Fractured. That’s what Eastland’s Lexis Macomber’s right foot was, and what the Cougars’ season could have been.
Macomber, a 5-foot-11 sophomore, was averaging team-highs of 11.8 points and 8.6 rebounds. The key word being “was.”
Somewhere along the line, Macomber developed a stress fracture and a broken fifth metatarsal in her right foot.
With Macomber, Eastland was 15-6 overall and 4-1 in the NUIC West.
Without her, it certainly hasn’t been easy. The Cougars are 5-3 overall and 5-2 in the conference. They were riding a four-game winning streak, including a 55-44 win over conference front runner Stockton on Jan. 23. But the string was snapped with a 60-43 setback Friday in Galena.
“She was a very big part of our team,” junior Courtney Walker said of Macomber. “It was devastating when we lost her. I was thinking, ‘How are we going to make up those points?’ because she was our high scorer every game.”
Walker, the team’s second-leading scorer at nine points per game, has been the Cougars’ leading scorer in three of the seven games without Macomber. Hannah Hake and Katrina Hatheway have each been the leading scorer in two of those games.
“Those are big shoes to fill. You can’t really replace her,” senior Christa Vandenburgh said. “As a team, we’ve all stepped up. We relied on her a lot, so a lot of people had to play a bigger role.”
The loss of Macomber was especially tough on senior Haley Miller.
“Lexis is like my little sister,” Miller said. “Our parents and our families are close. It was hard for me, because it’s my last season with her.”
Macomber tried to battle through the pain, playing for 3 weeks with the break. She hurt the foot badly in a pregame shoot-around but played on. Finally, her body made her stop.
“I couldn’t feel my foot anymore,” a tearful Macomber said after her team’s practice Thursday. “I went to the emergency room on a Sunday and went to an orthopedic doctor the next week and they put a cast on it.”
Macomber has been in a cast for 4 weeks. She goes back to the doctor Tuesday for a new cast and figures to be out at least several more weeks.
“We’re not sure if it’s healing, so we might have to do surgery,” she said.
Eastland has just one other player – 5-9 Miranda Grisham – taller than 5-7, so there’s been an adjustment on the floor.
“We weren’t a giant team with Lexis, but we certainly got small awful fast,” Cougars coach Colleen Henze said. “Our outside shooting has had to come into play more, and driving to the basket. Our offense is revolving more around the guards than the posts since we lost her.”