ROUNDUP -- Meghan Eiselein feels like herself again.
The Roundup senior was hampered by injuries her entire junior year. Eiselein suffered a dislocated kneecap during volleyball, which required surgery and kept her out 16 weeks. She returned midway through the basketball season but four games later suffered a sprained MCL in the same knee.
“My muscle got so much smaller, it made me so sad. I went to a facility in Billings and went there and lifted weights and stuff. Once I pushed range of motion, I got to work out with my dad and stuff. Just getting back in the gym was a blessing, honestly," Eiselein said. "You take for granted a lot of things, but after that happened it makes you realize what you’re missing. Watching, of course, is great, but I’d rather be out there playing.”
Eiselein didn’t close last year at 100 percent, and Roundup came up short at the Southern B divisional girls basketball tournament. But Eiselein’s knee is fully recovered, which makes the Panthers a real contender in a talented Southern B field.
“That’s huge. I think mainly on the defensive end, it helps us match up better. We had some players playing out of position defensively and, at times offensively, last year," Roundup girls basketball head coach Dan Eiselein said. "It’s good to see her get through her rehab and get back to full power."
“We already don’t have a lot of height, but having her – she’s so strong. She’s very tough down there and it will just be totally different to be able to have her getting those blocks and getting those stops and being there when we needed her," said senior Blythe Sealey.
Meghan Eiselein, who was a first-team all-conference pick as a sophomore, is once again joined by Sealey, a two-time all-state selection, to form a potent one-two punch. Defenses put a lot of attention on those two, but the addition of Tia Stahl could make all the difference for Roundup. The senior was an all-state selection for Winnett-Grass Range last season and gives the Panthers another lethal option.
“She’s a dominant leader. She’s a shooter. She does anything you want really. Aggressive. Coming from Class C she had to lead her team there. So coming here with a bunch of other leaders, she’ll just fall right into place," Meghan Eiselein said.
“I think Tia brings a lot of things to the table as far as her offensive skills. Obviously, she can score. I think over a 20 point per game scoring in a pretty tough Class C league last year, but I think underrated is her ability to play on defense," Dan Eiselein said. "She’s very strong and keeps the ball in front of her very well. I think she’s going to make an impact there, as well."
Roundup’s senior class has seen Saturday at the divisional tournament for three consecutive years but hasn’t been able to punch a ticket to the state tournament, coming closest with a fourth-place finish last year.
“The seniors have been present within the program over the years as far as open gyms, summer tournaments and rarely miss practice. You always hope that that hard work pays off and that dedication, but, as I said before, it’s very hard to get to the state tournament, especially with the quality of teams in our division," said Dan Eiselein.
“Those one games, they just get us. We get so close," Sealey said. "It’s definitely motivation, we definitely have it on our mind. Our last season, our last chance to finally get out there and do it, so I know it’s really high right now on our list of goals.”
The Panthers get a rematch of last year’s Southern B consolation game against defending Class B co-champion Forsyth at home on Saturday.