GIRLS BASKETBALL

Noll freshman returns from concussion A-OK

2014-02-18T22:00:00Z 2014-02-19T02:22:07Z Noll freshman returns from concussion A-OKHillary Smith hillary.smith@nwi.com, (219) 933-3233 nwitimes.com
February 18, 2014 10:00 pm  • 

HAMMOND | Brittany Anderson used to bleed Whiting green.

Her sister is a senior at Whiting High School, Brittany played at the middle school last year, and last season she sat with Whiting fans when the Oilers beat Bishop Noll for the girls basketball sectional title.

When she had a chance to pick her high school before starting her freshman year, Anderson opted to attend Bishop Noll.

That's where the story begins.

In volleyball, Noll beat Whiting in the championship game of the sectional, and twice in the regular season.

Before the first time the two teams met this season for a basketball game, Anderson was asked if she thought she'd make it through the game without injury.

"Before the game, people were asking me 'do you think you're going to get hurt,' 'do you think anyone will cheap-shot you,' and no I didn't think I'd get hurt," she said. "It wasn't their fault. It wasn't on purpose."

While jumping for a rebound on Whiting's home court, Anderson was boxed out and as she landed, a guard was beneath her. Her head hit the floor.

"It echoed throughout the gym," Bishop Noll coach Vanita Gary said. "So we were worried, and when the officials let me come out to the floor, she was still talking."

"It obviously wasn't on purpose," Anderson said. "I got all these texts, a good 30 texts that night, and I had my sister replying to them all because I wasn't allowed to look at the screen or anything. They were all 'I hope you feel better.' My team's texts were the most important to me because they said 'recover soon' and 'we're going to need you in the long run.'"

Though she passed an initial concussion test, she took two weeks off to rest, sit in a dark room, relax her brain and let it recover. When she took the concussion test again, she answered even faster.

She practiced and was cleared to play long before her official return to the Warriors last Saturday, at the Whiting gym, in the sectional championship against Whiting.

"Everyone said, you can't go out there and play scared. You can't be scared to get another injury," Anderson said. "I didn't feel like I was. I felt like I was really focused."

She finished with nine points and a team-best eight rebounds as Noll won its first sectional title since 1997.

The Warriors will meet Fort Wayne Canterbury in the noon semifinal of Saturday's Class 2A Rensselaer Regional.

The freshman is among the first players off the bench, subbing in for senior post player Asya Hobbs.

When Hobbs picked up her second foul early in Saturday's game, Anderson said it took a long moment before Gary put her in the game.

"We had talked before the game. We all had a conversation whether it was OK for me to play and everything," Anderson said. "After Asya got her second foul, coach looked at me, and we had a good 10-second look, and I went in and at first I was thinking, 'this is awesome,' then 'I'm in a game, so I need to focus.'"

With her first high school injury out of the way, Anderson, who has already committed to play softball for James Madison University, hasn't yet started her best sport. She's won two sectional titles in two seasons, as the volleyball team reached the state title game in November.

"You have to respect her as a true competitor," Gary said. "I think if it was a chess game, she'd work extra hard and come out with that same intensity. I think people like that, I don't want to say are uncommon, but that's a real find. That's like finding a diamond in a haystack. That's a real find."

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