Lady Panthers forward battled through injury last season

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FARMINGTON — Naomi Smith didn’t let a torn right meniscus stop her from finishing out her senior year in the front court for the Piedra Vista girls basketball team.

Now, Smith hopes that same burning will on the floor bodes well for Hesston College’s women’s basketball program after she signed with the Larks today via athletic scholarship.

Smith’s injury came during the District 1-6A opener against Cibola on Jan. 19, but she put off surgery until after the season ended so she could help PV. The 5-foot-10 Smith ended up playing six of the team’s final 11 games, including both 6A state tournament games.

“My team’s the only thing that pushed me to do more,” said Smith, who still has roughly five more weeks of rehab left.

Smith said Hesston College, a National Junior College Athletic Association program in Hesston, Kansas, was drawn to her selfless play and mentality of helping the cause on offense.

Smith also said Hesston likes her passing in tight windows and ability to shoot from both inside and outside, and the Larks viewed her ability to play through her injury as another testament to her selflessness.

As she enters the next level, Smith said she hopes to get even more involved attacking the basket and scoring off penetration.

Though she hasn’t put much thought into it, Smith said she eventually would like to transfer to a bigger program if an opportunity surfaces.

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