Junior Rebecca Triplett sat with East Valley’s girls basketball team during last weekend’s regionals, her arm in a sling and a baseball cap pulled down over her eyes.
The season was over for the Knights’ leading scorer and rebounder, her athletic future threatened by a severe dislocation of her right shoulder.
Torn tendons will require surgery March 26, said EV’s 6-foot, three-sport athlete. There are also two hairline fractures and a chipped bone.
The injury occurred Feb. 21 on the opening jump ball of East Valley’s district championship victory over Cheney.
“It happened so fast I don’t know what happened,” said Triplett. “The shoulder was out before I hit the ground. The doctor said it had to take a lot of force to pull it out.”
Triplett has been told that it will take up to a year for the shoulder to heal, meaning she’ll miss this softball season and, quite possibly, volleyball and basketball next year.
“I’ve got to forget about what happened. I can’t change the past,” she said. “I have to get through rehabilitation as soon as I can.”
Triplett has been the Knights’ starting pitcher since her freshman year, and a two-year varsity volleyball and basketball player.
Despite the injury she wasn’t about to miss seeing her teammates play during last weekend’s regional tournament. She won’t miss next year either, even if she can’t participate.
“I just want to support the team,” she said. “I’ll go to every practice and game to help out, even if it’s picking up towels. I’m not a quitter.”
Neither were the Knights, who lost two straight regional playoff games, but acquitted themselves well, particularly in Saturday’s 54-48 loser-out game against Cheney.
Not only was Triplett sidelined, but during a 60-38 loss Friday to state qualifier Ellensburg, senior April Tomblin, the team’s second-leading scorer and rebounder, injured her knee late in the first half.
“We don’t have any more posts for tomorrow,” said coach Darsi Frazier.
So senior guards Nissa Birdsbill and Jessica Conard scored 14 and 11 points respectively and the Knights hung with the Blackhawks, trailing by just four points with a minute remaining.
“I’m proud of them. Nissa played with every ounce of her heart and Jessica gave everything she had, too,” said Frazier. “Confidence does an amazing thing. Even without our top two scorers and rebounders we played tough.”
EV was, she concluded, a better team than what it was earlier in the season and will be strong for the next several years, with or without Triplett.
Six players return, including Malea Schumacher and Rachelle Schultz. The Knights have a strong freshman and sophomore group, including varsity playing ninth-grader Sarah Shogren.
“The next few years will be good basketball for EV,” said Frazier.
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