PIQUA — It has been almost exactly a year since Lexee Brewer tore several ligaments in her right knee during a Miami Valley League game at Stebbins, and her recovery is ongoing. But she is back on the court and is hoping to be as good as before the injury sometime soon.
After scoring six points in Sidney’s first three games, Brewer scored 12 points in an MVL game on Wednesday at Piqua to help the squad earn a 75-16 victory.
Brewer, a senior guard, had surgery in December shortly after the injury and had another procedure in July. Many physical therapy sessions have helped her recover.
“It’s been a struggle, but all the hard work is (paying off),” Brewer said. “I’m just ready to keep finishing the season out.”
Brewer is a four-year starter and was an all-MVL selection as a freshman and sophomore. She averaged 10.2 points, 6.8 steals, 4.2 rebounds and 3.6 assists in five games last year before her injury. Those averages are around what she averaged in her first two years.
Brewer still wasn’t fully cleared when practice began in late October and has been inching her way back into shape.
“I could only do a couple things (when practice started) and was still getting my way back into it,” Brewer said. “At the last scrimmage, I was fully (cleared). …It’s still a struggle, going up and stuff. Mentally, it’s a little bit off. But I’m figuring it out and getting stronger every day.
“It’s been hard, but seeing the game from a different perspective has been cool.”
That different perspective has been from the bench, where she helped the squad the remainder of last season and over the summer. Brewer is also a standout soccer player and was unable to play this fall, but helped that team out from the sidelines.
“I definitely can see the game in a different way,” Brewer said. “I can see the floor better and just know the game a lot better. It’s helped me a lot.”
Brewer was one of five players who scored in double figures in Wednesday’s victory, which had a running clock the entire second half.
It was a big bounce-back win after a 68-43 loss to defending Division III state champion Cincinnati Purcell Marian on Sunday in an invitational tournament in Cincinnati.
The Cavaliers were the latest tough opponent Sidney (2-2, 2-0 MVL Valley) has seen in the last month in scrimmages and nonconference games. While the final scores haven’t been what the squad has wanted, Brewer said it should help lead to better results as the season progresses.
“We needed to see that competition and we needed to know where we need to be at,” Brewer said. “To come out today and start strong, that’s what we wanted, to start another winning streak.”
Sidney scored the first 16 points on Wednesday and led 25-4 at the end of the first quarter, then used a 19-4 scoring edge in the second to take a 50-8 halftime lead and push the advantage over 35 points, which ensured the second half would start with a running clock.
The Yellow Jackets outscored the Indians (0-3, 0-2 MVL Miami) 19-2 in the third quarter; both squads scored six points in the fourth.
Brewer scored four points in the first to help aid in the quick start.
“It takes reps,” Sidney coach Jamal Foster said. “As long as she missed and as hard as she’s worked, you need that time on the court. Instinctively, you still see the things that make her great.
“We just have to put the ball in her hands and understand that some mistakes are going to happen, but getting enough quarters and enough minutes, she’s slowly getting back into form. That’s really great to see, because she’s really worked hard and is a great young lady.
“… She’s been working her tail off to stay healthy and is doing all the right things to produce on the court. A night like tonight is really great to see.”
Senior guard Allie Stockton, also a four-year starter, led the squad with 21 points. Sophomore guard Jordan Scully scored 18. Senior forward Regan Clark and sophomore guard Larkyn Vordemark each scored 10.
Those four and Brewer all started games last year, as did sophomore forward Kelis McNeal and junior guard Kiara Hudgins, who is recovering from a knee procedure and is expected back in the middle of regular season.
Despite all the returnees, Foster said the group is still trying to find chemistry, as they’ve played with each other at different points, since some have missed time for various reasons.
“Lexee is such a big part of our defense and was missed, but other girls are stepping up, and we’re getting better,” Foster said. “We really trust Kelis McNeal, who is taking that next step forward as a defender. Jordan’s improving, Larkyn’s improving. The things that Allie and Regan do on the interior is important.
“We want to be able to defend as a unit. And especially with Ki out, we want to be full force, so when we get her back and have our full numbers, we’re in our full swing on defense.”
Contact Bryant Billing at (937) 538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.