By Jeremy McDonald
MONMOUTH, Ore.– Central’s Meagan Mendazona has been through the gantlet of adversity in recent years that has challenged the Panther Senior determination leading into Thursday afternoon’s moment in the Panther Pit.
Concussion, broken wrist, mono had sidelined Mendazona for some time with the latter making her miss the majority of her Junior year coming back from their Arizona trip in December. In terms of reaching the collegiately level, her Junior year was one of her last opportunities to showcase her talents in school ball and in club ball with Coach Gary Lavender as part of the Oregon Elite Basketball Club entering her Senior Year.
There was a sense of fear, a sense of ‘am I going to bounce back’ as on the mend over a long period of time.
When that happened, I was kind of scared. I was sick for a very long time and it was my last summer to play and try to get recruited…more recruiting,” said Mendazona. “I didn’t know if I was going to be healthy for the summer. I lost a lot of weight, I was pretty bad.
“When summer came around, I wasn’t sure if I was going to get back to where I was in time. But I did luckily.”
It’s scary to think about, but Mendazona rebounded back to health. Through the adversities, she sat in the basketball gym that she’ll play in for one more season before going to Utah State University knowing that the next game could be her last.
“You never know what’s going to happen. My sophomore year I broke my wrist, it was the last game but I still had club season coming up,” said Mendazona. “So you never know if that’s going to be your last game or if you’re going to have a bunch more games.
“Right before that we just had our Arizona tournament, I wasn’t sad about I how I went out that season our anything because during the tournament. I was having a lot of fun and doing great before I got sick. Yeah it sucked my season ended, but I definitely left it all out there before that happened. So just continuing that nothing is guaranteed and everyone could be your last is definitely a big thing to remember.”
Mendazona said that she knew she had the athletic ability growing up, it was just a matter of harnessing that talent through hard work with her coaches like Gary Lavender at Oregon Elite Basketball Club or with former Central Head Coach Julie McDonald to get to this point.
But with Marc Burleson coming in to replace McDonald as Head Coach and Mendazona the lone returning starter from a playoff-qualifying team, her leadership traits will be tested before she receives her High School diploma.
It’ll be a good test and challenge for the Senior nonetheless.
“Being a point guard, I’ll have to deal with that at the next level and still be a leader no matter where I go. So being able to take control this year and do that will prepare me for the next level for the next position that I’m having to fill,” said Mendazona.