Wednesday, December 27, 2006

A Christmas tradition

It's right up there with Rudolph, mistletoe and decking the halls: Hannah Donaghe getting injured.

For the third season in a row, the standout senior Atascadero High girls basketball player will be missing December games because of an on-court injury.

In 2004-05, knee tendonitis sidlined her for 12 games. Last year, an ankle sprain kept her out for eight. And after banging hips with an opposing player in Friday's 52-40 win over defending league champion Righetti, Donaghe's been diagnosed with a knee strain that's expected to keep her out of somewhere between three and six games.

It's jokeworthy only because the injuries aren't extremely serious. This blog would have a decidedly more somber tone if the Stanford-bound Donaghe's career was in jeopardy.

Greyhounds coach Paul Hill was not joking when he was ejected after an altercation with Righetti coach Harold Oliviera as Donaghe lay writhing in pain in the third quarter.

Hill missed the fourth quarter and sat out Wednesday's 46-41 loss to West Bakersfield in accordance with CIF regulations.

As he returns to the bench today, he has to be concerned about the impact Donaghe's void will have on a team hoping to win its first league title in nine years.

Atascadero (9-2) is 2-0 in PAC 7 play after beating Righetti, the preseason favorite to win after returning Cal Poly signee Kristina Santiago, and Arroyo Grande, last year's second place team in the PAC 5.

But Donaghe, the leading scorer on the Central Coast with 24.2 points per game, is expected to miss one league game and might not be her usual self immediately when she returns.

By the end of the season, Donaghe could end up with a slew of Most Valuable awards and All-this-and-that honors. But the way her teammates respond while she mends up could make the Greyhounds as a title team — or break them.

Their happy New Year depends on it.

No comments: