Millbury High’s Layce Hermans: A missed opportunity
A knee injury has cost Millbury High’s Layce Hermans her senior season on the court—a blow to her and to the Woolies.
By CHRISTOPHER TREMBLAY, Staff Sports Writer
Last winter junior Lacey Hermans had her best season for the Millbury girls basketball team despite finding herself a little behind the eight ball when the season began. Having injured her knee during the soccer season, Hermans found that she had a lot of work to do to get ready for the basketball season, but she wasn’t going to let the injury hamper her upcoming season for the Woolies.
Millbury went 19-5, earning the school a 10 seed in the Division 4 State Tournament, where MHS defeated West Bridgewater, Northbridge, Mashpee and Lunenburg before eventually falling to Amesbury in the championship game. Hermans was a main cog in the Woolies success. The junior averaged 9 points per game (third on the team), pulled down 150 rebounds (second), knocked down 28 3-pointers, had 15 blocked shots and led the team with a free throw percentage of 73.7 on the year. She was also named to the All-Star team for the first time.
“The (soccer) injury pushed me back a bit as I was not able to attend any camps prior to the basketball season, but I worked hard and ended up having my best season,” she said. “This year I was able to be a big part of our success and making it to the State Finals. As for the All-Star recognition I didn’t expect it at all, but it was very rewarding as I had worked so hard entering the season and it validated that I had earned my spot on the team.”
Having such an impactful season for the Woolies last winter, Hermans had worked hard to get ready for her upcoming senior campaign and was very excited to take the court with her teammates. Unfortunately, it would be a season that would not even get started before it was over.
“I blew out my right knee in our very first scrimmage and was told that I wouldn’t be able to play at all this year,” she said. “It was devasting and very heartbreaking not being able to play. We have a bond as players, and I realized that I would never be able to play with them again with this being my senior year.”
Instead of helping her teammates to hopefully another tournament run on the court, Hermans would find herself sitting on the bench and watching. And although it was something that originally was very tough to do, Hermans eventually took solace in her fate and found yet another way in which she could help her teammates.
“At first it was really hard to watch your friends and teammates on the court, knowing that you should be out there with them, but it was nice to see them growing and working hard while having success,” she said. “Although I was not able to be on the floor with the team I did find a way that I could help. By watching games from the bench I got to see thigs from a different angle and was able to tell them what I was seeing and they could make the adjustment on the floor.”
Hermans began her basketball career back in the third grade when I bunch of her friends decided to take up the sport and her father became a coach. It was here she not only found a bond with the sport but was also able to form a bond with her father, who had played basketball just about his whole life.
Two years after beginning her basketball journey, she began to grow within the sport and soon found herself playing AAU basketball with the Shooters out of Charlton and then the Shockers out of Grafton. AAU would help to improve her game playing with the older girls who had a higher basketball skill level getting her ready for high school basketball.
With Millbury being a junior/senior high school Hermans got to play junior varsity basketball as a seventh grader for the Woolies and found herself swinging between the JV and varsity team as an eighth grader and although it was something that was not of the norm the youngster absorbed everything that she could during those two years so that she would be ready by the time she was a freshman.
“Playing those two years really helped me to get ready for the varsity season and playing against the type of talent that I would face during my freshman year,” Hermans said.
As a freshman playing for the varsity squad Hermans found herself coming off the bench to help the team go 19-1 and earn the number two seed in the Division 3 Central Tournament where they eventually fell to Millis in the Semi Finals. According to Millbury Coach Steve Reno, the Woolies had a lot of talent on the roster ahead of Hermans that year, but the freshman did get her minutes and contributed when she was on the court.
“As a freshman I knew that I wasn’t going to be a main contributor, but when I did get the chance to play I made it count; I knew that I had the potential to help this team,” she said.
Being part of a team that went to the Division 4 State Championship game just a year earlier, Hermans and her teammates were looking to take that next step this winter.
“Layce was supposed to be a big part of our team this year, especially after the year that she had last year,” Coach Reno said. “When she went down in that first scrimmage with a season ending injury I felt really bad for her being that it was to be her senior year.”
Despite not being on the court for her senior season with her teammates Hermans is taking everything in stride and cheering her friends along each time they tip off.
“I would definitely love nothing more than to be out there with my teammates in this my senior year,” she said. “But it’s not as bad knowing that I’m on the bench each game helping them in whatever way I can.”
Unfortunately, while Hermans’ actual basketball playing days are over, she is hoping that her teammates can continue to play at a high level and go the distance this year and take home the Division 4 State title.