Lady ‘Cats adjusting to life without Chrisman
It is hard to understate the significance of an injury in sports.
The subtraction of a player can wreak havoc not only on a team's rotation, but also its psyche.
Combined with the new roles that other players have to step into, it is easy to see why some teams flounder after a key player is lost for the season.
The Basehor-Linwood girls basketball team has now had more than a week to acclimate to Michelle Chrisman's knee injury. The team is 1-4 since Chrisman tore her ACL a week ago Monday. It hasn't helped the Lady Bobcats to endure the injury during the most brutal stretch in their schedule.
"The team is like a family," BLHS sophomore Bren Koontz said. "It is like losing one of your family members. She was really good for the team. She was one of the best defenders on the team, and she could shoot. It hurts to lose her."
It also has been tough for Chrisman to watch helplessly from the bench.
"It is very difficult for me," Chrisman said. "I didn't know how difficult it was going to be, because I had never experienced before.
"Just watching my team out there play, winning games and being so happy, I just wish I could be out there with them, happy, and I'm not. I am happy for them."
Kara Douglas has taken over Chrisman's spot in the starting lineup. The player's styles differ greatly. While Chrisman was more of a traditional small forward, with a fluid shot, ability to penetrate, and dish the ball off in traffic.
Douglas is the prototypical post player. She plays tough interior defense and racks up rebounds quickly. She has also worked hard on her offensive game.
"Michelle played the wing, and she was a shooter," Koontz said. "She could take it to the hole. Kara is really good at rebounding and finishing shots. She is really tough inside.
"Either way, it is good for the team. Kara does an awesome job getting all of those rebounds. She handled it very well, fitting in (the starting lineup).
"Michelle brings a lot to the team, spiritually wise. When we get down, Michelle is always the one going up to you and saying, 'Hey, c'mon, let's go,'" Koontz added. "She just helps you out in every way."
While the new starter plays nothing like the old starter, the Lady Bobcats have not changed the way they play.
"Kara was playing a lot of minutes before Michelle got injured," BLHS coach Tami Holthus said. "We aren't really doing anything differently."
Douglas is only one of the players who has seen her role change in Chrisman's absence.
"Megan O'Bryan is getting additional minutes," Holthus said. "It really hasn't changed anything for us."
Holthus has put Chrisman to work on the bench. Without playing, she is still a contributor.
"She is good help," Holthus said. "She charts things; we have her watch for specific things during the games. She knows what we are doing and what to look for. She helps us chart their inbounds plays. There are several things we have her look for."
Team manager Kelly Courtney now has company in her role as a behind-the-scenes aid. Courtney has performed an uncountable amount of tasks for the Lady Bobcats this season.
"Kelly helps tape (game film) on road games," Holthus said. "She takes care of all of our equipment. She is an excellent help with equipment. She has had to tape several of our road games. She is a very responsible young lady."
It has taken time to heal mentally from the injury. In Chrisman's first game spent sidelined, Basehor-Linwood won an emotional game against Fort Scott in the Bobcat Invitational basketball tournament..
"(After the game) Brooke came over and gave me a hug, and she was crying, and said, 'That was for you, baby," Chrisman said. "It is sad for me, because I wish I was out there with them, but I am happy for them."
Holthus has no doubt that Chrisman will recover completely and quickly.
"She will be back and she will be stronger and tougher," Holthus said. "That is the kind of person she is, and the kind of family that she comes from."