“Coming back from an injury, I had a mental block and when we weren’t doing good at the beginning of the season, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to play as well as I did before the knee injury.”
— Angie Charchalis, a 2008 Moffat County High School graduate, about bouncing back from an injury.
Nothing about Angie Charchalis’ fast-break opportunity during a December 2010 game was out of the ordinary.
It was the sixth game of the 2010-11 season for the Colorado School of Mines women’s basketball team, and Charchalis had a two-on-one opportunity in a close game against Colorado Christian at home.
But when Charchalis, a 2008 Moffat County High School graduate, tried to stop to pass the ball on the break, her feet halted but her body didn’t.
She ended up tearing her anterior cruciate ligament and missed the rest of her junior season.
“I heard something pop, but I didn’t know what it was,” Charchalis said. “I wasn’t able to play basketball for six months, and when I did come back, I wasn’t at 100 percent.”
Fast-forward to Feb. 11 and the Orediggers again hosting Colorado Christian.
Charchalis, 22, was back on the court as a redshirt junior with her team trailing by one with less than 30 seconds remaining.
Charchalis took the inbound pass, drove into the lane and made the game-winning lay-up with four seconds left to give her team a 65-64 victory.
“Coming back from an injury, I had a mental block and when we weren’t doing good at the beginning of the season, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to play as well as I did before the knee injury,” she said. “People told me I would have to move past that, but in the back of your mind, the doubt is still there. The Colorado Christian game was my breakout game and it felt awesome to be able to do that.”
The next weekend, Charchalis helped lead the Orediggers to victories over No. 10 Fort Lewis and Adams State College. She tied her career-high with 28 points against Fort Lewis, and earned Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week honors.
School of Mines ended the regular season 12-16 overall and lost in the first round of the RMAC Shootout, 66-57, to Western State.
But, Charchalis said the team made strides at the end of the season and started to click.
“We finished really strong and had a good season, but we just had a slump that lasted too long to begin the season for it to be great,” she said. “We were trying to figure out what we needed to do as a team and get the chemistry right. By the end of the season, we had everything working.”
Charchalis was named to the All-RMAC first team on Wednesday, joined in postseason honors by teammate Stephanie Fogle, who was named to the third team.
During the regular season, Charchalis ranked fifth in the conference in scoring, averaging 15.6 points per game, and first in 3-point field goals made per game, averaging 2.5.
“There are some good players in this conference, so it is a huge honor for the other coaches to consider me among the best in the league,” she said. “I’m a shooter and I shoot a lot of (3-pointers), so I think that was a big reason why I was selected.”
Charchalis’ clutch 3-pointing shooting goes back to her Moffat County High School days. She was named the 4A Western Slope League Player of the Year her junior and senior seasons.
Once a 3-pointer shooter is on, she said, it is hard to derail them.
“There is no better feeling than hitting a 3-pointer,” she said. “Once you make one, you make another and it is like a snowball effect and it is exciting. When you hit one, you know exactly what to do the rest of the game and you usually don’t lose the feeling the rest of the night.”
Matt Ray, the MCHS girls varsity basketball coach and an assistant coach when Charchalis played, said the success she has had at the School of Mines is because she has always been a great all-around player.
“(Charchalis) was a great shooter, aggressive and a great leader when she played for us, and I don’t think that has changed much,” Ray said. “She played good defense and you could always count on her. It seemed she was always on and I can’t think of a day she was off.”
For the Bulldogs program, Ray said with Charchalis’ success comes the potential for numerous girls to succeed at the next level.
“To tell the truth, she is something other girls can look at and say, ‘Hey, I can do that,’” he said. “Angie is an example of what hard work does when you dedicate yourself and it is great to see her come from our home.”
Because of her injury, Charchalis has one more season of eligibility.
Charchalis, who is majoring in mechanical engineering, said she’s not sure how she wants to continue with basketball after her Oredigger career, but in her last season, she said she hopes to help her team make a push for a league title.
“Everyone wants their senior season to be something special, so I hope next year is better than any other season,” Charchalis said.
Click here to have the print version of the Craig Daily Press delivered to your home.