Marissa Schedcik quickly rattles off the date and moment she feared her basketball career had ended.
“June 13,” Schedcik snaps. “We were playing the championship game of a summer camp. I was going in for a wide-open layup and landed wrong.
“I knew right away what happened. They try to tell you it’s maybe a sprain. But right away you know.”
Hard work and determination helped Schedcik erase those fears. She returned to action just six months and four days after the injury.
As the Lady Bulldogs wind down the regular season, Schedcik is leading the Alvord charge back to the playoffs, averaging 10.8 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 2.5 steals.
Every time she hits the floor, the senior appears to be getting better. Entering Tuesday’s game against Millsap, she is averaging 15 points over her last five games.
Her performance since coming back does not come as a surprise to Rob Schmucker, who has coached her the past four years.
“She was always worried about a setback,” he said. “I told her it’s like a bank account. She’s put so much time in over her four years, that she would be OK. She just needed to get back and get confidence in that knee.”
As a freshman, Schedcik immediately started making an impact for the Lady Bulldogs. She averaged 7.3 points per game on her way to earning 9-2A Newcomer of the Year. She followed that up with strong sophomore and junior years for the Class 2A Region II finalists. Last year, Schedcik averaged 11.6 points and 5.9 rebounds on the way to being named Wise County Offensive Player of the Year.
Entering the summer, she was hoping to just add to past success. Then came that fateful day in June.
“It was probably the toughest time of my life. You’ve worked so hard and had such a great experience,” Schedcik said. “Then your senior year, this happens.
“I was just depressed. I didn’t know if I would get to play again.”
An MRI soon after the injury revealed she had torn the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee along with partial tears of the medial collateral ligament and the meniscus.
Schedcik decided to immediately have surgery instead of trying to brace the knee up and continue to play. She had the surgery in late June. Soon after, she was told she would be able to return to the court this season.
“They told me Christmas or January that I’d get to play again,” Schedcik said.
While the pain of the injury was tough to deal with, watching her team take the floor without her in November was even more unbearable. She watched and took mental notes.
When she returned to the lineup Dec. 17 at Peaster for the District 9-2A opener, Schedcik applied the lessons she learned from the time on the sidelines. She scored nine points in her first game back, a 53-28 victory.
“It was a little emotional at first,” Schedcik recalled. “I was a little scared. But by the second quarter, I was back to my old self mentally.”
Physically, Schedcik said she is continuing to get stronger. Schmucker said he can’t tell a difference other than the new range she’s found on her jumpshot.
“She thinks she’s a step or two behind, but I can’t tell,” the Alvord coach said. “Her outside shooting has gotten stronger, and she’s shooting with more confidence.”
Schedcik claims she had six months to work on her shooting, while waiting to get back on the court full time.
Since returning, Schedcik has taken several spills like she did in the first half against Boyd. But each time she’s hit the floor, she’s quickly dusted herself off and gone back on the attack.
“When I had to sit out, I learned a lot. You have to play with all you’ve got, all the time,” Schedcik said. “You don’t know when it can be taken away from you.”
As the Lady Bulldogs prepare for the final two regular season games and the playoffs, Schedcik is grateful to be back on the floor and for those who helped her get there.
“I have to thank all the people who helped me,” she said. “Without them, I wouldn’t be here.”
She also is thankful for June 13 and the painful lessons it taught her.
“It’s something I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy,” Schedcik said. “But it makes you a stronger person. It’s not an experience anyone wants. It tests your faith. But it also taught me a lot.”