E.A. Sports Today

Senior night dilemma

Leading scorer Stephens’ status uncertain for Faith Christian’s senior ceremonies

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Madison Stephens doesn’t know how much – if at all – she’ll play in Faith Christian’s final regular-season game Friday night, but she does know she won’t miss Senior Night for anything in the world.

The Lions will recognize all their senior basketball personnel during their games with Wellborn, but from what perspective their girls’ all-time leading scorer will see it remains to be seen.

She has spent the last several weeks fighting through a second bout with mononucleosis that has limited or kept her out of the last eight games. She is scheduled for another test Friday morning that would go a long way toward determining her availability for the game and beyond.

Luckily, if she doesn’t play Friday, she’ll have at least one more home game – maybe two – as the Lady Lions host the Class 1A Area 12 girls tournament next week. If she is cleared to play, she’ll likely start – after all, it is Senior Night – but probably only play a couple minutes.

“If everything looks OK and I feel well enough to play then I’ll probably try to play a little bit,” she said. “I will be here.

“Knowing how it feels to go through volleyball Senior Night, it was really tough. We won our games that night, so it made it fun, but knowing it’s your last time you get that feel of the whole school being here and the boys coming out after us and getting to stand in the line … it’s going to be rough, especially if I have to sit there and not even be dressed out. But I’ll support the other girls and keep cheering for them because they’re the ones who are stepping up and doing a lot of the work I’m not able to do right now.“

The last couple weeks have been “really discouraging” to the senior guard and “a little frustrating” to coach Bradley Dawson as the illness runs its course. She went for 25 points against Donoho playing with a fever well over 100 and has been in and out of school ever since. She said it was an effort to come to school Thursday, but with a 4.0 GPA to protect, she didn’t want to fall behind any more schoolwork.

“I’m not someone who likes to just lay around,” she said. “I like to be up and at it, so having to put a restraint on what I do is kind of difficult for me because that’s not who I am.”

Stephens believes she’ll be OK for the area tournament “because I haven’t done much at all the last couple weeks,” but going forward it presents Dawson a dilemma baseball managers face in a playoff or tournament setting. Does he play his ace in a semifinal game his team is heavily favored to win to reach the sub-state or give him another day of rest for the more important area final?

Dawson is inclined to rest Stephens for the area final the Lady Lions would like to win to avoid an expectedly difficult draw in the sub-state round. He is confident she’ll “fit right in” when she returns.

What he’s holding onto is a player who has scored nearly 1,600 points in her career. The run started with one area game in a late-season promotion her eighth-grade year. After that, she became a scoring machine. She scored more than 400 points each of the next three seasons and was on target for that number again before the mono hit.

“I didn’t really realize how many I had,” she said. “I think last year during the Christmas tournament (at Cleburne County) I hit 1,000, then when dad told me a couple months back I was close to hitting 1,500, it just shocked me. It doesn’t feel like that many. That’s a huge mark to reach. Once I realized that, it was kind of like this is real, this actually happened.”

Now, given her situation, the next milestone in her sights is a little more modest.

“Just getting any more points would be a good thing at this point,” she said.


Year Points
2011-12 9
2012-13 408
2013-14 407
2014-15 496
2015-16 271
Totals 1591

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