Wiley surpasses 1,000-point mark
Charles Prince, Hartselle Enquirer
She was in clear on a fast break, dribbling up court, only one defender remained between her and the basket. She drove the lane and went into the air for a lay up, but as she jumped the defender jumped and two girls collided. Both girls crashed to the floor and the knees of both players crashed into each other.
She tried to get up but her knee was locked, she fell back to the court and burst into tears. The pain was immense. The anterior cruciate ligament in her knee had torn in two.
It was January 2003 at West Morgan High School where Falkville's Meagan Wiley had the collision that threatened to end her high school career a year early. Meagan was out for the rest of her junior year. Full re-constructive knee surgery would follow and the pain that resulted was almost more than she could handle.
"The pain was really bad," Wiley said. "I didn't know it would hurt so much after the surgery was over."
Soon rehab would begin the long road back to the court and the game she loves. She started with bike riding each day, but this provided it's own challenge on the road to recovery.
"The first two weeks of rehab I would come home exhausted," Wiley said. "But then I began to get stronger and I got used to it and it wasn't so tiring to me."
After building up her strength, she moved on to more intensive therapy, bending and rotating the knee, and finally she progressed to lifting weights as the final stage of the knee's mending process.
Despite the long grueling rehab, Wiley never doubted she would be back to play basketball her senior year.
"I knew I would come back," Wiley said. "I knew if I worked hard at rehab I could get back on the court."
Seven months after surgery Meagan was on the volleyball team competing for the Lady Blue Devils. She wore a brace to stabilize the knee that had been damaged. Meagan wentthrough the volleyball season
with no knee pain and played as well as before the surgery.
Basketball would prove to be a different story, the brace actually held her back. She was not as aggressive with the basketball as she was prior to the injury. The cuts she was used to making on the knee to get to the basket were gone. She was not the player she had been before the injury.
She averaged only eight points per game with the brace, after averaging in more than 13 points a game in her junior year before the injury. Her doctor had told Meagan that the brace could come off in November-it was now December and she hadn't removed the brace. The low moment of her season came against Danville in a holiday tournament. Wiley scored only one point against the Lady Hawks.
"I think she was scared to take it off," Meagan's mother Charlotte Wiley said. "I think she was afraid she might re-injure herself."
Falkville head coach Kent Tucker encouraged her to take the brace off. He hoped he could convince her to remove it. Tucker explained to Wiley that she had only shot 33 free throws through the first 11 games of the season, 30 foul shots less than through 11 games the season before. Wiley instantly decided to take the brace off.
Removing the brace proved to be the right decision as her scoring average went up immediately. Everyone could see that Wiley was playing the game the way she had played it prior to her injury.
"I could see my game start picking up," Wiley said. "When I took the brace off and began scoring again, I knew the brace had held me back."
Wiley scored in double figures in 12 straight games, her scoring average went up to 14.5 points a game. Soon the 1,000-career point milestone was within sight and the fear of re-injury was in the past.
On Feb. 2, the Milestone became a reality when Falkville hosted Mount Hope High. Wiley passed the mark when she scored on a put back of a rebound with 3:12 to play in the opening period.
"Getting a 1,000 points is great. It was a goal of mine after the coaches told me I was getting close," Wiley said. "But, I wanted the team to win, I didn't want to focus on me scoring."
The game was stopped after the historic basket and the ball was presented to Wiley commemorating the occasion. She took the ball and sprinted up into the stands where she presented the ball to her parents, Charlotte and Jared Wiley.
Wiley felt that her parents deserved the ball because they helped her to get through the months of rehab.
"My parents preached to me to work hard at rehab," Wiley said. "They said if I did that I could come back strong and play again. Without their help, this night would not have happened."