Archive for Wednesday, March 8, 2006

Baskas endure rough week on, off court

March 8, 2006

The Baska family had more than their share of bad news last week.

Elizabeth Baska found out early last week that a knee injury she sustained Feb. 26 in a basketball game against Basehor-Linwood required surgery.

It originally was thought the sophomore simply had sprained her knee and would be able to play in substate action last week.

But further tests showed she had torn her ACL. And last Wednesday, she had knee surgery in Lawrence.

"Well, I was upset that I couldn't play," Baska said. "I never really freaked out."

Although Baska couldn't attend Thursday's substate semifinal game against Bonner Springs, she gave THS coaches a letter she had prepared.

"Tuesday night I wrote them a little note that I wasn't going to be there but just encouraged them to beat Bonner and that I would be there Saturday," she said, referring to the substate championship.

Baska sat on the bench with her team on Saturday as her parents, Mark and Chris Baska, also were at the game to cheer on Tonganoxie against Sumner in Kansas City, Kan.

"I think the girls were just happy I was there, because I couldn't make it to Thursday's game," Elizabeth said. "I didn't get to talk to them, but I think it meant a lot that I was there."

The teams were tied in the closing seconds, but Sumner defeated Tonganoxie on a late free throw.

It was a tough loss to take, but the Baskas learned more disheartening news while at the game -- Elizabeth's older brother Billy, who plays football at Missouri Southern, was in the hospital after being shot in the eye with an air-pellet gun. A friend accidentally shot Billy, his mother said Monday.

"I don't know how it happened Saturday night when we were at substate," Chris said. "I think they were just playing around the house or something. I don't know what they were doing."

On Monday, Mark was in Joplin, Mo., visiting his son, whom Chris said was going to make a full recovery.

"He has to be on bed rest for a little bit," Chris said. "And they have to keep it from bleeding. They can't reopen the wound again. That's where the danger came in."

A sophomore at Missouri Southern, Billy lettered last fall as a free safety on the Lions football team and was a standout running back and safety for the THS football team.

For the two active siblings, it likely will be a slow spring.

Billy's injury prevents him from participating in spring football drills, which begin this week in Joplin.

And Elizabeth will be confined to rehab for six months before she's able to compete again.

"I'm looking forward to being back next year," Elizabeth said. "I'm looking forward to being back next year. I don't get to play all summer, so I'll have to work really hard to rehab, to be just as good if not better."

By the time Elizabeth is ready to compete again, it will be volleyball season in August -- and she'll be a junior. About four months later, Elizabeth will get back on the hardwood for basketball, with hopes of her team making a trip back to state in Salina, where last year's squad finished fourth.

In fact, Elizabeth said she could see the Chieftains celebrating a state title in 2007.

"I think we'll be really strong and that much more motivated because we didn't get it this year," she said. "But next year we'll have a really good chance and probably go all the way."

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