High school basketball: Perry mended after finger surgery

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 28, 2020

By Mike London

FAITH — Carson’s Colbie Perry is the ultimate catch-and-shoot player, but she couldn’t catch the ball without serious pain late in the basketball season.

She had two broken fingers on her left hand. She shoots right-handed, but having an impaired guide hand had to affect her 3-point shot some in the 60-58 home loss to Enka in the third round that ended a 25-4 season. She was 4-for-12 on 3-pointers in that one, and if she’d made one more, Carson would’ve gone on to the fourth round.

“A girl fell on me in our second-round playoff game with Asheville,” Perry explained. “We thought it was just a dislocation and got it popped it back into place. It was hurting some, but I didn’t realize it was as bad as it was until later.”

X-rays taken after the season revealed the two broken fingers.

Perry’s ring finger was broken cleanly and is going through a natural healing process.

But her broken pinkie was a mess and required surgery to fix. She would have lost all movement in the joint of that finger without surgery and wouldn’t have been able to grip anything. The pinkie provides half of grip strength. The pinkie and ring finger together provide two-thirds of grip strength.

Perry had two screws and a plate inserted in the pinkie during successful surgery six weeks ago.

She was cleared by her physician recently to resume normal shooting activities on the Dr. Dish machine in the family driveway, and balls are swishing again with regularity. She can catch the ball normally now. Before she was cleared, her father (Carson boys coach Brian Perry) had to field the return tosses from Dr. Dish and hand the ball to his daughter so she could shoot.

Perry is in the Class of 2021, so this ordinarily would’ve been an important travel ball spring for her. She had planned to play for a team called Lady Attack, but the spring schedule was canceled by COVID-19.

The NCHSAA is expected to make an announcement soon on summer activities for student-athletes, including basketball team camps.

Perry is an excellent student, part of a bright Carson squad that had the highest unweighted GPA in the NCHSAA for girls basketball for the second straight season. Cumulatively, the Cougars posted a 3.87 GPA.

“We don’t really study together or anything like that,” Perry said. “Just everyone gets all their work done individually. At basketball practice, that’s one of the things we’re always talking about — how much homework we’ve got to do when we get home. We take some hard subjects.”

Perry said AP human geography and AP English have been her two toughest challenges in the classroom, along with Rowan-Cabarrus Community College classes she’s taken for early college credit.

Perry is a sharp enough student that she’s grappled with a decision that a lot of student-athletes start having to make. That choice is seeking admission to a D-I school such as North Carolina, N.C. State, Appalachian State, UNC Wilmington or East Carolina and leaving athletics behind (except for club sports and intramurals) or finding that right small-college fit where a sport they’ve played and loved for many years will still be a major part of their daily lives.

Perry has made the decision that she wants to continue to play basketball in college. The University of the Cumberlands in Kentucky and the College of Coastal Georgia — her first cousin, Cole, recently announced he’s transferring there —  are two schools she’s taking a serious look at. There should be quite a few D-II, D-III and NAIA schools at which she could play basketball while earning a degree.

She wants to major in Spanish.

Perry has helped Carson teams go 77-11 the last three seasons. She has an excellent chance to be part of 100-plus wins in her career.

Perry is thin, but she’s 5-foot-8 with long arms. Her rebounding stats could be better, but she’s not a one-trick pony. Her deflection stats are outstanding. Her steals and assists-to-turnovers numbers are very good.

What she does about as well as anyone — what makes her a college prospect — is her ability to shoot the 3-pointer with a quick release.

She’s been a three-year starter for coach Brooke Stouder’s Cougars. She averaged double figures as a sophomore and junior and will go into her senior season with 872 career points. She’ll probably reach 1,000 around Christmas time.

Perry probably has benefited from the 3-point line as much as any girls player in county history. She’s gotten a whopping 654 of her points — that’s 75 percent of them — from behind the 3-point line.

She’s made 218 3-pointers, 71 2-pointers and 76 free throws.

The best news is that now she can do her catch-and-shoot thing without pain.

“Colbie lost six weeks, but everything was shut down, anyway,” Coach Perry said. “She really didn’t miss anything. It worked out.”