Basketball player overcomes the obstacle

By Ryan Land
Assistant Sports Editor

When people are passionate about something, they will not let any obstacle get in the way of participating in that love, and for those who know Sarah Sagely, they know that she will never let anything get in the way of herself and a basketball.

“As an athlete, she’s a fierce competitor and works very hard,” said Tina Robbins, women’s head basketball coach and physical education instructor. “She’s a coach’s dream to coach.”

Before Crowder

Sarah was born and raised in West Fork, Ark., before graduating from West Fork High School in 2011.

Her love for basketball started when she was a little kid, as her father had coached basketball even before Sarah was born.

During her time at West Fork High School, she played basketball for the Lady Tigers, and one memory that sticks out to her during her time with the team happened during her senior year.

“We went to the semi-finals I think,” stated Sagely. “And it’s the farthest we’ve ever been, so that was pretty cool.”

Another memory from high school that stuck out to Sagely was signing her letter of intent to play college basketball for the Lady ‘Riders.

“I was pretty excited and kind of nervous,” stated Sagely. “I didn’t know what to expect.”

When Sagely chose Crowder as her home for the past two years, she knew that she would only be an hour from her hometown at a small school, as she stated that she preferred a small school only because of coming from a small town. The one main influence that persuaded her to choose Crowder over offers from a few other schools had to do with coaching abilities from Tina Robbins, women’s head basketball coach, as well as how the team survived in Region 16 play.

“I absolutely love the way she coaches,” replied Sagely. “I also fit so well with the team’s style of play, so I just decided that Crowder was the best fit for me”.

Days at Crowder

Walking onto the court of Bob Sneller Gymnasium, Sarah knew that she had a strong passion for something that has been in her life since she was a little kid, but in a practice session during her freshman year of Crowder, she began to feel the effects of what would soon change her outlook on life with basketball.

“I went to pass or something, and the way I moved just made by vertebraes hit, and ever since then, it’s kept hurting and it would never go away,” said Sagely.

Sagely stated that she was tested for Scoliosis as a kid, and believes that she may have had it since then. She also credited that going to a chiropractor in Fayetteville, Ark. has really helped a lot with the pain.

According to Web M.D., Scoliosis is a curve in the normal straight vertical line of the spine. Approximately 2-3 percent of Americans at age 16 have scoliosis. Girls are more likely to be affected than boys. For more information on Scoliosis, go to

One motivational technique that Sagely uses during basketball that helps her deal with the pain is just thinking about her love for the game of basketball.

“It [Scoliosis] is just something that you have to get over and suck up and play for your teammates, family, and coaches, and your love of the game,” replied Sagely.

“A lot of people probably didn’t know that she [Sarah] played all season long with that injury, battling that injury, playing in pain,” said Robbins. “She had good days and bad days, and there were days where I had to limit what she did, but she never asked to come out, even though she was hurting. But she’s a kid that persevered through it, fought through it because she is a fierce competitor and wants to be out on the floor for her teammates.”

After participating in half of her sophomore basketball season, Sagely had to sit out the remainder of the season, due to a knee injury.

Besides basketball, she also took part in the 2011-12 Lady ‘Rider softball season, where she was a part of the Region 16 tournament championship, and soon after, was playing with the rest of the team in the NJCAA National Tournament in St. George, Utah in May 2012.

Sagely had to miss the 2012-13 softball season as well, due to the knee injury.

During her time at Crowder, Sagely stated that she made so many friends that she could not keep count of all of them.

“Between basketball and softball, I’ve made so many friends,” said Sagely. “All of the memories I’ve made, it’s just kind of amazing to think about. I honestly wish it was a four-year school to be honest.”

One memory that Sagely thought would top her list of memorable moments at Crowder was simply having the privilege to be on the court.

“Just having the opportunity to play is an amazing thing to me,” said Sagely. “I try not to take anything for granted, but after my injury, you just want to be out on that court.”

One person that Sagely said gave her plenty of inspiration over her two years at Crowder was Coach Robbins.

“She has taught me so much over the past few years, it’s unbelievable,” said Sagely. “Just by her actions alone, not just coaching, but by her actions alone, she’s taught me a lot.”

After Crowder

After Sagely walks across the stage and accepts her Associate’s Degree this semester, she will transfer to Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Okla. this fall and play basketball for the Lady Riverhawks, under the direction of head coach Randy Gipson. This past season, the Lady Riverhawks went 19-8 overall in the 2012-13 season.