BY JEFF FALK
There is no one on the local scholastic basketball scene who means more to her team than Emily Brandt does to the Northern Lebanon girls’ basketball club. But the key to the Vikings’ success this season may hinge on their ability to adapt to life without Brandt.
Brandt, a senior point guard, recently tore the ACL in her knee in a game against Manheim Central. Brandt was involved in a defensive slide when the injury occurred and her knee gave way.
Playing basketball with a torn ACL is a very difficult, but not impossible proposition. Brandt plans to attempt a comeback this season, but exactly when and how are sketchy.
“She’s getting rehab,” reported Northern Lebanon head coach Ken Battistelli. “She’s going to try to put a brace on and see what she can do. I don’t know how it’s going to go.
“We were hopeful she might be able to come back next week,” Battistelli added. “But I don’t know if that’s realistic at this point. I don’t know.”
Even if she does return, there is a question as to what level Brandt will be able to perform. But it could be that a Brandt who is 50 percent of her former self is better than no Brandt at all.
“When it happened, she went down and was in a tremendous amount of pain,” said Battistelli. “When it happened, we actually extended our lead. In our four games since it happened, we’re 3-1. But we’ve played good and we’ve played hard.”
Right now, Northern Lebanon stands at 7-4 overall and 4-2 in Section Three of the Lancaster-Lebanon League. Before Brandt’s injury, the Vikings had designs on a section title, a league playoff berth and a spot in districts.
Those goals are still within reach, but some of the healthy Vikings will have to assume more on-court responsibility than they ever have before.
“We’ve depended on her to do so much for so long,” said Battistelli of Brandt. “(Mariah) LiBrandi has stepped in at point guard, but everybody’s picked up the scoring. The confidence level hasn’t gone down at all. We sure haven’t surrendered.”