MOLLY McKinnon endured a moment of panic when she hurt herself on the eve of the Big V finals.
The Warrnambool Mermaids shooting guard was relieved her ankle injury was minor and would only require one game on the sidelines.
She cheered the Mermaids on during their elimination final win over Werribee Devils and will now suit up for their best-of-three semi-finals series against Mildura Heat, starting with game one at the Arc on Saturday night.
“I trained last night and feel good about it,” McKinnon said of her recovery.
“I did it at school basketball on Thursday last week. I freaked out as it happened before everything I had coming up.
“I came down on someone’s foot and rolled it.”
McKinnon, who missed a chunk of the season with a similar injury, suited up against the Devils but did not take to the court.
“It was good to have a rest and it was an exciting game to watch anyway, sitting on the bench and being part of everything,” she said.
The 2017 division two champions will travel to Mildura, either by car or plane, next weekend for game two and, if required, game three as they strive to book a division one grand final berth.
McKinnon, 17, is confident the Mermaids have the talent to advance.
But she said winning game one in front of their home fans was crucial.
“We have so many players who can have an impact on the game,” McKinnon said.
“Amy Wormald has dominated all season, Katie O’Keefe has played well and Holly Greene, when she’s played, and Louise Brown off the bench has been good.”
McKinnon, who earned all-star five honours in 2017, said the jump in divisions had been an adjustment personally, particularly after battling injury.
“It’s been a lot harder. I had an injury at the start of the year which affected my fitness,” she said.
McKinnon, who is encouraging fans to support the Mermaids’ raffle on Saturday night, believes her two years’ experience in the state league will help her achieve her long-term dreams.
“It’ll make me go further in basketball, playing at a high level at a young age,” McKinnon said.
“I’d like to go over to college (in America).”
Tip off is at 6pm.