Its been a dream year for the Morton girls. With a 30-1 record, most of the Potters breezed through the regular season. But not senior co-captain Ashton Mertens. Last June, Mertens landed awkwardly on her right leg in a summer league game. She didnt think anything of the injury at the time, but it turned out to be serious. "I started running on it and it wasnt quite the way it was before," Mertens said. "I told my dad we should go get it checked out. We did and found out the bad news." Mertens had torn her ACL and now faced a long rehabilitation process - just four months before her senior season tipped off. "I felt bad for her along the way because I knew there were times when she was frustrated with the progress her knee was taking," said Morton head coach Bob Becker. For the rest of the summer, Mertens spent at least an hour a day rehabing her knee. While she was sidelined, the forward thought about how good her team had the potential to be this season. So she set a goal for herself: be ready to play by the time practice started in November. "I was dead focused on that, never took my mind off the fact that I would be back," Mertens said. "I thought, Hey Im going to be back when I need to be, and when they need me." The extra effort Mertens put into her rehab has really paid off on the court this winter, allowing her to play the same style of agressive basketball she had in the past. "In the beginning I had that fear of doing it again, that anything could tweak my knee," Mertens said. "Especially on a breakaway when I would go up for a lay-up. But overall my knee has been pretty good. It hasnt really failed on me yet." Likewise, Mertens hasnt failed on her teammates. The Potters have a talented lineup, but coach Bob Becker says balance is the key to his teams success. A senior co-captain, Mertens presence in the paint has added to the Potters balance. Its helped Morton reach the schools first ever state finals. "Friday we could end our season, or Saturday we could end our season," Mertens said. "Were hoping we end it Saturday." Its not a bad wish considering back in June Mertens was just hoping to have a season at all.
Meet The Team
Take a moment to meet WMBD 31's team. Click here to learn more about the people who are "Taking Action for You!"