Collins sets the pace

San Benito's Anjelica Collins drives the ball down the court during their Dec. 18 game against Lincoln-San Jose.

Anjelica Collins knows what it’s like to have something taken away from her.
In the second game of the 2013-14 season, Collins suffered a broken left foot after she landed awkwardly while coming down from a shot. Just like that, Collins’ season was over.
Fast forward to today, and the senior point guard is back and better than ever.
“It was the greatest feeling ever being able to come back and play the sport I love,” she said. “Not being able to play junior year, it was a shock. I couldn’t believe it was happening.”
Haybalers coach Mitch Burley couldn’t believe it, either. That’s what happens when a coach loses an unselfish player who gets everyone involved.
“Anjelica has good court awareness and does a lot of things for us,” Burley said. “She’s a very good ball-handler and a great defender. But I would say her best asset is tipping balls and getting steals.”
At 8-4 overall and 0-1 in Monterey Bay League Gabilan Division play, San Benito already has doubled its win total from last year’s injury-riddled season. The Balers play on Friday, and they’re fully expecting a top-three league finish.
Burley said Collins can be too unselfish at times—“I wish she would shoot more,” he said—but the three-year varsity player has gotten the message.
“Coach keeps reminding me to shoot more, and I’m getting a sense of when to take the shot and when not to,” Collins said.
The 5-foot- Collins has what coaches call a feel for the game. She controls the tempo and knows when to push or back off the pace. Collins said she wants to improve her passing and shooting, knowing it will make her that much more of a threat to get to the basket off dribble penetration.
Collins grew up running and playing soccer, and only took up basketball in the sixth grade. Collins quit playing competitive soccer upon entering high school, but kept up cross country because it prepares her for the hoops season.
“Running cross country keeps me in shape,” she said. “When I come to basketball season, I can run back and forth across the court and not get tired because of all the work I put in cross-country season.”
Collins also excels inside the classroom, carrying a weighted 4.17 GPA. Collins plans on entering the field of physical therapy and sports medicine, having gained a new perspective after her injury.
Although the rehabilitation process was grueling, Collins said John Ceglia—a longtime physical therapist in Hollister—and his team was instrumental in her road to recovery.
“Sometimes during rehab when I felt like I couldn’t do an exercise, they always encouraged me to keep going and kept reminding me the sooner I get better, the faster I can go out and get back on the court,” Collins said. “After the injury, I realized I always want to be involved in sports and help people get better after their injuries.”

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