Through her tears from a hospital bed, Valerie Patterson told her coach and her parents she was playing. The South Shore senior was struck by a breaking car coming out of a McDonalds drive-through across the street from the school Thursday night. She suffered a severely sprained right ankle. Even with the injury, her concern for herself became secondary to not letting her team down for one of its toughest games.
“There was a lot of crying thinking I wasn’t going to be able to play,” Patterson said. “It’s one of the most important games of the season. I thought I wasn’t going to be able to play so I sat up and cried, until I couldn’t cry any more."
Patterson went to the McDonalds to get something to eat with teammates and ended up being taken in an ambulance to Brooklyn Hospital, where she stayed from around 8 p.m. Thursday night to 3 a.m. Friday morning. That still didn’t stop her from going to school and playing in South Shore’s 53-46 win over Francis Lewis Friday night.
Patterson, who was noticeably limping after the game, did more than just run up and down the court for a minute or two. She contributed in a big way, grabbing hustle rebounds under the boards and scoring six points, including four in the fourth quarter. He jumper from the right side tied the score at 38 with 5:40 left in the game and her layup with 4:10 remaining gave South Shore a 42-38 lead.
“It was tough,” Patterson said. “But I was told you don’t start something you’re not going to finish.
The effort amazed her coach.
“She played her heart out today,” Anwar Gladden said.
And inspired her teammates.
“I didn’t expect her to play today, she showed me that she could,” senior guard Baytania Newman said. “It means our team is down for anything. She is a hard worker.”
Patterson drew as much drive from her teammates as they did from her.
“When I look at them they give me motivation and I give them motivation,” Patterson said. “I told them I won’t let them down and they won’t let me down.”