From Setbacks to Success

The inspiring journey of a DHS basketball star.
Dribbling down the court, junior Alonna Dowell takes command of the basketball. It has been a long journey for her to return after tearing her ACL.
Dribbling down the court, junior Alonna Dowell takes command of the basketball. It has been a long journey for her to return after tearing her ACL.
Sienna Seufert

In the dimly lit gymnasium, the sound of squeaking sneakers and the rhythmic bounce of a basketball filled the air. Among the players on the court, one stood out for her skill, resilience, and determination that defined her journey.

Meet Alonna Dowell, a junior at Dallastown Area High School whose path to success in girls’ basketball was paved with adversity.

During the 2022-2023 Girls’ basketball season, Dowell faced a devastating setback when she tore her ACL during her game. For any athlete, such an injury is physical and mental. It tests one’s resolve, challenges one’s passion, and often casts doubts on one’s future in the sport one loves. For Dowell, it was a moment that could have defied the end of her basketball dreams.

Dowell (left) and Harper Poff (right)  huddled up during the big game with Northeastern on Feb. 22. The Wildcats played their way to victory and won 43-39.  (Sienna Seufert)

The road to recovery was long and arduous, marked by countless hours of physical therapy, setbacks, and moments of doubt. Nevertheless, Dowell refused to let adversity define her. With unwavering support from her family, coaches, and teammates, she embarked on a journey of resilience and redemption. 

“The first 5 months were slow and hard for me, I had to relearn how to do everything. Simple as how to flex a quad, how to walk, run, and just basic movements,” stated Dowell.

Slowly but steadily, Dowell began to make progress. Pushing herself through grueling workouts, stayed disciplined with her rehab regimen, and never lost sight of her ultimate goal. As the months passed, her hard work began to pay off.

Fast forward to the present day, and Dowell is not just back on the court she’s dominating. Her speed, agility, and sheer determination have made her a force to be reckoned with in girl’s basketball. 

With her fearless drives to the basket, precision shooting, and unmatched defensive prowess, she has become the heart and soul of her AAU and for Dallastown. In Dowell’s first game back after her injury she “ended up dropping 19 points.”

“Alonna’s resilience is truly inspiring,” remarked trainer Laura Regener, who has witnessed her journey firsthand. 

Her dedication to her recovery and her passion for the game are second to none. She’s not just a talented player; she’s a leader both on and off the court.

Assistant Coach Bryan Harbold (left) and Dowell (right) discuss the game with Northeastern. So far, the Wildcats have a 17-0 record during the 23-24 season. (Sienna Seufert)

As the season unfolds, Dowell’s talent continues to rise. Her impressive performance has caught the attention of college recruiters, and she has her sights set to play on the next level. However, beyond the accolades and the spotlight, Dowell’s greatest victory lies in the lessons she learned along the way. 

“Always keep your head up and maintain a positive attitude the whole way through. Never let a setback interfere with an amazing comeback. You have to have the right mindset and determination and you will come back better than ever,” beamed Dowell.

As Dowell takes the court, her journey serves as a reminder that setbacks are not the end of the road-they are merely opportunities for a comeback. With dreams of attending Villanova University to continue her basketball career and study exercise science to become a physical therapist, the sky is truly the limit for this basketball star.

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    Carol LeDucMar 13, 2024 at 6:11 pm

    Great article. Kudos to Alonna for her grit and determination! She must have all around GREAT support! Go Alonna and your Dallastown team mates!