Most people think of Black Friday as the biggest shopping day of the holiday season.
Courtney Schoenbeck calls it her least favorite day of the year.
On Black Friday—Nov. 25, 2016—Schoenbeck tore the ACL and sprained the MCL in her left knee in a girls basketball tournament game in Brookfield. No one touched her on the play, as her knee simply exploded on a layup attempt. Her father and Walworth Big Foot coach, Rick, carried her off the court. Both knew immediately that the injury was serious.
Then a junior, the Big Foot guard had surgery on Dec. 14, 2016, and after a grueling six-month rehabilitation, she returned to the court in June 2017 to play for her club team out of Chicago.
Schoenbeck skipped playing volleyball this past fall to strengthen her knee and is quietly rounding back into shape for the Chiefs (10-5 overall), who are currently 9-2 and in second place in the Rock Valley Conference.
“My knee is probably at about 90 or 95 percent right now,” Courtney Schoenbeck said. “I still feel a little stretch in it sometimes when I make a certain move, but it’s not a big deal.
“My biggest concern when I first came back was pivoting on that leg. I was afraid to, but now it’s something I rarely think about. I wear a brace on it for a little extra mental confidence, and I’ll probably keep it on through the high school season, but even my doctor said I don’t have to wear one.”
Schoenbeck scored 47 points in her first two games last season before blowing out her knee with four minutes left against Sussex Hamilton. She missed the rest of the season.
Through 15 games this season, Schoenbeck is averaging 13.5 points per game. She had a season-high 20 in a conference win over Clinton on Nov. 28.
“Courtney doesn’t want the big praise or doesn’t feel like she has to lead the team in everything,” Rick said. “All she wants to do is win. She’s here for the team and wants to play team ball.
“What she does for me is to make sure everyone is involved, but she also has to realize there are going to be games where she simply has to take over, and she knows that.”
One thing Courtney does know for sure is where she’ll be playing for the next four years. The 5-foot-10 guard, who is currently playing in the post for the Chiefs, signed with the University of South Dakota, a Division I school located in Vermillion.
The Coyotes are 13-5 this season, including 4-0 in the Summit League. Schoenbeck will report to campus June 11, one week after her high school graduation, and will take some summer courses.
“I have to get ready for life after Big Foot and being an adult,” Courtney said. “It’s the next chapter in my life, and I’m really excited about it.
“I visited 11 different schools, but South Dakota was where I really wanted to go. It seemed like the perfect fit.”
Black Friday in 2018 falls on Nov. 23. Two days later will mark two years since Courtney Schoenbeck tore her ACL.
Hopefully, then, she’ll be celebrating a healthy start to her college career.