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Burbank, 12/1/12--Hannah Lipman, (33), from Queen of Peace, dribbles up court versus Regina. | Vincent D. Johnson~for Sun-Times Media
Erin Gavin was all over the court on Saturday afternoon.
She was battling from the ground for loose balls, wrestling inside for layups and skidding along the floor as she dove repeatedly into passing lanes. One would have hardly guessed that it was the senior guard’s first game back from a broken thumb.
“She gave it her all with her thumb,” Regina senior forward Caroline Adamczyk said. “She didn’t let the injury hold her back. She did really well. It was really nice to have her out there because I missed her.”
Gavin said that she first sustained the injury when she jammed her thumb against Niles West on Nov. 15. She further injured it two days later in practice. Finally, after missing three games, two of which her team lost, Gavin returned to the court at Queen of Peace. Her feisty return, bandaged thumb and all, was greeted by rave reviews from Panthers girls basketball coach Kerry Durham.
“It’s her first game back from breaking her thumb,” Durham said. “She’s just getting her feet wet again. She did really well for today.”
Though Durham said that Gavin was cleared to play, she added that Gavin didn’t help matters by diving all over the court.
“That’s not the way you’d want to come back,” Durham said.
Yet, even as she weighed a doctor’s potential reaction to Gavin’s risky style of play, she could hardly condemn it, not after Gavin left her all on the court in the Panthers’ 47-41 loss.
“I do want her to come back that aggressive because that’s the way she plays,” Durham said, “so I’m not going to ask her to be less of a player than she is.”
Of course, as Durham noted, Gavin still had to get her feet wet out on the court. With her bandaged thumb making play difficult, Gavin badly misfired on her first shot, sending it crashing off the backboard, well wide of the basket. Then, in the second quarter, she grimaced noticeably when Queen of Peace guard Kaitlyn McCarthy swarmed her right after she had received a pass. Shortly thereafter, a loose ball bounced right off of Gavin’s hands and out of bounds.
Gavin said afterwards that her thumb hurt only when someone hit it or when she got aggressive, which she did throughout the night. In those moments of pain, however, Gavin said that her teammates lifted her up.
“When I would start thinking about it, everyone knew, and they’d be like, ‘Oh Erin, it’s fine, it’s fine,’ and they let me forget about it,” Gavin said. “It didn’t hurt a lot because I had my teammates there.”
Indeed, it was her teammates that inspired her hard-nosed play on the court. She said that her teammates pushed her past her initial fears and into her traditional playing style.
“I was obviously scared coming back but my teammates had my back. I could trust them,” Gavin said. “It obviously was going to hurt a little bit since it’s still broken, but that’s how you play, and my team played hard. I wasn’t going to let them play hard and not me.”~.