Tory Bennett had to make a choice after being selected as one of 12 players to represent Northwest Iowa in the Iowa Basketball Coaches Association All-Star Series.
Bennett, a Fort Dodge Senior Senior, was dealing with some injuries sustained over her all-state season.
On one hand, Bennett knew just being selected was an honor. But she also wanted to take to court one last time.
“At the beginning, it was just pure joy and excitement for getting chosen for this opportunity,” she said. “But as I started to realize that my injury was gradually getting worse by the day, my mind shifted a little.
“There was some uncertainty and some questioning whether playing in the tournament would injure it more. My mom (Shawn) and I discussed that this is a big opportunity, and this would be a good and fun way to close out my basketball career, so we put on some pain relieving cream and played some ball. ”
Bennett was joined by Newell-Fonda standout Macy Sievers on the NW Iowa team, as they posted a 78-75 victory over a team of Southwest Iowa players in the finals.
“I met some pretty amazing girls in this tournament, my teammates especially,” Bennett said. “I had heard a lot about Macy and had watched her play in many state basketball games and had wished I would have gotten to play with her and that became reality.
“Not only her, but all my other teammates are hardworking and gritty basketball players too. My team was not only fun to compete with on the court but off the court and on the bench it was nothing but smiles and laughs with those girls. I believe I truly made some lifelong friends on this team and I could not be happier with the teammates I got chosen to play with. ”
In that game, Bennett, who has committed to play softball at the University of Iowa, scored eight points. She also added eight points in a first round 100-71 win over Southeast Iowa.
“The game was a pretty big deal, which I did not really expect walking into,” Bennett said. “But as soon as I got there and the stands filled up, it finally hit me that this tournament was a big deal.”
Bennett became the first Dodger to earn all-state honors since 2007 this past winter. She became the school leader in assists and steals while ranking fifth in scoring and cracking the Top-10 in rebounds.
“Finding out that I was one of 12 girls to be chosen for the NW Iowa All-Star team was pretty awesome,” she said. “I was super excited and humbled. I would never have expected to be honored in this way and to be able to play with some of the best players in the state was a pretty amazing opportunity.
“I could not have asked for a better way to close out my basketball career. I left it all out on the court and played my heart out for two more 32-minute games, and I could not be happier. ”
South Central Calhoun’s Joshua Dietrich was part of the NW Iowa boys team that finished second. Dietrich scored 14 points in the opener and 17 in the championship game.