Rayanna Davis knew she was coming to the game, but didn't let her teammates know so that she could provide an emotional lift.
Davis came to watch Newberry battle Ridgeland-Hardeeville for the Class 3A state title. Still recovering from a February 20 automobile accident, the All-State guard suffered a fractured rib, collapsed lung and she has tubes in her chest. She was a passenger in a car driven by her sister. They were on the way to school on a foggy morning and according to Davis, their car came into contact with a driver who did not have lights on. The car with the Davis sisters ended up in a ditch with Rayanna's sister not injured.
Davis caught the force of the impact and nearly two weeks removed from the accident, Rayanna can't do anything that will stress her body. She can't stay outside for long periods and she sits as often as possible. As a re sult, it was until Friday when she learned she would be able to make the trip to the Colonial Life Arena to cheer on her teammates.
"I'm just happy, that's all," Davis said.
"I'm just happy I was here. I know I sparked them. When I came I knew there were happy and I knew they were going to win. I never doubted, that they would lose."
Newberry defeated Ridgeland-Hardeeville 57-50 to win the Class 3A state championship after losing the title in 2017 on a buzzer-beater to Bishop England. So it was quite an emotional roller coaster for everyone involved in the Newberry program. But Davis' surprise appearance was certainly a spark.
"The girls didn't know they were coming and that really excited them before the game," said Newberry head coach Melissaa Mendenhall.
"She surprised them and to see her in person instead of on the cardboard, made it a whole lot better."
Given Davis' injuries, it was certainly a product of a progress in the recovery process that allowed Davis to come.
"My x-ray looked good, everything looked good and I was able to get out," Davis said.
"It's very emotional because I went from laying on the ground, going in the hospital, being cut up with all these surgeries, to being right here with them. I went through a lot, but I'm here."
Her basketball career is not over either. The senior guard will play next year at Clinton Junior College in Rock Hill.