Oak Hill’s Boone gets first bucket in state championship after recovering from year-long injury

Meet this week's ACA Athlete of the Week from Oak Hill High School - Natalie Boone!
Published: Mar. 9, 2023 at 11:31 PM CST
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HINESTON, La. (KALB) - The 2022-2023 season was a historic one for the Oak Hill Lady Rams basketball team.

After falling just short in the state championship game a season ago, the group fought their way back to Hammond for another title appearance, finishing the job in a 74-54 win over JS Clark. However, for Oak Hill’s sophomore Natalie Boone, her focus was not just getting back to the championship game, but it was simply getting back on the court.

“It was hard to wait for my turn to come, and I’m still waiting,” said Boone. “I’m still not released yet. I’ve been very impatient.”

In last year’s championship game against Fairview, Boone was getting back on defense trying to block a shot, when she would suffer a frightening injury.

“I jumped up to block the girl and when I landed, my kneecap fell out, and I just fell,” said Boone. “I remember that was probably the worst pain I ever felt. Sitting on the bench, I basically cried the rest of the game.”

Boone watched from the bench as the Lady Rams fell short in the school’s first state championship game appearance. That moment served as a motivation for her off-season recovery, but several setbacks would delay her return to the court. She would eventually have surgery on her knee, essentially sidelining her for her entire sophomore season.

However, she would get her chance to dress out in the final game of the year, on the same court where she last played and suffered that injury.

“It’s been a rollercoaster,” said Oak Hill Head Coach Kaci West on watching Boone’s journey to recovery. “We just want what’s best for the kids even if they are playing or not playing. We want everyone on this team to be part of this.”

Boone had not taken a single shot or even played in a game all season. However, with the Lady Rams up 19 points in the final minute of the game, Coach West made the signal down to the bench for Boone to check into the game.

Boone is still unable to put full pressure on her knee, so she was advised to wait in the corner so her teammates could get her the ball. After getting a steal, Boone got the ball and put up her first shot of the season and you can guess what happened next. Boone sank the shot and the entire bench, coaching staff and fan base erupted.

“When I shot it, I really felt like I just really threw it up there and it somehow went in, but it was a very special moment and I’ll never forget that,” said Boone.

Boone made her first and only shot of the season in a special moment that was quickly followed by the girls hoisting a state championship trophy for the first time.

For her resiliency, Natalie Boone is this week’s ACA Athlete of the Week.

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