Carey overcomes scoliosis to lead Pointers team
SOUTH POINT, Ohio - Nobody on the South Point High School girls basketball team sits out with an insignificant injury.
With 5-foot-6 junior guard Emilee Carey on the court, no one dares.
Carey underwent surgery to repair a stress fracture in her lower back. The injury cost Carey her sophomore season. Sitting out was difficult for her and the Pointers. Carey’s return has made a tremendous difference.
South Point coach David Adams said Carey has made the Pointers significantly better.
“Emilee is a pure shooter and a big part of our team,” Adams said. “Sitting out last year was difficult for her because she loves to play.”
The stress fracture has healed, but Carey plays despite scoliosis, an irregular curve of the spine.
The stress fracture wasn’t related to the scoliosis, but her doctors said the back brace she wore the last six years might have weakened the muscles enough to lead to the break.
“I wore the brace 23 hours a day,” Carey said. “The only time I took it off was to shower, swim or play sports.”
Carey no longer has to wear the brace and her presence has made South Point a force in southeastern Ohio basketball. The Pointers (17-7) defeated Southeastern 44-24 and Coal Grove 40-28 to win the Division III, Jackson 4 sectional championship.
South Point, seeded fifth, advances to Saturday’s noon district semifinal game vs. top-seeded Eastern Brown (21-2) at the Waverly Downtown Arena. The winner meets the victor from the 1:45 p.m. Saturday district semifinal featuring Fairland (19-5) and Wheelersburg (20-4) at 3:30 p.m. on March 2.
Carey, who finished third in the Ohio Valley Conference golf tournament and led the Pointers to a spot in the district tournament, came up big against Coal Grove, which had beaten South Point twice in the regular season. She scored 10 points, three on a critical basket with 6:31 remaining to push the Pointers’ lead to 32-26.
“I think that shot kind of deflated them,” Adams said of Coal Grove, which led by eight 5:23 earlier.
That shot was big, but Carey didn’t shoot well overall. Her 3-pointer with 49 seconds left in the first quarter gave South Point an 11-7 lead, but was the only shot she made in her first 10 attempts.
Earlier this season, Carey missed a key game at Fairland because of a death in her family. The Dragons won 67-42. Ten days later, Carey scored 13 in the rematch as the Pointers fell just 59-58.
Adams said Carey “has the green light” to shoot and loves seeing her on the court. The veteran coach closely monitors her, however, to ensure she stays healthy.
“She loves to play, but I can tell when it bothers her,” Adams said of Carey’s back.
No doubt the Pointers will need a healthy Carey against Eastern-Brown. The Warriors and South Point feature only one common foe - Portsmouth.
Eastern-Brown defeated the Trojans twice, 71-16 and 73-16. The Pointers also beat Portsmouth twice, 43-23 and 48-26.