BANGOR — The point guard’s role in basketball is an important one, on and off the floor.
Central High sophomore Max McHugh experienced that first-hand earlier this winter, when the Red Devils’ point guard suffered a leg injury on Jan. 11 against Foxcroft Academy.
McHugh missed the remainder of the regular season, but returned to action in Central’s Eastern Maine Class C quarterfinal win over Penquis of Milo on Tuesday.
Even though McHugh only played for about four minutes, she was just happy to be on the floor, drawing a standing ovation from the Central throng upon entering the game.
“It was unbelievable, even for just a couple minutes, having the game pressure and being with my team,” said McHugh.
When McHugh was out, she was right there on coach Diane Rollins’ bench to guide her teammates, and took part in practices as best she could.
“I tried to still be a part of the team as much as I possibly could,” McHugh said. “I wanted to be there for them They made me feel like I was part of the team.”
Senior Brianna Speed has done a good job running the point in McHugh’s absence, while classmate Hannah Pray has also filled in..
“She’s really stepped up on defense and everything,” McHugh said of Speed.
McHugh said she was hurt when driving in for a shot and subsequently landed awkwardly on another player’s foot.
“I’ve been working hard for recovery,” said McHugh, who saw two different doctors.
“One doctor told me that I probably wouldn’t make it to the tournament and one doctor said I could,” said McHugh.
The first opinion only fueled McHugh’s fire.
“I just wanted to prove the doctor wrong and I wanted to do everything I possibly could to get back,” she said.
McHugh said she felt good in her first live action in more than a month.
“I was a little caught up in the nerves (but) my leg feels good,” she said.
The undefeated Red Devils will battle Washington Academy of East Machias in a 2:05 p.m. semifinal on Friday.
All in the family
Basketball has a rich history in Ashlee Arnold’s family.
Arnold, a sophomore for Edward Little in Auburn who overcame the flu to lead her Red Eddies into the Class A semifinals, is a niece of Darcy Arnold and granddaughter of Gilbert Arnold.
Darcy Arnold was an Eastern Maine All-Tourney team member all four years of her playing career, in 1977-78 at Mattanawcook Academy in Lincoln and 1979-80 at Stearns of Millinocket.
She accumulated more than1,000 points.
Gilbert Arnold was also a 1,000-point scorer at Mattawamkeag High from 1954-58.
Arnold’s Red Eddies fell to Hampden 50-47 in Wednesday’s Class A semifinals.