Isenhour’s Late Call to Play Basketball Proving Big for Chargers
GALESBURG — Lilly Isenhour didn’t come to Carl Sandburg College to play basketball, but an injury helped the Chargers add one of their most productive players this season.
Isenhour originally come to Sandburg to play volleyball. Early in the season, the 6-foot middle hitter had an ankle injury that sidelined her for nearly six weeks. As she tried to block a ball at the net, Isenhour landed awkwardly on her ankle. She ruptured her outer ligament and partially ruptured the inner ligament.
The freshman from Clinton, Iowa, was told she would likely need surgery on her ankle, but after a lot of physical therapy and treatment, it largely healed on its own. Isenhour, who also played basketball at Prince of Peace High School, then decided to suit up for the Chargers on the hardwood as well.
“I sat out almost the entire volleyball season,” Isenhour said. “That was kind of when I decided I wanted to join basketball because I was like, well, I've missed all of volleyball, basically.”
Despite her last-minute decision to play basketball, Isenhour has been a force. Through Jan. 30, the forward has averaged 12.5 points (second on the team) and leads the Chargers with 10.5 rebounds per contest. She recorded nine double-doubles in her first 19 games, and she’s one of just 29 players in NJCAA Division II averaging a double-double this season.
In addition to Isenhour’s injury playing a role in her decision to join the basketball team, her roommate, Elly Bentley, a freshman point guard for the Chargers, was also a big factor.
“I was kind of missing (basketball) a little bit, especially with Elly coming home every day (from practice) and talking about it with the girls,” Isenhour said.
Isenhour and Bentley have grown a strong bond on and off the court. Between binge-watching shows on Netflix, playing ping-pong or making dinners together, the two have built a bond that has been dynamic on the court as well.
“I just have that trust in her as well that she's going to be honest with me because we are that close,” Isenhour said.
Isenhour has a sister who played at Sandburg as well. Julia Isenhour was an all-Arrowhead Conference and all-Region IV forward at Sandburg from 2013-15. Lilly came down to watch her sister many times when she was younger. She even used to wear her own basketball jersey to come support her sister as well.
Isenhour has many goals for next season, one of them being able to have a full volleyball season.
“I'm looking forward to having a whole volleyball season because I did not really get that this year,” Isenhour said. “There's a whole new team, so I’m really excited to play next year, and then same thing for basketball, meeting the new girls and still playing with Elly.”