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Southmoreland's Bentz staying positive after injury

| Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013, 12:48 p.m.
Junior Mariah Bentz suffered a season-ending knee injury in the first quarter of the first game of the season. Kelly Vernon | Independent-Observer

Mariah Bentz had high hopes for her junior year as a member of the Southmoreland basketball team.

Those hopes were dashed quite early.

Bentz suffered a season-ending knee injury in the first quarter of the campaign's first game, Dec. 7 in the Southmoreland Tip-Off Tournament.

“I jumped up to get a rebound, came down, landed, shooting pain in my knee, heard the pop, fell to the ground,” Bentz recalled, adding that she stayed until the end of the game before being taken to Excela Frick Hospital. “I wasn't just going to leave in the first quarter, because I'm not going to leave them.”

The initial diagnosis was a sprain of the knee, but after some time on crutches, icing the knee and exercises she found that not to be the case.

An MRI revealed the left knee was torn.

“I don't think it sunk in until a few days later,” Bentz said.

The 6-foot-1-inch forward came to a game and told the coaching staff of the injury, but waited until after that contest to share the news with her teammates.

“I wanted them to focus on the game and not on a player being out,” she said. “I broke down on the spot. We were all crying.”

Bentz admits she's not happy about being on the sidelines, but does see a silver lining.

“I'm glad it's my junior year. If it was my senior year I'd feel horrible,” Bentz said.

She is scheduled for knee surgery Jan. 25.

“I'll be able to play again in six to eight months,” Bentz said. “I'm hoping I'll be able to come back stronger and more powerful next year for them and for me.”

Bentz is a definitely leader for the squad. It's a role she filled nicely as just a sophomore last season and is a reason she continues to be a team captain.

“She's that leader,” said coach Brian Pritts. “She's the kid that's been around the program now. She's been here. She's been on the floor for the varsity team the last two years. She's that big, 6-foot-1 presence that we're missing. It's a big loss. Hopefully, she's gaining some insight into the other parts of the game you don't get when you're playing. Watching the game, being around the coaches a little bit more is going to help her when she comes back.”

Bentz knows she still fills an important role.

“I just keep being positive,” she said. “If you do what you do they should be fine. I just hope they realize how good they are. I love all them so much. I like to watch them grow.”

Pritts agrees.

“She's very peppy,” he said. “She's very supportive of her teammates. She's really trying to encourage them. She's very positive.”

Paul Paterra is a staff editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-887-6101 or

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