Athlete of the Week: King's Academy's Haley Gantt

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A major surgery cost Haley Gantt a whole year of her high school career.

But her determination, her love of basketball and her faith in god, would not let it cost her, her future. King's academy's Haley Gantt is the CBS12 Athlete of the Week.

Every day, you can find Gantt putting up shots.

It's something she doesn't take for granted.

"I thought my basketball career was over," Gantt recalls. "That's the first thing that came into my head."

When Gantt was in middle school, she was diagnosed with scoliosis, curvature of the spine caused by a growth spurt.

"You could see it in pictures, I was slanted to the side."

Her sophomore year, doctors told her a back brace was not going to fix her problem. She would need surgery. "Two titanium 12 inch rods, and fuse it with 24 screws. They stay in my body forever."

Her recovery was six months. She lost much of her muscle mass.

"The pain was brutal, I couldn't sit in a chair. I did everything lying down."

Basketball did not come back easy.

"I was six feet before surgery, 6'2 after. So I was basically in a new body. It was hard getting used to it."

Haley did not start feeling like herself until her junior year, But she had spent everyday getting stronger and shooting in the gym.

Haley's game was back and better than ever, she averaged double doubles in points and rebounds in her last two seasons.

"She's left a lasting impact not only on me and my family, but this program," says TKA coach Brian McDaniel. "She set the bar very high."

Gantt now has her eyes set on the next level - last month she committed to play college basketball at Division Two Biola University in California.

"I've been through so much, I've always wondered if the hard work would pay off," says Gantt. "And the fact that it did pay off? That's crazy."

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