Bishop Lynch senior Mallory Lancaster had already built a reputation as a marksman shooter on the basketball court, but on July 28, a major injury tested not only her physical strength but mental and emotional resolve as well.
In a one-on-one interview with Cliff Gibson, BL's Sports Information Director, she explained what happened, what it took to overcome and how she turned it into success during her challenging senior season.
SID: Let's go back to the injury, what exactly happened?
ML: I play summer ball for Texas Fire, I was dribbling and going for a layup then did a fake pass out and then ripped over then pushed off my right leg and the doctor said my bone had separated and popped back into place and I fell to the ground, screaming. It just didn't seem real, I didn't know if my bone was sticking out of my leg or what. The thing is, I wasn't crying because of the pain, but because here I was going into my senior year and we knew we were gonna win state.
SID: So, what was the actual diagnosis?
ML: The doctor said it was likely an ACL tear, so I had to hold onto a little hope that he was wrong. But I had actually torn not only my ACL, but the medial and lateral meniscus as well. There was also some deep bone bruising.
SID: What kind of timeline did the doctors give you as far as recovery was concerned … getting back on the court?
ML: They said it would take 6-8 months and I told them I'd be back in five. The doctors told me nobody ever recovers that quickly but I told them I'd be the one. I worked hard and got back in five months.
SID: I remember talking to Coach Zihlman on several occasions about your progress and he kept telling me that you wanted to be back in time for district (early December).
ML: I was able to suit up for the tournament in December but didn't get any playing time. I wasn't quite ready at that point.
SID: Making it back as quickly as you did and working as hard as you had to, how did you feel physically and emotionally when you got on the court for the first time this season?
ML: The doctors told me it would be harder from a mental aspect to get back on the court because it would be hard to trust the knee. I focused a lot of my energy on the mental preparation.
SID: With your knee heavily wrapped and wearing the brace, you surely never forgot. It's a constant reminder …
ML: Definitely, and when I came back people told me I was limping and I didn't even realize it. It wasn't that painful but I would favor it without knowing.
SID: How did you feel about your performance on the court, considering what you had to deal with on a daily basis?
ML: I was a little timid and still am now. I'm working slowly back to regain the confidence I had before the injury.
SID: You guys had the attitude to settle for nothing less than winning state coming into the season. After going through the injury and recovery, what was it like to complete that mission and win the title?
ML: Coach Zihlman told my class as freshmen that we would win state and after coming close last year we knew this was our time. When the state game ended I was just so grateful to be a part of it as a player on the floor.
SID: How did the relationship with Trinity University come about?
ML: They offered me as a junior and even through the injury they were still aggressive in working with me. It never was an issue for them. I had some other offers but the relationship with Trinity was really the difference-maker.
SID: When did you officially commit to Trinity?
ML: I decided last Monday. Something just clicked in my head and it felt right, so I made the commitment that day.
*Mallory will sign a letter of intent to play basketball at Trinity University as part of a National Signing Day ceremony on Wednesday, April 12, at Bishop Lynch High School.