Crone returns to court in city final

One of the most heartwarming moments of the high school basketball season came in the girls city final’s final seconds when Grade 12 standout Macaela Crone took the court for the Peacock Toilers.
A national junior team member with a scholarship to NCAA Division I Louisiana Tech, Crone suffered a season-ending knee injury during the Toilers’ first tournament. She underwent surgery January and had recovered enough to suit up for the final.
With a 54-point lead, Crone checked in as the clock wound down and was handed the ball by McDougall as the buzzer sounded. To say the least, it was an emotional moment for the team.
“It made me so happy to have Macaela come out on the floor at the end and have the crowd all stand up for her, that was a really awesome,” said Grade 11 guard Katherine McDougall, who emerged as one of the team’s on-floor leaders with Crone on the sidelines.
“We talked about it last night after practice that if we had an opportunity where the girls went out and looked after things, we wouldn’t have top play hard right to the last possession,” said Toilers coach Vaughn Crone. “So it was great for Macaela to get that chance and an opportunity to turn the page, she’s won four of these, and it was tough for her to not be able to play.”
Crone did her best to keep her emotions in check on the court, but once the final buzzer went, that became impossible and the team quickly embraced their tearful teammate.
“It was emotional for sure. At Peacock it’s a tradition for the Grade 12s to be on the floor to end the game, so it was nice to be able to have a chance to do that,” Macaela said. “We won and I couldn’t be happier with it.”
Even though she couldn’t play, Macaela still offered as much as she could to the team from the sidelines.
“I think she’s done a great job of being a mentor and helping girls at practice and helping at noon hour if the gym is open, just little things,” said coach Crone. “She wants to win whether she’s on the floor or not and did as much as she could to help the team even if she couldn’t play.”
And while it would have been nice to have Macaela hit the scoresheet in the final, Vaughn said that wasn’t an option.
“We were very specific to say ‘get away from the basket, 35 feet at least’” Crone said with a laugh. “That wasn’t something we were going to risk.”