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Weatherspoon’s recovery from ACL tear strengthens Central


Central point guard Angelica Weatherspoon (5) helped the Falcons to an area tournament title a year after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee in the area tournament. (Photo by Michelle Lepianka Carter)


TUSCALOOSA | When her junior basketball season was cut short by an injury, point guard Angelica Weatherspoon was determined to make her senior season last longer.

Weatherspoon and her Central High School teammates face Selma tonight in a Class 5A subregional game, which starts at 7 at Central. With a win, Central can advance to the Central Regional. Two wins in Montgomery would boost the Lady Falcons into the AHSAA Tournament in Birmingham.

Weatherspoon tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee when the Lady Falcons played Chilton County in their 2012 area tournament. When Central made the trip to Montgomery, Weatherspoon could only watch as her teammates beat Sylacauga but lost to Valley in the final.

"It was very painful sitting on the bench," Weatherspoon said. "It just hurt me to know that I couldn’t help my team out.

Central won the Area 7 tournament title this year by beating McAdory (72-42) and Paul W. Bryant (51-35).

"When the area came around, I just prayed about it," Weatherspoon said. "When I go out there, I try not to let my knee affect my game. I try not to think about it. I don’t want my knee holding me back from helping my team. I just try to set my teammates up, try to be smart and make the right decisions."

Weatherspoon said she had to overcome mental and physical challenges.

"I had a problem with cutting," she said. "I thought if I ran and cut I would hurt it again. I had to get over that."

Weatherspoon scored eight points and made five steals in the area final and made the all-tournament team.

"As our senior point guard, her leadership is invaluable," Central coach Michael Rivers said. "She’s probably the best pure passer that I’ve ever had or seen in girls basketball around her. She can hit double figures in assists in any game because she deliberately looks to make a pass instead of trying to be a scorer, even though she can score."

Rivers said he didn’t keep a starting role open just for sentimental reasons.

"When she came back from her injury, she knew she was going to have to work her way back into the rotation," Rivers said. "Once she got in the rotation, it was hers.

"Even though you may have a more athletic person, her IQ from the academic area translates over to the basketball court. Her aptitude level is so high that even in a game you can see it.

"I know for a fact she wants to be in the playoffs this year, not sitting."

Rivers said having Weatherspoon at point guard allows Toborsha Holley to player her "natural" position of shooting guard. Jerlissa Matthews is another guard whose specialty is driving to the basket. Shawntayla Harris and D’Leisha Dent give the Lady Falcons an inside presence.

Holley scored 11 points in the championship game and was the most valuable player in the Area 7 tournament. Harris scored nine points and collected six rebounds and made the all-tournament team. Matthews had a team-high 15 points, and Dent led the Lady Falcons with 10 rebounds.

"I think we have good team chemistry," Weatherspoon said. "I think we can make things happen."

 

Reach Andrew Carroll at andrew.carroll@tuscaloosanews.com or at 205-722-0223.