Henderson girl hits a shot of a lifetime by scoring first basket

With nerve damage in her right leg, seventh-grader Makenzie Pendergrass overcame one of her biggest obstacles by scoring her first basketball goal through perseverance and dedication.

Video Transcript

BRIDGET CONDON: One middle school basketball player in Henderson is making a case for the best Cinderella story before March Madness even begins, fighting her way onto the court, showing the world her ability.

- [INAUDIBLE], Makenzie. That's it.

BRIDGET CONDON: It's a dream come true for 12-year-old MacKenzie Pendergrass.

MAKENZIE PENDERGRASS: It was fun. I was happy I made that shot. I just was pushing hard. I didn't want to give up. Because I just feel like even if I get a minute or 30 seconds, it still means something to me because I never got to play. So, I mean, like, even 10 seconds would be fun.

BRIDGET CONDON: When Makenzie was two, doctors found a massive tumor on her back and decided to operate. The surgery left her with nerve damage in her right leg, though that's never stopped her from wanting to play just like everyone else.

BRANDY PENDERGRASS: She wants to be treated as an equal. Just because she has a disability, she don't see her disability. She just wants to be like everybody else running up and down the court.

BRIAN HOWARD: It's an adventure. If you relax off of her at any point, she'll let you know about it. She wanted to be coached, she wanted to dribble the ball, she wanted to be able to score the ball.

BRIDGET CONDON: Before this year, Makenzie had never gotten into a game without her wheelchair because of safety issues. So she decided to write a letter telling her coach how she felt. It reads in part, "I go to all the practices to get better but even if I am good at the sport I still can't play. It is unfair because I will never be able to put on a jersey."

MAKENZIE PENDERGRASS: I just feel like I can do anything anyone else says, even though some people might say I can't, I'm, like, OK, you want me to try it? I mean, I'm able to do anything you can.

BRIAN HOWARD: It tugs on your heart strings pretty tough there and her goal was always been to play in games, but I want her goal to be to score in the game.

BRIDGET CONDON: Through perseverance and determination, Makenzie, not only got a uniform and a chance to play, but she scored her first bucket. Howard says those two points don't compare to what she means to the team as a person.

BRIAN HOWARD: She also is inspirational person for them because they all know, OK, if she's going to come here and work just as hard as we are every single day when she doesn't have to, then we have to show up every day and we have to put forth our best effort.

- Yeah.

BRANDY PENDERGRASS: I feel like she's unstoppable in anything she does, anything you put in front of her she's going to surpass it.

BRIDGET CONDON: Makenzie and the Knights look to finish their season undefeated tomorrow at falls Lake Academy. Joe.