By Nick Snow
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Becca Worthy knows a thing or two about injuries and lost opportunities. After all, she’s missed the last two seasons for the Stillwater High School girls basketball team with knee injuries.
So when seniors Blake Bulard and Callie Atkins went down with injuries earlier in the year, Worthy knew it was an opportunity to make up for lost time.
The junior did so in a big way, tallying 19 points — including a 3-point play with 0.4 seconds left — as the Lady Pioneers beat Bishop McGuinness 55-54 in overtime in their final game before the break.
“I knew that time was running out and I saw an opening and just went for it,” Worthy said. “I didn’t see it go in but I heard the crowd and knew it must have gone in. From there, I just made my free throw.”
“It was just a stellar performance,” Stillwater coach Carl Treat said. “She went 12 of 12 from the free-throw line and had several shots that were big. She hit two free throws late to put us up by 4 and then had that shot and the free throw to put us up by 1 in overtime.
It’s been a long and sometimes difficult process for Worthy following the knee injuries. Few players ever recover from one torn ACL, let alone two.
“It was tough,” Worthy said. “I’ve missed the better part of two seasons with knee injuries. About the only thing I could do was work on my ball handling and help cheer on the other girls.”
But anyone that knows Worthy knows she’s not the type to give up that easily. If anything, those injuries made her work that much harder.
“For Becca, she’s one of those kids that has continue to work really hard,” Treat said. “She’s overcome two ACL injuries and surgeries, and she just continues to improve every day. It’s just great to see a kid that has worked as hard as she has to be able to help her team out at a moment like that where you’re going to remember the rest of your life.”
It’s also that same toughness and effort that makes her so versatile. This season she has played everything from point guard to the post, utilizing playing time whenever she can.
“She’s a good athlete,” Treat said. “She has tremendous speed and can jump well. She’s not real big, but she makes up for it with her hard work and toughness. That toughness is exhibited through the fact that she’s been able to overcome injuries and maintain her speed and athleticism.
“I’ve always thought Becca could be a good player. She’s finally developed into what we pictured and what she wants to do. ... It’s just really rewarding when you see somebody who works as hard as she has be able to have success like that.”
In a little over a month’s time, Worthy has gone from do-it-all role player to a starter on an injury-riddled Lady Pioneer team. But don’t expect the junior to stop there.
“You could say that this was a breakout game for me,” Worthy said. “But this is not going to be the high point. This is just a highlight. I’m going to keep going and keep working to get better and better each day. I’d like to use basketball to help get me to college, so no matter what I’m going to play my hardest all the time.”
Worthy may have dreams of playing basketball in college, but for now Treat’s just happy to have healthy players like Worthy stepping up to fill the void.
“When you look back at everything that’s happen to her, you can’t help but be proud,” Treat said. “I really feel like that’s just one of the first of many big moments in her career. She has good range on her shot, her finishing at the rim has improved and she’s developed some moves during the season where she’s got a variety of ways she can attack the rim. Just seeing all that and watching her put it all together has been really rewarding.”
As for the rest of the season, Treat said that Worthy’s potential to grow over the next three months seems exponential.
“She’s just going to continue to improve and get better,” Treat said. “With our change in offensive schemes, she’s a direct benefactor of that. We’ve loosened things up and changed things to allow our guards to penetrate and dish. It really fits her ability really well. Even with everything that’s happened this year, I’m expecting to be successful and I’m looking forward to the games that lie ahead of us.”
Carson Teel, boys basketball
Rico Thompson, boys basketball