Less than six games into the season, Dewitt lost both Kelsey Geiger and Emily Ryan — players he considers to be two of the most important on the team — to injury.
A senior, Geiger fractured her pinkie against Creekview on Nov. 30. Ryan, a junior, suffered a bone bruise in her knee in the very next game, against North Springs on Dec. 4.
“When they went out hurt, they left some big shoes to fill,” Dewitt said.
Now, with more than a month having passed since they have last taken the court, Ryan and Geiger look as if they will make their return Friday against Pope, giving Sequoyah a much-needed boost as it enters Region 7AAAAA play.
For Dewitt, their return couldn’t come soon enough.
“It is going to be a tremendous benefit to have them back,” he said. “With them back, we will have two of our best ball-handlers and smartest players back. Our game is going to improve just by having them step on the court.”
With Ryan the Lady Chiefs’ only true point guard, replacing her proved more than difficult, said Dewitt.
“Emily is not only a playmaker and a leader on the floor, she also led the team in 3-point shooting and would normally lead us assists before she got hurt,” Dewitt said of Ryan, who was averaging 11.2 points through five games and shooting 65 percent from the field. “She is an extension of the coaching staff when she plays.”
With Geiger, Dewitt lost not only one of his most prolific shooters, but one of Sequoyah’s most intelligent players.
“She is probably the smartest player on the roster,” Dewitt said. “When you lose someone like that, your players lose a bit of confidence. Kelsey would provide the team with stability — she knew where everyone should be on the court at all times. For a while, we had some players running around lost out there without her.”
With Geiger’s basketball career coming to an end, the remainder of the season is the last chance she will have to play the game.
“Since it is my senior season and I won’t be playing next year, I really wanted this to be the best season ever, but now I’ve missed more than half of it,” said Geiger, who will be attending Georgia next year. “Now, I’m just excited to get back to play my last few games of organized basketball ever with a team that I’m very close to.”
After being told that she might miss the entire season due to her knee injury, Ryan is relieved that she will be able to once again take the court.
“I’m really looking forward to playing because it is the last chance that I will have to play with this group of seniors before they’re gone,” Ryan said. “I’ve been waiting for this season for a long time.”
Without Ryan and Geiger, the Lady Chiefs had struggled to a 7-9 record heading into Tuesday’s game, a record Dewitt found disappointing. But with the players’ return, Dewitt feels Sequoyah now has a good chance to improve in every aspect of the game.
“With them coming back, I think we can turn our season around and put it in the direction that it needs to go,” he said. “It’s going to be fun to see them back out there in a Sequoyah jersey where they belong.”