By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Christa Beasler didn’t ask “Why me?’’ when a knee injury in practice sidelined her for the season two games into the 2011-12 season for Northern Oklahoma College Enid.
In fact, she took the opposite approach in rehabbing her knee to come back for the next season as a third-year sophomore.
“I learned a lot from being on the sidelines,’’ said Beasler Sunday before a practice for tonight’s Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference game at Western Oklahoma State in Altus.
“I tried to benefit from it and look at it as a positive, even though it was a negative. I just took it as it came and went with it. I couldn’t do anything about it.’’
Beasler is the Lady Jets’ second-leading scorer with a 9.6 average. She is hitting 39.5 percent from the field, 38.8 percent from 3-point range and 81.8 percent from the foul line.
“God has a reason for everything,’’ Beasler said. “There was a reason that he had that plan in my life. It will benefit me in the long run.’’
NOC Enid coach Scott Morris said Beasler took a “fighter’s mentality’’ into her rehab. She didn’t have any doubts.
“It was just like coming back from the summer,’’ she said. “It wasn’t anything that different. I had everything pretty much under control. I wasn’t too worried about it. I just look at the positive side of everything. It can get you through anything.’’
The knee injury wasn’t the first time Beasler has faced adversity.
After struggling as a role player as a freshman two years ago, she had a heart-to-heart talk with Morris. She was told she “probably needs to get serious about it or look down the road,’’ Morris said.
“Usually when someone is told that, they usually look down the road,’’ Morris said. “She didn’t hesitate to say she would be willing to do anything she had to do to get better.’’
Morris, being a veteran coach, had heard those words before. He took an “I’ll believe I when I see it’’ attitude.
“But she really worked hard and developed into a good player and earned a starting position,’’ Morris said.
“It was pretty tough, but I never gave up,’’ Beasler said. “I kept working hard and stayed motivated. I knew the reason why I was here. I never gave up.’’
Beasler has been in double figures in 10 of NOC Enid’s 17 games. She had a season-high 16 points when the Lady Jets beat Northeastern A&M 56-52 with leading scorer Marisha Wallace out with a stomach flu.
She has been a strong leader-by-example for a Lady Jets team that shares the OCAC lead (4-1) and is riding a seven-game winning streak.
“I try my best to be as vocal as possible,’’ Beasler said. “But it’s all of us who make us who we are. We are all pretty close. We all get along. We love being together on and off the court.’’
She said is happy about her own play.
“I’ve been doing pretty well,’’ Beasler said. “Hopefully, we’ll keep progressing as a team together and playing as one.’’
She is the lone third-year sophomore on the team. Beasler fits in well with her younger teammates and can laugh when kidded about it.
“It comes easy,’’ Beasler said. “I’m a personable person. We all have been working hard and, hopefully, we’ll keep going up hill from here.’’
She is the only player on the team to have gone to a national tournament. Beasler was disappointed for the others when the Lady Jets lost to NEO in the regional finals.
“Going to nationals is everyone’s goal,’’ Beasler said.
Beasler will get her associate’s degree in May. She had enough hours to graduate, but is taking “some extra good classes that will help me down the road.’’
“I considered going to a four-year school after last year,’’ she said, “but I knew this is where I needed to be. I’m getting what I need. Hopefully, this (third year of junior college) will make me more attractive to four-year schools. I enjoyed the past three years, and I look forward to what God has in store for me the next few years.’’
The knee brace she wears doesn’t bother her. She jokes “it bothers other people more than it does me when I make contact with them ... it’s just another little extra thing I have to wear.’’
The absence from the game made her heart fonder for it.
“You appreciate it more knowing it can be taken away from you so quick,’’ Beasler said. “It’s not just me, it could be any player. You got to enjoy every moment of that.’’
She has this season which started slow for the Lady Jets, who have begun to find their rhythm. NOC Enid is coming off a 54-41 win at Eastern. Western (9-5, 1-3) has won three straight, including a 68-62 win over NOC Tonkawa Thursday.
“We have had our ups and downs, but we’re just coming together as a team,’’ Beasler said.
Outside of basketball, Beasler enjoys spending time with friends and family and at the lake.
Jets look to bounce back
NOC Enid’s men will be trying to bounce back from a 85-76 loss at Eastern. The loss dropped the Jets (13-4, 3-2) out of a share of the OCAC lead.
NOC Enid coach Greg Shamburg said after the game he was disappointed with his team’s effort.
Western (10-5, 1-3) is coming off a 95-45 loss to NOC Tonkawa. Jeremy Espinoza leads the attack with a 15.1 average, followed by Connor Brooks (13.8) and Dalen Qualls (13.7).
The games can be heard on KCRC Radio (1390).