Recent Culver High School grad and basketball player Irma Retano played in the Oregon Athletic Coaches Association all-star game June 15-16, in Salem.
Retano just finished up her senior year on the Lady Dawgs basketball team during the winter. She had an incredible season, nearly averaging a triple-double, while shooting a very high percentage.
Retano averaged 19.5 points, 11 rebounds and 7.9 steals, all while shooting 41.6% from the field. Those stats earned her first-team all league in the 2A-2 Tri-River Conference.
The Lady Dawgs started the season 10-1, but ended the season with a 14-9 record, just short of making the postseason.
Retano holds several career and single-season records for the Lady Dawgs and last year, broke the most made 3-pointers in a single game record, with a total of six.
In several interviews, Retano has explained how she has improved in the game of basketball over the years. She said she could not dribble or shoot very well, only relying on her athleticism to score.
"When I said I sucked, I never would have ever imagined that I would be doing the things I am doing (all-star game, college basketball)," she said.
Basketball became her passion and she improved her shooting and dribbling during the offseason, becoming one of the best scorers the league had. Teams could not stop Retano when she decided to drive to the hoop and they could not leave her open behind the arc because she would consistently knock down 3-pointers.
She took to the gym with a find set to improve, with her coach Scott Fritz helping her every step of the way. Family, friends, and coach Fritz all came to cheer on Retano's all-star game.
"It was super cool of everyone to be there, especially Fritz, because he is the reason I am as good as I am now," Retano said. "It was huge and meant a lot to me."
The all-star games were compiled from 2A-4A players on an East, West, North and South team. Retano played on the East team with two players from Baker City, with Baker City coach Brandon Begley at the helm.
Two players from Burns and players from Mazama, La Pine, and Irrigon were also on the same team as Retano.
"It felt nice to wear a Culver jersey and represent the team," said Retano. "Especially since they were all from bigger schools and no one knew who Culver was; I thought that was cool. I was proud and it was really fun."
The East team played the West all-star team in its first game, but the team and Retano ended up losing 60-57. Everything went better in the second game, as the East all-star team beat the North all-star team by 30 points.
"I was kind of nervous because I just knew everyone was going to be really good and I didn't do that well," she said. "I think I was too nervous. My defense was good, but I didn't do that much on offense. The second game, I thought I did really good. I wasn't nervous anymore. I was just used to playing and just played basketball. I was better both offensively, and defensively, and as a team, we were just better. It was really fun to play with that group, they were really energetic."
Retano saw her dream become a reality when she signed a letter of intent to play at Eastern Oregon University, in La Grande. Her hard work and dedication paid off, but she is working hard to get ready to play at the college level.
"I have a summer training program, so I am really going to be at the gym," Retano said about getting ready for college basketball. "I will be playing basketball and lifting, getting bigger because the girls are bigger and I am not that big. I am going to try and work on my handles and perfect my shooting."
Retano will be a Mountaineer next year in a very good girls basketball program. Over the last three seasons, the EOU girls basketball program has a combined record of 90-12, finishing last season with a 29-4 record.
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