Athlete of the Week: Brown makes big comeback for MB

After suffering through a long, difficult 2012 season, Myrtle Beach High basketball standout Tanisha Brown is ready for whatever 2013 has to offer. After all, it can’t be much worse.

Brown was midway through her junior season at this time last year and seemingly on top of her game and the world. The Lady Seahawks were going for their sixth straight region title and recruiting interest was coming in from major colleges.

Then it happened – a snap and a pop in her knee that required season-ending surgery and months of rehab to get back in the game. Meanwhile, Myrtle Beach failed to win the region and several schools backed off for fear that she was damaged goods.

“It was tough, but all I could do was go back to work and try to get my knee back to full strength,” said Brown, who cheered from the bench while watching Myrtle Beach lose in the second round of the playoffs. “After being on crutches for four months and losing so much strength, I had a long way to go.”

The offseason of rehab finally paid off when Brown opened the 2012-13 season with a clean bill of health, but she immediately received another scare when she hurt her quad muscle in the Socastee Sand and Hoops preseason tournament. Fortunately, the injury wasn’t serious enough to keep her on the sidelines for long.

Now Brown is showing signs of the all-region player she was before the injury bug began biting. She posted double-doubles in all three of last week’s games in the CresCom Bank Holiday Invitational, averaging 18 points and 12 rebounds per game, and appears to be turning the corner just in time for region play.

“I told her not to push herself too hard because we need her healthy in January, when we open the region,” said Myrtle Beach first-year coach Jennifer Dennison. “She’s come a long way since last year at this time when she suffered the injury and now she seems to be peaking at just the right time.”

Now Brown finds herself in the unfamiliar position of being the team leader on a squad filled with underclassmen. After playing in the shadow of Class 3A Player of the Year Khadijah Sessions, who is a freshman at South Carolina this season, this year’s team can only go as far as Brown can lead it.

“It was a challenge at first because we have a lot of young people,” Brown said. “I was in their shoes once, a lot of talent with young minds, so I just try to work hard and lead by example. They’re going to be real special in the future and they’ve already come a long way. We’re just going to keep on fighting.”

Brown did receive some encouraging news during her rehab, signing a National Letter of Intent with North Carolina-Charlotte to play for the Lady 49ers next year. But Brown isn’t looking too far down the road, especially when she has one last half-season to make sure Myrtle Beach returns to being a basketball power.

“Charlotte is great school. They didn’t run away because of the injury and they cared about me as a person, not just a basketball player,” Brown said. “I had to learn that lesson the hard way, but I’m glad that’s all out of the way so I can just focus on having a good senior season. I want to go out a winner.”

Dennison says that goal has already been accomplished by Brown simply by returning to the court from such a difficult injury and becoming the team leader the Lady Seahawks need.

“She’s such a talented individual and she can play any position – (guard, forward or center),” Dennison said. “But she also got here with a lot of hard work and that’s the main thing I hope our girls can learn from her. If everyone plays the game as hard as Tanisha, we’ll be tough to beat.”

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