Monday, December 31, 2012

GIRLS BASKETBALL NOTEBOOK: Bears gaining inspiration from injured Mullen

By Darryl Grumling

Though Brooke Mullen won’t likely be able to see any on-court action during this season, the senior is nonetheless an integral part of Boyertown’s team.
Mullen, a two-time Pioneer Athletic Conference first team selection and key element on the Bears’ PAC-10 championship squads in 2009-10 and 2010-11, was eagerly anticipating her fourth year as a starter.
Unfortunately, she suffered a knee injury in a late October tournament on the Bears’ home court. In a cruel irony, an MRI the following day — Oct. 29, when Hurricane Sandy was ravaging the area and beyond — revealed a torn ACL in her left knee.
Mullen underwent surgery in November, and faces a six-to-nine month rehab period before she can get back onto the court.
“The toughest part is that I can’t be out there contributing to the team,” she admitted. “It’s not so much about being able to play for personal reasons, but about not being able to play with my teammates.”
Still, Mullen has made her presence felt for the Bears, who are off to a 7-2 start after bringing home their fourth straight Bear Holiday Classic title Friday.
Similar to former Bears starter Krista Schauder — who missed her senior campaign last year due to a knee injury — Mullen still suits up with the squad and serves as an inspirational leader.
“She’s definitely a big part of the team,” Boyertown coach Jason Bieber said. “We gave her a role, and I told her she’d be like a ‘student/coach’ this year to try and help the kids out, and convey to them all of the knowledge she has.
“She’s at all our practices, and she’s a leader both in the locker room and on the bench. She’s been real positive in helping out when she can.”
Mullen has also used a positive outlook to kick-start her rehab process as she works to return to the court and play in college.
“Sometimes if you’re playing out on the court you can get frustrated, but sitting on the bench you have a different outlook on things,” Mullen said. “I can always be positive no matter what on the bench. I see different things that I wouldn’t if I was out on the court, and that’s going to make me an even better player.”
Owen J. Roberts sophomore guard Nikki Testa scored a career-high 21 points in the Wildcats’ 52-33 victory over Lyndhurst, N.J., in a Boardwalk Classic opener late Saturday night at Wildwood, N.J. ... Pope John Paul II, the area’s last remaining unbeaten squad, fell to perennial District 1 and PIAA Class AAAA power Mount St. Joseph, 48-29, in Saturday’s title game of the Snear Classic. It was the seventh straight tourney crown for the Magic. ... Pottsgrove senior guard Marisa Kinneer, the area’s 3-point leader with 29, has hit five 3s on three different occasions.
League play resumes Thursday, with Methacton playing host to Boyertown in a battle of Liberty Division playoff hopefuls.
In other key games, Frontier Division leader Pope John Paul II visits Boyertown Saturday and Spring-Ford takes on St. Anthony’s (N.Y.) Saturday in the Under Armour Classic at Lower Merion.

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