Guidry bounces back from injury to lead RA

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 22, 2000

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / January 22, 2000

RESERVE – When asked to describe one word to describe herself, Riverside’s Jennifer Guidry leans back in a chair at the school and pauses to think about the question.

“Energetic,” she says after a moment’s reflection.

Those who have seen Guidry play for the Lady Rebels would not disagree.

Whether its diving after a dig in volleyball or a loose ball in basketball or chasing down a fly ball in the outfield in softball, Guidry is a perpetual motion machine on the field or on the court.

And being energetic is a plus when you are a four-sport athlete, especially this time of the year when the sports begin to run together. Guidry is onthe softball diamond from 2 to 4 p.m. Everyday and then heads across thecampus to the gym for basketball practice from 4 to 6 p.m.”You have to have a lot of energy to practice four hours a day,” Guidry said.

That energy has become more important in the last couple of weeks as Guidry has had to take an even bigger role on the basketball team after Crystal Rome went down with a knee injury. Guidry, who had been playingin the three-guard spot, took over Rome’s point guard spot in her absence and led the Lady Rebels to victories at Fisher and West St. John in District9-2A play.

“It was different not having her (Rome) in the game,” Guidry said of everybody on the team stepping up in Rome’s absence. “We knew we had toplay that much better in order to be successful.”Guidry’s biggest challenge came last Friday as West St. John threw a pressagainst the Lady Rebels in the first half but Guidry was able to help the team break through it, finishing with a team-high 20 points.

“It’s different,” Guidry said of playing the point. “You have more controlof the game. I’ll play wherever coach (Matt) White needs me.”Guidry for one knows what Rome went through while sitting out those games. Playing in the Shake ‘n Bake Tournament in the PontchartrainCenter Dec. 29, 1998, Guidry started feeling pain in her knee. She went tothree different doctors who told her she had a bruised knee.

Guidry resumed practicing but about 15 seconds into her next game, the knee again acted up. This time she went to a orthopedic doctor who gaveher the bad news – torn anterior cruciate ligament. Surgery would have tobe performed. Not only was her basketball season over, but Guidry wouldhave to miss the track and softball seasons as well.

“It was hard, knowing I couldn’t be out there” Guidry said of having to sit out the rest of the sports year. “It wasn’t fun. I still went to practice andwatched and cheered everybody that was playing but it was still hard.”Guidry begin working hard to rehabilitate the knee, wanting to get back playing as soon as she could.

“I just wanted to play,” Guidry said. “I couldn’t go a whole another yearwithout playing. I went through what I had to in order to play again.”Guidry’s chance to play again came during volleyball tryouts. She wasnervous at first, wondering whether the knee would hold, but was soon able to do anything she wanted.

“I was so scared,” Guidry said. “But once I started to do things for a longtime, I forgot about it.”Guidry not only played the volleyball season last Fall, she became the Lady Rebels’ most consistent player. Guidry was named to the all-District 6-IVteam after helping the Lady Rebels to their first ever district title. Shesaid the highlight of her prep career came during that season when the Lady Rebels defeated Ridgewood to wrap up the title.

With a relatively inexperienced team, the Lady Rebels got off to a slow start in basketball. But the team started turning it around at the Shake ‘nBake Tournament during the holidays, placing second in the consolation bracket. The Lady Rebels then got off to a fast start in District 9-2A play,going 4-1 before losing to Newman Wednesday night. Riverside currentlystands at 11-11 overall.

“We didn’t click as a team at first,” Guidry said. “We had never playedwith a lot of the players before. But as the season went on, we kind ofmeshed together better.”White points to Guidry and her ability to play wherever he needs her as one reason for that turnaround.

“She’s an athlete all the way around,” White, who coaches her in basketball and softball, said. “Her athleticism is something that movesher ahead of everybody. Wherever I need her, she slides right in. She can godown deep and dominate or she can take the ball up court. She can adapt toanything. She’s one of our go-to girls and is a pleasure to coach.”Guidry will remain busy after the basketball season is over. She is acandidate for the outfield in softball and is also planning to run hurdles and in the relays in track. She placed sixth in the 100 meters in theregionals her sophomore year.

From there, it will be time to start thing about college. Guidry is lookingat Louisiana Tech, Nicholls State and Louisiana-Lafayette but is not sure yet whether she wants to continue to play sports.

“If I can’t, I’ll go and get my education,” Guidry said.

And as her prep career winds down, Guidry reflects on some advice she thought about while rehabbing her knee.

“Take it one game at a time,” Guidry said. “Play to the best of your abilityevery fame because it could be your last. Try to work your hardest andnever give up. Even if you make a mistake, keep your head up and keepgoing on.”

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