Stephenville High School junior Alee McClendon, a top competitor in multiple sports since her freshman year and currently leading the Honeybees basketball squad in scoring and rebounding, will miss the rest of the season because of a knee injury.
That’s according to the state-ranked Honeybees’ head girls basketball coach Jason Hodges, who said McClendon underwent reconstructive surgery Jan. 3 in Fort Worth.
She suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament along with tears in the miniscus in her right knee during the first quarter of the state-ranked Bees’ Dec. 14 game against Burnet on the final day of the Fredericksburg tournament.
“It was just a freak accident,” said Hodges, whose team is 19-7 and currently ranked as high as 20th in the state in one poll. “She came down wrong on a rebound, and another girl hit her going for the rebound. Any time a kid goes down, you feel sorry.”
McClendon was leading the basketball team in both scoring (11.2 points per game) and rebounding (8.4 per game). Following her junior season in basketball, she was voted Defensive Most Valuable Player by the District 7-4A coaches.
She is also an all-district performer on coach Shay Douglas’s volleyball squad, which won the 2019 district title and advanced to within one win of reaching the regional tournament. McClendon earned the Offensive Player of the Year honor in that sport as a middle blocker.
Hodges said that in his 15 years coaching basketball at the high school level, The 5-10 McClendon is “probably the most dominant post player I’ve coached. She rebounds well, runs transition and posts up and scores under the basket.”
Hodges said that, typically, recovery from such knee surgeries “takes six or seven months.”
That would mean she will also miss the track and field season this spring. Last year, McClendon advanced to the regional track meet in two events — the 100-meter hurdles and on the 800-meter relay team.
Hodges said that the time frame can depend on how hard an injured athlete works in rehab — and he sounded confident McClendon will respond by doing whatever work it takes.
“The great thing is, she works so hard,” he said. “Her work ethic is something fun to watch. She had a couple of double-double games.”
He noted that her teammates have stepped up in her absence. Jade Wilson and Jaylee Matthews have become starters in various games since the injury, while starter Mikayla Diaz role has changed, playing closer to the basket. Also, Katie McIrvin also has been contributing more lately, coming off the bench.
The Honeybees were scheduled to begin District 7-4A play Friday (Jan. 10) at Mineral Wells. Their next home game will be Tuesday against Glen Rose (varsity at 6 p.m.).