Buzzer-beater decides small-school basketball thriller
University of Kentucky women’s basketball commit Cassidy Rowe, who returned late in her freshman season from a torn ACL, has suffered another setback.
Rowe tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee during a summer scrimmage with her high school team, Shelby Valley, on Tuesday. The sophomore-to-be tore the ACL in her right knee last July while playing with her AAU team, Kentucky Premier.
UK offered a scholarship to Rowe, whose recruitment soared following an eye-catching eighth-grade season, soon after she suffered her first injury. She committed to the Wildcats less than a month later.
Lonnie Rowe, Cassidy’s father and head coach at Shelby Valley, said Cassidy will begin pre-surgery therapy Thursday morning and will undergo surgery next week.
“She started playing summer ball Monday and, I’ll be honest, looked as good as I’ve ever seen her play,” Lonnie said. “She was moving really well and you probably couldn’t tell she’d had surgery except for the brace she had on. And then last night, we were playing East Ridge, she gets a steal and goes in for a layup, and comes off two feet and just goes down.”
Cassidy played in five games late in Shelby Valley’s season last year, including a one-point loss to Johnson Central in the 15th Region semifinals, and was “at about 75 or 80 percent,” Lonnie said. She had not yet played with Kentucky Premier this year, choosing to rest for a couple months prior to Shelby Valley’s June camp.
UK’s staff has been in touch since her second tear.
“They’re extremely supportive and they just let her know that they’re in this for the long haul with her,” Lonnie said. “They told her they’re gonna be by her side through the whole process and that they’d get through it together.”
Rowe isn’t the only UK commit dealing with a second ACL tear. Erin Toller, a Sacred Heart standout who will be a senior this fall, tore an an ACL in December after suffering her first tear last February. Toller told the Courier-Journal she hopes to be ready in August.
“It’s a very difficult time for both of ’em,” Lonnie said. “Both kids are such hard workers. I hate to see any kid go through that, especially ones that work extremely hard.”
Lonnie said Cassidy “hit the weights hard” while she couldn’t play basketball before, and suspects his daughter will take that same approach this second go-around.
“She wants to sit out and improve,” Lonnie said.