COLUMBIA — He wasn’t supposed to be here.
Hickman boys basketball senior Juwan MaHaney wasn’t supposed to have a Senior Night. He wasn’t supposed to play 14 minutes in his final regular season high school basketball game and help the Kewpies (22-2) to a 96-30 victory over Eldon (2-10).
Ten days before his sophomore season, MaHaney broke his ankle.
In a preseason practice, MaHaney slid for a loose ball in the Hickman practice gym. He decided to go feet first to protect his head.
His ankle snapped.
What came next was a 5-inch plate and five screws. MaHaney was supposed to be a starter on junior varsity that season.
When basketball season came around his junior year, he wanted to play, though the pain was too much. And the doctor recommended he sit out.
But about a month before this season started, he decided to fight through the pain.
“When I told coach (David) Johnson, he totally supported me,” MaHaney said. “I’ve known him for a while, and I’ve been playing with all these guys for a while, so everyone was excited.”
He normally played a reserve role. But on Friday, he played the most minutes of his varsity career.
Johnson gave senior Devin Dudley the start over junior star Jimmy Whitt, and around the four-minute mark, MaHaney entered the game.
“It was the plan all along,” Johnson said. “It’s only right to honor our seniors.”
MaHaney hustled and shoved his way underneath the basket, scoring 12 points, the most of his career.
“It was kind of my coming out, I guess,” MaHaney said.
And after the game, even though his ankle hurt, the senior couldn’t help but smile.
Supervising editor is Sean Morrison.