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Road to recovery: Resilient Seth Dennis back on court for Warren

Photo by Jordan Holland Warren’s Seth Dennis (30) plays defense during a 2018-19 high school basketball game against Fort Frye in Vincent. Dennis missed his entire junior season due to a back injury, but is back and ready to help the Warriors this season.

VINCENT — Warren High School senior Seth Dennis is just glad to be back on the basketball court.

After coming off the bench and lettering as a freshman for Warrior head coach Blane Maddox, Dennis started at point guard as a 10th-grader and was expected to return to that role last year.

“I had a car wreck back in November of last year,” Dennis said. “We were coming back from a scrimmage last year at Marietta College and I got in a wreck on the way back and I broke my back (L3) and had to sit out. It just completely snapped in half. I had internal bleeding so I had to have a laparotomy.

“I had a slight tear in my aorta, which I didn’t have to have a procedure on it I just had to take a few medicines for a little bit. Then my back I had two rods put in and had to wait for the break to heal and once it healed I got the rods outs. I got those out about May and two weeks later I played baseball in the summer and played golf this year and now I’m back to basketball.”

Coach Maddox is 100% glad he’s back, but not having his expected junior point guard last year actually turned into a positive of sorts for the Warriors, who finished the campaign at 17-7 with a sectional championship and was a win away from the Division II Sweet 16.

“Not to take anything away from our guard play, our guard play was very good and it got better and better,” Maddox said. “He missed the whole year, but we overcame that about midseason and took care of the basketball. We like to have 10 or less turnovers and we kept that many times.

“(Joel) Chevalier and Kurt (Taylor) and (Brandon) Simoniette, who we lost to graduation, did an excellent job and we turned into a very good basketball team. Our schedule doesn’t indicate how good we are sometimes.”

Dennis said as far as mobility was concerned he “wasn’t like limited. It was just the stiffness and stuff from the surgery and everything. Actually, while I had my rods they let me play golf so during quarantine I played golf the whole time. It was pretty nice.”

It’s been a little more than a year since his accident on Nov. 11, 2019.

He said he didn’t sit the bench last year during games “because I had some pretty significant injuries that my parents were worried about me being on the sidelines so I watched from the stands whenever I got to watch.

“I enjoyed watching it because I’ve played it my whole life and my brother (Kyler) graduated four years ago so I haven’t got to watch basketball since then. It was really fun to watch my friends play because I’ve always played with them and I got to learn more about them than I did myself.”

Despite not being able to compete on the hardcourt as a junior, Dennis believes the time away helped him in one aspect without question.

“I’d say mentally I became a little stronger,” admitted the Warrior. “I can’t say there was anything I picked up on not being able to be out there, but mentally I definitely have a different outlook on life. Yes, I’m definitely lucky.”

Warren has been practicing and already has played a couple of scrimmages.

Although it’s taken some time, Dennis feels things are starting to come together for both himself and his teammates.

“We’ve had two scrimmages and we did pretty good in both of them,” he said. “At first my legs weren’t quite under me. I was getting a little back into it, but now I think I’m pretty much full go and ready for the season.”

Without question, the Warriors have lofty expectations and aspirations.

“I’m just hoping we get to have our season, but I think if we do there are big things to come,” said Dennis, who plans to attend Washington State and become a respiratory therapist.

Contact Jay Bennett at jbennett@newsandsentinel.com

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