ENID, Okla. —
Thursday’s snowstorms that forced the Class B Area at Cleveland to be set back by a day might have been good news for Timberlake’s Kylee Severin.
Severin tore her ACL in the Lady Tigers’ regular season finale against Cimarron, but has decided to brace the knee with hopes of playing against arch-rival Deer Creek-Lamont tonight in the winners bracket finals and a berth in the state tournament.
“This (extra day) might have been the extra day she needed to get healthy enough to play,’’ said Lady Tigers coach Kale Pierce.
Severin has been going to physical therapy and has been able to do some jogging and shooting in practice. She hopes to have enough range of motion to make at least a brief appearance.
“It’s just one of those things that you have to wait and see,’’ Pierce said. “We’re praying and hoping she can play.’’
Severin can’t injure the knee any worse. It’s a matter of how much pain she can tolerate.
“I wouldn’t put her out there if there was a risk,’’ Pierce said.”She has worked so hard for this. If there’s anyone who deserves this chance, it’s Kylee.’’
Severin has helped the Lady Tigers to four straight 20-win seasons and back-to-back trips to the state tournament.
“It’s been tough on her, but she has handled it well,’’ Pierce said. “She is one of the leaders of this team, and we haven’t lost that since she’s been on the bench with us. The other girls know how badly she wants to be out there.’’
Severin actually has suited up for every game since the injury. Pierce put her in for the final few seconds of Timberlake’s 77-39 win over Oilton in the district finals,º with specific instructions no one was to throw the ball to her.
“We had her stuck in a corner and one of the freshmen accidentally threw the ball to her,’’ Pierce said. “She picked it off and got rid of it quickly, but still got an assist out of it.’’
Pierce said if Severin can play even just a short amount of time, it could give Timberlake an emotional boost.
“No doubt that would be inspiring to the girls,’’ he said.
Severin’s knee is just one of the story lines. The two teams — both ranked in the top five — No. 3 DCLA (20-6) and Timberlake (22-3) – have played three times this season.
Timberlake won the first two meetings, 42-39 at the Pond Creek-Hunter Tournament semifinals on Dec. 7 and 54-42 at DCLA on Jan. 18.
The Lady Eagles have won 11 straight since the second loss, including a 51-45 win over the Lady Tigers in the Cherokee Strip Tournament semifinals Jan. 25.
“Each game has been completely different,’’ Pierce said. “We have both felt the injury bug. We have had a different set of girls play each time and this could be the same kind of deal.’’
The difficulty for both teams, Pierce said, is being “so used to each other.’’
“You just have to figure out the little wrinkles to catch each other off guard,’’ Pierce said.
Severin scored in double figures in all three games. She had 33 points overall.
The Lady Tigers, Pierce said, have adapted well since Severin’s injury. Carly LeForce, normally Timberlake’s No. 6 scorer, had a career-high 23 points in a 68-36 win over Asher in the regional semifinals. Kayla Castle had a season-high 22 points in a 56-35 win over Coyle in the regional finals. Amy Adkisson, who took Severin’s place in the starting lineup, is averaging 13 points in the postseason.
“It’s been a team effort so far,’’ Pierce said.
The game can be heard on KNID (107.1 FM)
Campbell is a News & Eagle sports writer.