The Lady Eagles basketball team (9-3) brought home the win Friday night, January 13th against Newton High School after the devastating loss of one of their star players, Junior Guard Vanessa Elliott due to an injury.
In the first couple minutes of the game, Elliott had a fast break to the basket when she jump stopped for a routine layup. However, what seemed like a usual layup for one of the team’s leading scorers, turned into a nightmare. As she powered up from her jump stop, Vanessa tore her ACL and meniscus, while also spraining her MCL.
Now the team was faced with a choice, either fight through the loss of their teammate or accept their defeat. Senior forward, Krista Mitarotonda, huddled her teammates around, seconds before play resumed, and said two words that gave them a spark of hope, “Step Up.” The Lady Eagles battled until the last moments of the game to ultimately win 31-29. Mitarotonda had a game high 11 points, 10 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 blocks.
Moving forward, the Lady Eagles have a tough schedule coming up. They are set to face conference leader, West Morris Central, Kinnelon, Randolph, and Morristown in the next two weeks.
“We know what we have to do now to win without Vanessa. It’ll be tough, not sharing the court with her this year, but our team is extremely talented,” said Senior Captain Becca Fair. “I have full confidence in our abilities.”
When asked, Coach Moore was extremely happy and satisfied with the way the team rallied around the loss of Vanessa. “The team showed a lot of heart and determination, and will need to continue to show that moving forward.”
As for Vanessa, she is scheduled to have surgery in early February. Her recovery time ranges from six to eight months. Now looking forward, Elliot commented on her injury by saying, “Being out for such an extended period is definitely something I will be struggling with for a long time. Missing out on the rest of the season, especially with this group of seniors, is very difficult. But I look forward to next year, and hopefully a college basketball career.”