BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Giving it her all and trying something new; it's how Maya Eason is built. She's an athlete and competitor who loves playing with others.
"I just love being a part of a team," she said. "Knowing I can rely on others and they can rely on me."
Eason has been in the Olmsted basketball program since the 7th grade. She was recruited to play by the junior varsity coach at the time who saw her athleticism in gym class. She's since become a leader and four-year varsity player.
"I was never the most skilled person but I did what I could," Eason said. "I'll out-hustle everyone else."
That hustle has always defined Eason. She loves to compete, in fact she suffered a knee injury during this season's tryouts and played through it.
But that competitiveness took a backseat in early January when that initial injury she suffered during tryouts got worse.
"I went up for a layup in a game and I landed with my knee straight," she said. "I went down and couldn't get back up."
Eason wound up tearing her PCL and spraining her ACL. It's an injury that typically takes 6-8 weeks to recover from. That meant her senior basketball season was most likely over.
"It might sound dramatic but it was like devastating," Eason recalled about suffering that injury.
"All the things you'd need to do to play basketball, she couldn't do any of that," added athletic trainer Merle Cortellucci.
So Eason's rehab soon began and every day she worked on her physical and mental strength. It took a lot of patience, but that injury slowly improved and she was given the all clear in early February, around two weeks sooner than expected.
"She's one of the hardest working athletes I've ever worked with," Cortellucci said about Eason. "She puts her head and mind 110% in everything that she does."
That mindset has now given Eason the chance to play. She may have had a month of games taken away but in the end, closing out the season on the court with her team is all that really matters.
"It felt so good to be back out here," Eason said about her first game back. "There's no other place I'd rather be than with these girls."
Eason will finish out the season and continue to rehab her knee. She's hoping to be at full strength ahead of her final season as a high school shot putter.