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Morgan Township’s Madi Lemmons puts Tommy John surgery behind her. She’s creating better moments to remember.

Morgan Township junior Madi Lemmons is making memories again.

The 5-foot-7 guard has added a few more for the scrapbook in the past week. They mean even more to her because she didn’t have the same opportunities last season, when she missed all but eight games.

“Basketball season is when I’ve created some of my best memories, and my best friends are on this team,” Madi Lemmons said. “It’s such a good atmosphere, and I was so ready to be a part of it again instead of sitting out.”

Among the moments Madi Lemmons won’t soon forget, she scored on a breakaway layup for the go-ahead points late in the fourth quarter of the Cherokees’ 28-24 win against Kouts in the Class 1A Morgan Township Sectional championship game in Valparaiso on Saturday.

Madi Lemmons finished with 10 points for Morgan Township (17-7), which is ranked No. 12 in the final 1A state coaches poll and advances to the Winamac Regional to play No. 5 Marquette (21-4).

Clutch scoring has become Madi Lemmons’ signature, according to her cousin Josie Lemmons, a junior guard.

“That was a perfect example of what she does for our team and what she contributes,” Josie Lemmons said. “She’s done a great job of being the scorer when we need some points.”

Madi Lemmons is averaging 9.9 points, second on the team behind senior forward Peyton Honchar’s 12.8 points. But Madi Lemmons was the leading scorer in the first round of the sectional, putting up 15 points in Morgan Township’s 36-34 win against No. 6 Tri-Township, which entered the game with just one loss.

“I’m just really proud,” she said. “We went through a really tough sectional bracket and overcame a lot in this tournament. I’m so impressed with how everyone came in with great attitudes and stayed motivated through all of it.”

Madi Lemmons didn’t get to play in the postseason last year. During an AAU game in summer 2022, she dove for a loose ball and collided with an opponent, suffering a torn ulnar collateral ligament in her right arm. She wore a brace with the hope she could make it through the high school season.

“It was definitely painful playing in games,” she said. “As the season went on, it just got worse. I wanted to play so bad and win games with my teammates. It was a hard decision to shut it down.”

Morgan Township's Madi Lemmons looks to pass the ball during the Class 1A Morgan Township Sectional championship game against Kouts on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2024. (Michael Gard/Post-Tribune)
Morgan Township’s Madi Lemmons looks to pass the ball during the Class 1A Morgan Township Sectional championship game against Kouts in Valparaiso on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2024. (Michael Gard / Post-Tribune)

Morgan Township coach Rick Budka knew Madi Lemmons was in pain and decided to have a conversation with the player who was averaging a team-high 15.0 points at the time.

“We talked to her and said that she was only a sophomore,” Budka said. “If she wanted to come back and play as a junior, she’d still have two seasons to play. But if she continued playing injured like that, her basketball career might be over.”

Madi Lemmons had Tommy John surgery on Jan. 12, 2023, and she was given a recovery timetable of nine to 12 months. While her right arm was healing, she said she tried being ambidextrous.

“I was so eager to play that I jokingly started shooting with my left hand,” she said. “It stuck for a little bit until I was ready to shoot with my right arm again.”

That moment arrived ahead of schedule for Madi Lemmons, who returned for preseason practices.

Speaking of practices, Morgan Township has at least one more week of those this season.

“We all wanted this really bad,” Madi Lemmons said. “That was our whole discussion last week. We wanted to see each other again on Monday to keep practicing. We call each other family, and we weren’t ready to give that up yet.”

Dave Melton is a freelance reporter. 

Dave Melton , 2024-02-05 14:36:35

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