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St. Michael-Albertville's Johnson excels after overcoming injury

STMA's Tessa Johnson overcame a gruesome leg injury to lead her team in scoring.

ST MICHAEL, Minn. — St. Michael-Albertville junior Tessa Johnson is making a name for herself in basketball circles across the state of Minnesota.

"We knew we had something special in Tessa," St. Michael-Albertville head girls' basketball coach Kent Hamre said. "She's a gym rat, and it's not too many times we're not going to see her here or in our activity center. She's just a kid that can't get enough for the game."

Johnson likes to play fast, but a gruesome leg injury in November of 2020 caused the game to slow down for her. She missed her sophomore season with a broken femur, but she calls the injury a blessing in disguise.

“It was nasty," Johnson recalls of the injury. "My dad was coaching our fall ball, so he came over and he moved my leg, because I could only move the top part. Then the rest was like floppy."

Johnson became like another assistant coach for the team while she sat on the sidelines.

“I could see the floor better when I was watching it just the whole year," Johnson said. "I would watch the floor and I could read my teammates better. I could understand my coaches better.”

Now, Johnson is back and better out on the floor.

“If you ask her, she'll probably still say she's not at 100% but she sure is playing like she's at 100%,” Hamre said.

Johnson already has five 30-point games this season.

“I feel more like, powerful out there because I went through that and I'm back now," she said.

Johnson is now getting recruited by some of the top schools in the country, though, she doesn't like to talk about it.

"Sometimes it's weird," Johnson said. "I just don't want to get big headed or whatever, but I'm kind of used to it by now."

She admits she has taken some unofficial visits, but keeps those details close to the vest.

"Whether she's got a favorite right now, she's not letting anybody know, and yes she's a very well sought after player," Hamre said. "She's handling it really well. She calls coaches back. She's always building relationships."

Johnson, who has a sister who played basketball at Iowa State, is keeping a grateful spirit, about it all.

“I want to make my dad proud and my mom, and my grandparents," Johnson said. "I want to make my surgeon proud because he did all this, and my physical therapist.”

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