The weight of the Ryan girls team rested unsteadily on the shoulders of Teana Ogden when she drove toward the basket in a Class 4A playoff game last year against Amarillo Palo Duro.
The point guard was leading her team back from a second-half deficit when a Palo Duro defender stepped in front of her.
Ogden tried to stop, and her left knee gave out. The moment Ryan coach Monesha Allen heard Ogden scream, she knew Ogden had torn the ACL in her knee.
That moment sparked a change in Ogden, her team and her coach.
Ogden recovered and has been Ryan’s leader this season heading into a 6 p.m. game today at Coppell.
Ogden is still leading the Lady Raiders (14-16, 3-3 District 5-5A) and averages about 12 points per game. But the dynamic has changed, Allen said.
“We have come to the reality of the big picture,” Allen said. “At the end of the day, she can’t do it without us and we can’t do it without her. We all have to have one another, and that’s definitely what we realize now and we focus on, and our camaraderie has been so much better.”
The senior who has signed to play at Oral Roberts will graduate from Ryan with a hefty set of accolades. She’s earned two district MVP awards, a newcomer of the year award and an all-state selection.
She will be the second player in Allen’s 11-year tenure to be a four-year starter and the first to play for a Division I university.
Ogden wasn’t always the one Ryan’s offense counted on.
When the 5-5 guard started as a freshman, Allen said, she was a little quiet and tentative on a team featuring De’Amber Wilhite, who signed with SMU but never played there.
However, senior center Danielle Richardson remembers when the two were in practice one day during their freshman year and she failed to catch a pass from Ogden. Ogden yelled at Richardson and Richardson cried.
“My freshman year, I wasn’t the leader on the team,” Ogden said. “My sophomore year, I started picking up that role and started seeing that you can’t get mad at everything. You have to have patience with people.”
Richardson said that when Ogden’s on the court, things are much easier. Defenders are sucked in when Ogden drives into the paint and are shifted around the court when Ogden passes the ball around, opening up her teammates and creating opportunities for them.
Richardson said Ogden has grown tremendously since their days as freshmen.
“She makes me feel more confident about myself,” Richardson said. “When I get frustrated, she’ll come over and talk to me and tell me I can do it and she believes in me.”
When Ogden went down against Palo Duro, the burden of the offense and Ryan’s playoff hopes fell on Richardson and Rahsheeba Walker.
Allen said the rest of Ryan’s players elevated their level of play when “T” — what the Lady Raiders call Ogden — was injured.
“We were leaning and depending on her that game, and I felt the team was so nervous that they were just kind of in a rut,” Allen said. “They didn’t know what to do besides give the ball to T, see if T can get it done.”
Ryan ended up losing 44-36. Ogden started the process of rehabilitating the knee in time for hersenior year. The process involved lots of weights and exercises to help the knee get stronger.
Ogden has worn a brace on her left knee all year, one she’ll finally take off in April — six months after the surgery.
Allen said the injury has rekindled her starting point guard’s passion for the sport, a fire she stoked after she gave up her childhood sport of soccer to play basketball more seriously.
After her injury, Ogden pledged on a sticky note to never cheat in the weight room and never be lax when working out.
“She just learned how much she loved the game,” Allen said. “When something is taken away from you, that’s when you miss it the most.”
Ogden said she is moderately nervous about reinjuring her knee because doesn’t want to start the rehab process all over.
The senior said she’s ready to play for Oral Roberts next year and she’s excited about what life outside of Ryan will bring. But there’s still more for her to accomplish in her senior season. She understands her role as a leader on a team with only two other seniors and will be ready, knee brace and all, for the playoffs.
“I think it’s a big role and I think I can handle it, so I try to do my best to keep everyone on the same page,” Ogden said.
BEN BABY can be reached 940-566-6869. His e-mail address is email@example.com .