FORT WAYNE – The timing couldnt have been any better for Addie Reimbold and the Bishop Luers girls basketball team as the juniors return from an injury after six weeks coincided with yet another deep postseason run for the program.
The forward missed eight games with a stress fracture in her left foot and returned for the second game of the sectional Feb. 8.
Luers has outscored five Class 2A postseason opponents 330-179 and is one win away from a fourth consecutive state finals appearance.
When Addie came back, things changed, Luers coach Denny Renier said.
Our defense is really revved up. They are playing like I thought they could.
When she came back, it was like a breath of life.
She may not be our most valuable player, but she is our best all-around player. It was a lot to lose on a (young) team like ours. We couldnt afford that. But all the kids have picked it up.
The No. 14 Knights have rolled through three sectional and two regional opponents.
They play a semistate game Saturday against No. 6 Eastern (21-3) at Warsaw with the winner advancing to the state finals March 2 in Terre Haute.
After losing three starters from last years 2A state runner-up team, Luers struggled to a 9-11 regular-season record while trying to blend the old (returning starters Reimbold and fellow junior Allison Butler) with the new (freshmen Tashayla Sutorius, Taya Andrews and Emma Wolfe).
But with Reimbold back, the Knights (14-11) are playing like their former dominant selves.
We are scoring as many points as we did last year, Renier said. Thats unbelievable to me. We lost 75 percent of our scoring from last year, and we are less than one point below what we scored last year (59-58 ppg).
Reimbold, who didnt have surgery, played on the stress fracture for two months before being diagnosed with the injury after a SAC tournament loss to South Side. She spent a month on crutches and two weeks in a walking boot.
We knew six weeks was the second game of sectionals so we planned it out well, Reimbold said.
The 5-foot-8 Reimbold averages 9.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.2 steals but more importantly gives the team an energy boost.
We are glad to have her back, Butler said. She brings a better energy to the team, and we are more upbeat. She gets the loose balls and does all the dirty work for us.
It didnt hurt that as the young players began to develop and Reimbold came back, the Knights arent facing the kind of competition they get in the regular season, specifically in the SAC.
Playing a tougher schedule definitely prepares us for a postseason run, Butler said. You are always going to have failures, but you have to fail before you can succeed. Learning from our mistakes definitely helped us get better.
Class 2A: Eastern (Greentown) (21-3) vs. Bishop Luers (14-11), 4 p.m.
Class 4A: South Side (23-3) vs. Warsaw (24-1), 6 p.m.
Class A: Lafayette Central Catholic (17-9) vs. Canterbury (23-3), 1 p.m.
Class 3A: Hamilton Heights (22-2) vs. Benton Central (22-3), 3 p.m.