Basketball players

Dawson and Suman among Westmoreland basketball players recover from injury

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Wednesday 22 December 2021 | 6:41 p.m.


Jenna Dawson takes to the basketball court with a giant piece of combat armor on her left leg, a constant reminder of a grueling offseason and the tenacity she has within her.

Junior guard Belle Vernon missed last season with an ACL and MCL tear and underwent reconstructive surgeries on both ligaments, erasing his second season.

But she’s back this year contributing to a deep rotation while trying to regain her form.

“Having it back really added to our depth,” said Belle Vernon coach Kaitlyn Slagus. “We were really looking forward to getting her back, and it’s good to see her there again.”

Other local players are also recovering from injuries.

Penn-Trafford main guard Maura Suman suffered a tear to his shoulder in the last game of the regular season last year. She had surgery in March and returned to play volleyball in the fall and now basketball in the winter.

Norwin’s main guard, Alyssa Laukus, broke her ankle in a scrimmage just before the WPIAL playoffs last year and missed all three of the Lady Knights playoff games.

But she, too, is back in shape, even leading Norwin to score several times this season.

“Physical therapy was difficult, especially at the beginning,” Dawson said. “The first month is usually the most difficult to go through, at least in my case. Rehabilitation is about setting goals. Every week I would do something small, like trying to bend the knee to some extent. But the long-term goal was ultimately to get back into the game.

Dawson said there is more to a return from a long-term injury than the physical part.

“As much as the return is a physical challenge, as much as it is a mental battle more than anything,” she said. “Keeping a positive mindset and staying focused on your goals are essential. “

Along with Dawson, Belle Vernon has a shooter and a ball handler who can produce in the flow of the game.

“My biggest difficulty is with my confidence,” said Dawson. “I’m learning to play on a new knee, which comes with a lot of confidence. I have to block the thought of hurting myself again and just play. I am starting to try again to prove my place in the team again and to regain the confidence of my teammates, but also to learn to play my game again.

Suman is a 3-point threat and a key ball manager for Penn-Trafford, who is once again ready to go through the rigors of Class 6A basketball.

“It’s good to be back,” Suman said. “It was a long journey both mentally and physically, but knowing the game was waiting at the finish line was what kept me going.”

At the start of the season, Suman placed in the top five in program history for assists and steals.

“Basketball is usually all year round for me so coming back to the court for the first time since my surgery was a feeling I had been waiting for and working for,” she said. .

Laukus tallied 14 points in a 55-20 win over Unity Reed (Va.) In the She Got Game Classic in Alexandria (Va.) And added 13 when Norwin defeated Shaler, 39-28.

Norwin has been trying to get healthy for months. Junior forward / guard Savannah Schneck missed time last year with an ACL tear. She injured her knee again before the start of this season and will likely miss the season.

The 5-foot-10 Laukus can play on the wing or provide height on the low block. With Schneck absent, she and her teammates must take over.

“Alyssa brings a unique skill set of size and athleticism,” said Norwin coach Brian Brozeski, “as well as big game experience.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is a writer for Tribune-Review. You can contact Bill by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

Keywords: , Norwin, Penn Trafford