FORT LORAMIE — Marissa Meiring had a great start to her freshman season — the best start Carla Siegel has seen from a freshman in the 19 years she’s coached at Fort Loramie.
But after starting the first six games last year, Meiring tore the ACL in her left knee. She not only spent the rest of the season on the bench, but she also spent all summer on the bench when Fort Loramie (3-1) participated in summer leagues and shootouts.
“It was a long rehab, seven months,” Meiring said. “But I worked really hard, and that’s why I’m as good as I am today.”
The time on the bench coupled with the hard work in rehab has helped Meiring, a 5-foot-8 sophomore forward, have a good start to her sophomore season. Through Loramie’s first four games, Meiring has averaged 10 points and has been active on the boards according to Siegel.
Meiring’s best game so far was last Saturday against Botkins when she had 11 points and 11 rebounds.
“She’s just fun to watch,” Siegel said. “She gets her hand on the ball. Wherever the ball is, she’s there. It’s great to have a player like that. We’re lucky.”
Meiring, who also plays volleyball, was the first player ever to start the first game of her freshman season for Siegel. After averaging 11.3 points, 8.7 rebounds and 3.5 steals per game in the first six games, the ACL tear forced her to the bench.
“It was really hard just sitting there watching and not playing with my teammates, especially the seniors,” Meiring said. “… I just sat on the bench and watched.”
She didn’t waste her time on the bench, though. After watching Loramie’s last 19 games and then a summer’s worth of play, she noticed a lot, from defensive positioning to offensive movement to shot selection.
“It was a good learning experience from the bench to see the different aspects of the game,” Meiring said. “… I think I’ve been able to transfer it from actually seeing it to doing it on the court. It’s a lot easier to actually visualize it, that’s how I think it’s helped me.”
Meiring said the biggest area she’s improved is on defense.
“Just learning what other people do and being able to get in front of them and adjust to them on defense is what I think stuck out the most,” Meiring said. “… I worked really hard this season to be back better than ever.”
Meiring has helped lead a suffocating Fort Loramie defense. The Redskins have allowed an average of 32 points per game and haven’t given up more than 35 points.
Outside of the second quarter of a 35-26 loss to Minster last Tuesday, during which time the Wildcats scored 20 points, opponents have struggled to find any good shot attempts and have had an even harder time trying to get offensive rebounds.
“Everything starts with defense for us,” Siegel said. “We’ve got to defend well to play well, and I just can’t get over how our team has the hands on the ball all the time. …We’ve still got some things to get better at but I’m happy with how we’re defending early in the year.”
Fort Loramie returns to Shelby County Athletic League action on Saturday at Fairlawn. The Redskins are 2-0 in SCAL play and are tied for first with Russia.
Contact Bryant Billing at (937) 538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter.