WALES — Your worst fears can keep you from things you love most.

That’s how Meagan Crosby felt last winter after a scary injury ended her season and threatened her future in basketball.

“At the beginning, I said I would never play basketball again because I was scared,” the Oak Hill senior center said. “I have family that were like, ‘You’ll play again.’ My coaches really pushed me, and I got over the hurdle.”

As the Raiders opened a promising season last weekend, Crosby was on the same court where she was injured in February. She was excited to be back and part of a team that means so much to her.

“It feels so good,” Crosby said. “Basketball is, like, my life. I’m always playing it. I play year round. So that six months where I couldn’t do it and I had restrictions, was really hard, but it’s good to be back.”

Crosby broke her leg in Oak Hill’s Western Class B preliminary loss to York on a simple-looking, second-quarter play.

“I went for a layup and I just came down and I felt a snap,” Crosby recalled. “I don’t know. I can’t really tell what happened.”

She crumbled to the floor before a hushed home crowd. After a lengthy delay, medical personnel wheeled her to a waiting ambulance.

She had a rod and screws put into her left leg. Her recovery was long, and the challenge of it all prompted fear.

“That first week after I had my surgery, I had people show up at my house and they were like, ‘You’ll get through it,'” she said. “Once I started to get off the crutches, I was like, ‘Yeah, I can do this.'”

The next hurdle was getting ready for summer basketball. She had exercises to do, but didn’t need to have extensive physical therapy. She rebuilt her strength and conditioning, but still faced the uncertainty of getting on the court again.

“I was a little nervous at first,” Crosby said. “It was a little traumatic. Once I started getting into it, I forgot about it and kept playing through. I still get a little bit of pain, but I brush it off.”

She worked her way back into the game, but the team wanted to be careful with her return.

“She’s got a lot of heart, that kid,” Oak Hill coach Charlie Castonguay said. “All summer long, she just battled. She’d get beat up. I had a couple of games I just refused to play her. I said, ‘We’ve got to have you playing in the winter not in the summer.’ She just wanted to play.”

At one point, Castonguay decided to shut her down. Though she was cleared to participate, her ability to play was contingent on her ability to deal with lingering soreness.

“She plays with an awful lot of pain, but you wouldn’t know it,” Castonguay said. “She won’t tell you. She just wants to play. We limited her play at times. The doctor said it was up to her. She was going to have pain from running. She could do what she felt she could do and back it off if she needed to but she doesn’t back it off.”

Crosby was in the starting lineup and scored three points in the first quarter against St. Dom’s in Saturday’s season-opening 60-28 win. Her basket in the post was part of a 15-0 run that broke the game open. She’s part of an experienced and deep inside game for the Raiders, joining veterans Kayla Veilleux, Brianna Mulherin, Sara Noel and Grace Sabine in the post. Few teams will be able to match the Raiders’ size, depth, athleticism and balance in the paint.

“She’s playing hard right now,” Castonguay said. “Unless she gets hit on that leg, it’s not a bother to her. She’s going to be solid for us. We’ve got three or four really good inside players.”

With 10 returning players and six seniors, the Raiders have high hopes for this season. That makes it all that much greater to be back. It was her basketball family that helped her recover and find a way back to the game.

“It’ been really hard,” Crosby said. “I have really good teammates and coaches and family members that have helped me and pushed me to get back at it. I’m just happy to be back.”

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