back
By JIM DABBELT / Tuesday, Nov. 19
One of the greatest things I enjoy seeing is when people give back to the sport they love. Playing four years of high school basketball, and even after four years of college ball, some people just can’t get the game out of their blood. I spent some time catching up with three of them over the past couple of weeks, and it was refreshing to see these former queens of the court returning to the sidelines in a different capacity.
First of all, it was great to see that former Greenville star, and guard at the University of Illinois, Macie Blinn is back in the game. She spent a year at Mississinawa Valley last season, now she can be found donning the purple and gold, as the varsity assistant with the Vandalia Butler Aviators. There wasn’t many players during her era that could match her outside game, she was a scoring machine…. and now she can teach the game to today’s youth at the high school level.
Then last weekend, I ran into two former area stars at the Troy Preview. First, it was great to reconnect with former Milton Union star PG Kaci Finfrock, who not only dazzled her opponents while a member of the Bulldogs, but she also dons a National Championship ring after being a part of last season’s University of Ashland national championship team. Finfrock has returned to the court as the freshman coach at Troy High School.
Also back in the CBC, but this time not as a zone-buster, but as a teacher, is former Tippecanoe grad Morgan Miller. She is part of the Graham Falcons and will serve as their junior varsity coach this season. She hopes to teach the game to the rising players at Graham, while continuing to pursue her degree at Wright State University.
Bigtime respect to those three former player who truly are giving back to today’s game and players. I am sure there are others who I have not been made aware of, but anyone who comes back to use their gift to teach others deserves a major shoutout.
We are three days from the start of the regular season…. let’s get focused and get ready!
Key players hope for a strong return
By JIM DABBELT
Everyone knows that Christmas is set for December 25 as it is every year, when the small children run downstairs to rip open their presents before the crack of dawn.
For several young ladies around Ohio, it will seem like Christmas morning as they wake today, because they know that all of their hard work they put into the game of basketball all summer long is about to pay off. Today is the day a lot of us have been waiting for.
Today…. is the start of basketball season.
Girls’ basketball teams can begin practice today across Ohio, and while several girls look at this as the beginning of a new season, a few area girls are chomping at the bit even more, as they prepare to prove to everyone that they are back.
It has been a rough year for injuries, as several girls around Ohio are out to make a statement to everyone that they are back… and better than ever.
Seniors Sydney Brackemyre, Olivia Philpot, and Amy Bullimore are all recovering from knee injuries, while sophomore Sydney Bates had shoulder surgery in the fall and is ready to return to the court soon.
Brackemyre, a 6-1 senior at Clinton Massie who verballed to the University of Louisville, suffered a season-ending ACL tear on December 29 of last year, and while she has suffered through the long road to recovery, she knows the extra time she has been away will ultimately be worth it.
“My recovery seemed like it was never going to end, but now I’m back and playing,” Brackemyre said yesterday. “It feels good to know I had the extra couple of months to recover. Most people come back from an ACL team in about 6-7 months, but in my case it was a full nine months.”
The Massie senior was frustrated waiting to get back, but she understands it will help her prepare better for a return.
“My doctor was very cautious with the things he would allow me to do, which was entirely frustrating at the time, but I know it will pay off,” she said. “I have had so much support from family and friends that told me the waiting would be worth it.”
Brackemyre has been working on her physical part of the game while she has been out of action. She stated she is stronger than she has ever been, and worked on the things she was allowed to. The future Cardinal will be wearing a brace until December.
Philpot had her ACL surgery on July 5, as the Middletown Madison senior will miss most if not all of her senior season. Her goal to return in January will be based on a functional assessment next month by Dr. James Klosterman, and that will determine if a return mid-season is even going to be reasonable.
Philpot, who opened up her recruiting back up after choosing not to attend Youngstown State as earlier planned, has been doing physical therapy and training at Ignition for the past several months, making solid progress each week. Philpot understands the risk of returning too soon, and knows there is a bitter prize down the road, playing basketball in college.
Bullimore also hopes for a strong senior year after suffering the same injury last season. The 6-1 senior, who has yet to choose a college, was recently cleared to begin playing again, and knows it has been a long road back.
“I did rehab at least three times per week with my therapist, but everyday by myself,” Bullimore said, very much looking forward to the season to begin. “Sometimes it was so painful or hard I didn’t think it would ever get easier.”
“I’m not sure there was a day that I didn’t find a hoop to shoot on, and continued to improve my shot daily,” she added, who credited Dr. Shaw, therapist Shaun Tubbs and trainer Tammy Pollack with a huge role in her recovery. “I had the right support from my coach and others to get my mind off the setback and look to the bigger picture.”
She also learned a lot about herself while she was on the sidelines watching her team last season.
“Recovery played a big role with my personality,” she said. “It helped me to learn what it’s really like to be a teammate. I sat on the sideline cheering on my teammates, with a sense of pride and urgency to get back on the court.”
Bates, one of Ohio’s top sophomores, also looks for a successful return after suffering a shoulder injury this summer that hampered her play through her summer season. After battling the pain for the month of July, she finished the summer with shoulder surgery on July 31. She had the ligaments and cartilage of her shoulder stabilized was told that recovery would take her 12-16 weeks.
For the first six weeks of rehab, Bates would be forced to wear an immobilizer the majority of each day, but even though she couldn’t do much to work on her game, Bates would keep her stamina up by walking 6-8 miles each evening. She also spent time ball handling and shooting with her non-surgical arm.
Bates was cleared to run at eight weeks, and for the next four weeks, she would cardio at least 90 minutes per day, and work on therapy. This past Tuesday, Bates was cleared to do all aspects of basketball except for contact. During the last three months, Bates has learned a lot about motivation, commitment, and effort and never to take your health for granted.
Also, Alter’s Emma Bockrath, one of Ohio’s top players in her class, looks to put her ACL injury behind her and come out strong and leave her mark on the new basketball season.
For these five, plus others recovering from injuries, today is the beginning of new hope and new dreams.