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1993 Class 3A girls' basketball state champions will be honored during halftime of Friday's home game against Estacada

SUBMITTED PHOTO: LAUREE NELZEN - 1993 Oregon Class 3A girls' basketball state champion Molalla, front row, left to right: Debi Mann, Amy Guild, Lauree Lais, Staci Wilson, Kristen Maholland, Liberty Chelsen. Back row, left to right:
Angela Linder, Corie Krueger, Jenni Krueger, Christy Hansen, Julia Carpenter, Tammy Brusch.

25 years later, Molalla High School's 1993 state champion girls' basketball team will meet on the court once again.

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the program's state title, current head coach Phil Wiesner coordinated with current MHS volleyball head coach and member of the 1993 girls' basketball team Lauree Nelzen to round up as many of her high school teammates for a reunion at a home game this season. Nelzen made it happen, and the team will reunite and be honored at halftime during this Friday's home game against Estacada.

"Many of us haven't seen each other in about 25 years, so we're excited to get together to chat and sit at the games together and cheer our current team on [Friday]," Nelzen said.

The team was inducted into the MHS Athletic Hall of Fame in 2003, and most of them have kept in contact over the years and many still remain in the Molalla area. Others reside in Washington, D.C., California, Montana, and Australia.

"This is truly the first time almost all of us will be together in 25 years; it's so crazy to think it's been that long," Nelzen said. "I'm really grateful to coach [Wiesner] and the team for the recognition; we all realize the older we get how special that time was and always will be."

"We accomplished the goal we set for ourselves that year, and have so many amazing memories and life lessons learned from that time; I think we all know how truly blessed we are."

The state champs will meet with the current girls' team before the game and serve them a pregame meal, and they are bringing some mementos from the 1993 season to share with them.

After cruising through the first three rounds of the state playoff tournament at the Salem Armory, beating Astoria 70-39, then Hood River 76-63, and Ontario 59-39 in the semifinals, the Indians met with Central High School in the championship matchup, and it was much closer than their routes there. PIONEER PHOTO: CONNER WILLIAMS - This Molalla Pioneer newspaper clipping from the March 17, 1993 edition features an array of photos from the 1993 season.

Nelzen (then Lauree Lais) led the team with 20 points in the Indians' 55-52 win for the state title, but she said her most vivid memory from the game is when Jenni Kreuger sunk a three-pointer with 30 seconds left in the game to give the Indians a three-point lead just ten seconds after the Panthers tied it up at 52. Central then went for their own three attempt, and as it fell short, the 1993 Class 3A title was Molalla's.

"I realized she's going to shoot it, it's like all slow-motion, like oh my gosh, she's shooting it, and then it went in and we still had to play about 30 seconds without completely going nuts," Nelzen said.

She recounted another vivid memory that occurred after the game, in which head coach Mark Wipf spoke to the team in the locker room while they savored the victory.

She remembers him saying: "You won't understand fully what you've done and accomplished for about five years."

"I remember thinking at the time, you know, being 17 and everything, 'That's a weird thing to say,' but almost exactly five years later I was working at a grocery store in Canby and a guy came up to me and asked me my name," Nelzen said. "I told him, and he said 'I thought so! I watched you when you played for Molalla and you beat Central in 1993. That was an amazing game.'"

"I was kind of stunned and said 'thank you' and as he walked away, what Wipf said was right – it fully hit me what our team had accomplished, and that we would always have that for our whole life."

Conner Williams
Sports Reporter/News Contributor
503-829-2301 ext. 341
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