MARTIN'S MILL -- Haily Jenkins has been a fixture at the girls state basketball tournament ever since stepping onto the court as a freshman.

She'd seen in all over three years, but nothing could have prepared her for the events of last April 15.

Playing in a select game, Jenkins made her patented drive to the basket, but upon planting to go up, tore the ACL in her left knee. Her future as a Division I player and what she hoped would be a championship her senior year was immediately put on hold.

“It was a mystery because I didn’t really know the whole aspect of everything that had happened," Jenkins said. "I just knew how badly it hurt."

The came the hard part.

“It was really hard at the beginning just because I knew I was going to be out for six months or so and that I wasn’t going to be able to play," Jenkins said. "It’s been a process mentally, more than physically just because something I’ve done forever was taking away for a short amount of time.

“It’s been an every-single-day process.”

Jenkins, citing her coach Doug Barncastle along with her parents for helping her get through one the most trying periods of her life, is expected to be cleared by her doctors to return to floor this week.

That's music to the ears of Barncastle, who witnessed the 5-8 McNeese State commit average 22 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds as a junor.

“She’s actually been wearing me out to get back to practice and start doing things," Barncastle said. "She’s obviously playing at the next level for a reason. She just brings a whole new dynamic to the game. She’s kind of a bigger guard and we can use her as a post a little bit. She takes her team to a whole different level and she makes everybody around her a lot better.”