Basketball not all for Southern

March 02, 1994|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,Sun Staff Writer

When Dr. Bijon Bahmanyar invites Laekeka Wesley and Megan Ebersole to his annual party this spring, the two Southern seniors will accept with pleasure.

Bahmanyar works in the shock trauma unit at Prince George's County Hospital and stages the party for his survivors. Wesley and Ebersole are among them.

On Jan. 12, while driving home after basketball practice, Wesley, Southern's leading scorer and rebounder, and Ebersole, a key reserve, were nearly killed. The basketball season ended that night for both girls.

"Megan was dropping me off at home," said Wesley, who didn't return to school until last week. "It was dark and overcast. A lady was going northbound in the southbound lane on Route 2 and hit us head on."

The accident had just occurred when Southern assistant Bob Groveston, on his way home, arrived and recognized the girls. Ebersole, the driver, was unconscious.

"Mr. Groveston," Wesley cried, "help me."

Fearing the car would burst into flames at any instant, Groveston broke the driver's side window with his fist and used part of a street sign to pry open the jammed door. He called 911 on his car phone.

"The doctor said the reason both lived was due to quick medical attention and the fact they were wearing seat belts," said Southern coach Linda Kilpatrick.

Wesley had two collapsed lungs and two fractured ribs and was in the hospital for 4 1/2 weeks.

Ebersole had a collapsed lung, a broken wrist, ankle and collarbone, and had to have half of her liver removed. She is out of the hospital but has yet to return to school.

"We told the team the day after the accident that the doctor didn't know if either girl would live," Kilpatrick said. "There were lessons for everybody: Wins and losses aren't that important and teen-agers aren't invincible. It struck so close to home. We needed to stick together."

For all practical purposes, Southern's season ended Jan. 12. Wesley, second-team All-Metro last season, was averaging 18 points, 18 rebounds and four steals. Ebersole was contributing off the bench. A few weeks before, Southern had lost another starter, Laura Stockett, for the season with a knee injury.

Before the accident, Southern was 5-5. It won only one of 12 after that, finishing the regular season at 6-16 and failing to make the playoffs for the first time in 15 years.

The one redeeming feature of Friday night's 84-67 loss to Northeast in the finale was the presence at the game of Ebersole, who had recuperated to the point where, for the first time, she could attend a game.

"It's been amazing and gratifying,all the calls and cards that have come in from coaches, other teams and officials," Kilpatrick said. "We tend to be so competitive, professing to hate each other, so it's nice to see such concern."

Before the Southern-South River game, the South River captains gave a bouquet of flowers to Wesley, who was sitting on the bench in street clothes.

Without the knowledge of her mother, Betsy, Wesley had phoned Bahmanyar, asking if she could play the last few games of the season. The answer was no.

She will be allowed to play on Southern's softball team this spring, however. She will use that to get back into shape for basketball next year at Mount St. Mary's or Delaware.

Carrying a 3.2 grade-point average, Wesley needs only to score 700 or better on the Scholastic Assessment Test to qualify for an athletic scholarship at either school.

She missed two SAT dates when she was in the hospital. Meanwhile, the scholarships are waiting for her.

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