SEFFNER — When asked to describe sophomore guard Ally Parimore, who has a serious shoulder injury, Seffner Christian coach Greg Fawbush thought for a minute.
"You're not going to understand this completely," he said. "But she is just a Parimore."
And that requires you to be tough. How tough? How about playing through this season with a torn labrum in her shooting shoulder.
"I don't know of anyone who would keep playing with that," Fawbush said. "Let alone not having missed any time because of it."
It won't be hard to spot Parimore on the court tomorrow night when the Crusaders host Florida Air in the 3A region finals. She'll be the one with a black arm harness underneath her jersey.
And diving all over the court like nothing was wrong.
"That's just the way I play," Parimore said. "I just have to work through it."
Parimore originally hurt the shoulder crashing into the bleachers during a game in January 2012. An MRI was inconclusive, but Parimore missed the rest of the regular season and districts.
"I felt it right away but I kept playing," she said. "Then I went up for a layup and airballed it. I just started crying and knew something was really wrong."
She came back during the postseason and helped SCA to the region finals. Over the summer Parimore thought the shoulder had healed sufficiently, but she reinjured it during volleyball in the fall. Again, Parimore continued to play through the pain until going for a second MRI over Christmas break. The test revealed a torn labrum.
"There was no way I was having surgery before (basketball) season was over," she said. "No way."
So Parimore straps on her brace and keeps playing. In a 75-40 win against Lakeland McKeel in the region semifinals Tuesday, Parimore was again sprawling out for loose balls on the floor. On one particular collision underneath the basket, Parimore landed on the elbow attached to the injured shoulder. She got up a little slowly and briefly — very briefly — winced.
"There's definitely pain," Parimore said. "But I've learned to play with it."
Part of the reason Parimore is so determined to play through the injury is the pain she felt last year — while sitting out games.
"Honestly, it was almost worse having to sit there and just watch," she said. "I wasn't doing that again."
With Peyton Walker, Tesha Hanson and Sabrina Whiting handling the scoring load — all three are averaging more than 15 points per game — Parimore has comfortably slid into a supporting role.
"She is the absolute epitome of a team player," Fawbush said. "She's said this before to the team: 'I don't care if I play, as long as we make it to the finals.' That's the type of teammate she is."
So Parimore typically takes on the opponent's best player. She hits the floor to corral a loose ball. She takes a charge. Parimore has surgery scheduled for mid March, but first, she will address some unfinished business.
"I know I'm not the best player on this team, but I just want to do what I can," she said. "I love to play defense and get the ball to the right person. So I just have to not worry about the pain and do what I can do."
And that's Parimore tough.
Brandon Wright can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.