Hannah Potter makes surprise comeback for Kiski Area girls basketball

Sunday, January 26, 2020 | 4:26 PM

When Hannah Potter suffered a broken wrist in Kiski Area girls basketball’s opener, she and others thought her season would be lost because of the nature of the injury and the recovery time needed.

But good news during a doctor visit Thursday gave the Cavaliers senior captain a second chance.

X-rays taken as Potter’s cast was removed revealed sufficient healing, and her doctor gave her the green light to return to the court.

“They had said a minimum of 12 weeks, plus a splint,” Potter said. “(The doctor) said it was healed early and that as long as I have everything wrapped and protected and I was careful, I could go out and play. I was so happy when I heard that.”

Go out and play she has.

Potter came back Friday in a home Section 2-5A loss to Hampton and scored 12 points. In Saturday’s 55-37 nonsection win over Burrell, she scored 13 points.

“I was mentally and physically ready,” Potter said. “I went to every practice and did everything I could with one hand. I did all the conditioning. Then I would go to the gym afterwards with my assistant coach, and he would work me out.”

For Cavaliers coach Nick Dizon, Potter’s return was a pleasant surprise.

“I knew she was getting the cast off, and they were going to splint it, but I didn’t think they were going to give her the OK to play right away,” he said. “I though there would be some time of adjustment and then she would be cleared after that. I didn’t think it would happen before the season ended.”

Potter kept the news a secret until revealing it to her coaches and teammates at practice Thursday.

She went through a full-contact practice, and the plan, Dizon said, was to have her return be Saturday against Burrell.

But a pre-game workout Friday showed she was ready to go, and she was in uniform ready to end a streak of 15 games missed.

“Coach Dizon was like, ‘Oh yeah, you’re ready. You’re playing tonight,’ ” Potter said.

Potter came off the bench Friday, entering the game with about three minutes gone in the first quarter. She made her first shot attempt, a long-range jumper at the 3-point line.

“My excitement overcame any nervousness. I hit that shot, and everything felt back to normal,” Potter said. “I looked over, and everyone stood up and was screaming for me, teammates and parents and cheerleaders. It felt great to see everyone so supportive of me.”

Dizon said he didn’t see any rust from the standout guard.

“If you watched her play, you wouldn’t have known she missed over a month and a half,” Dizon said. “She came out and played well. I was really happy with her conditioning. She really dedicated herself to staying in shape in case there was that chance she could come back.”

Potter said it was tough to sit out and just watch, but it gave her a different perspective on the game. She also said she was impressed with the way everyone on the young team stepped up, worked to overcome adversity and improved throughout the season.

Freshman Lexi Colaianni scored a season-best 24 points for the Cavaliers as they raced past Burrell for their sixth win.

Kiski Area (6-12, 0-9) has four games remaining, starting Monday with a nonsection home game against Oakland Catholic.

Potter and fellow senior Leah Simendinger will be celebrated on senior night Feb. 4 against section rival Plum. She said she is grateful she and Simendinger, friends since age 4, will get to play together that night.

“This has helped me realize that I can’t take anything for granted,” Potter said. “It’s important to play every game like it’s your last because you never know when it could be your last game of a season or ever. I’ve got a second chance, and I want to make the most of it for myself and my team.”

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@triblive.com or via Twitter .


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