Paige Wombacher really didn't want her basketball career to be over.
So the Lebanon High School senior guard was thrilled to receive interest late in the school year from Chemeketa Community College in Salem.
Wombacher signed to play with the Storm during a ceremony at LHS on Thursday, May 30. She was joined at the ceremony by Warriors varsity girls basketball coach Mardy Benedict, and her parents, Pam and Dan Wombacher.
"Paige is a Lebanon kid through and through," said LHS Athletic Director Kraig Hoene. "Paige is one of those athletes that is successful because she is going to grind you down. She is going to beat you until you just give up and that's what makes her so special."
Benedict said Wombacher is an "electric" player.
"She's got ice in her veins. It takes a shot, or a great pass and next thing you know she is lit up and she's just lighting up the gym. She's always been like that," Benedict said.
Wombacher said she was starting to resign herself to the fact that her playing days might be over when she got a text from the Chemeketa head coach.
"It's amazing how one text can change your whole life, basically," Wombacher said.
Wombacher came off the bench for a deep and talented Warriors squad which this season won its first conference championship in girls basketball. She said her memories of the year go far beyond winning the title.
"It's so much more than that. The fact that we've all been playing for so long together, our chemistry, we're one big family," Wombacher said. "It was just really cool to see all of us finally getting what we wanted when we first came together when we were so young and working so hard for it. It's scary to thing about going and playing for a new team because I don't know any of the girls."
Wombacher is currently wearing a boot on her left foot after suffering an injury playing club basketball. She has been wearing the boot for about two weeks and expects to be out of it later this week. She is hoping to return to the court in mid-June and expects to be able to fully participate in Chemeketa's summer training program.
She plans to major in business administration and hopes to someday own a business. Her post-Chemeketa plans are completely contingent on the possibility of playing at a four-year school.