O’Brien, just shy of the 1,000-point scoring plateau, would not get to help her team defend its Division 2 state championship. But despite the injury, O’Brien was going to start her senior season — she just didn’t know it.
On Dec. 18 at the Rockets’ home opener against Burlington, Reading coach Kim Penney told O’Brien to bring her uniform for a team photo. Before the opening tip-off, Penney told O’Brien she was starting.
Confused, O’Brien took the floor. Center Olivia Healy won the tap, the ball was passed to O’Brien and, following her coach’s instructions, she threw the ball out of bounds.
O’Brien left the court to a standing ovation and watched her team cruise to a 55-39 win.
She can proudly say she started in her senior season.
“It was a complete surprise,” said O’Brien, who will have surgery Jan. 2. “They were planning it for two weeks. It was amazing because I saw so many people in the stands to support me. I’m so thankful for everyone who took part in it.”
Anthony Gulizia can be reached at email@example.com.