Madras, Culver ballers to play at GRCC
The Madras and Culver girls basketball programs now have two more athletes playing college basketball next season. White Buffalo Monika Stacona and Bulldog Ryanne Scholl will both be playing basketball at Blue River Community College in Auburn, Washington.
Stacona helped Madras earn a 15-9 overall record, and a 7-3 Tri-Valley Conference record, finishing second in league. She earned honorable mention TVC honors her senior season.
"During my freshman, sophomore and junior year, I didn't really get to play much, so I kind of lost love for the game until (coach) Say came in," Stacona said. "My senior year was the best year for me and that is why I wanted to continue playing basketball."
"Playing at the next level means a lot because I didn't think I was going to be able to do it and I didn't think I would want to, but now I am excited and can't wait," she said. "This took a lot of hard work and determination because sometimes you want to give up and it is hard, but you just have to keep going."
"I felt like Green River wasn't too far and not too close either, so it felt good," said Stacona. "I like the coach. He made me feel comfortable at the school and that he really wanted me to be there."
Monika Stacona is the second Lady Buffalo to sign a letter of intent to play at the next level. Her teammate, Jackie Zamora-Heath, signed to play basketball at Lassen Community College in Susanville, California, during the MHS collegiate signing day May 23.
"I think this is a great opportunity for Monika to pursue her college education, as well as continue playing basketball," head Madras girls coach Jerin Say said. "It is a good way for her to pay for school. She was a hard worker, dedicated and it is paying off for her."
Madras High saw 10 athletes sign letters of intent during the signing day and now, Stacona will be joining them.
In the last two basketball seasons, the Madras girls basketball program has sent three athletes to play at the college level. Stacona and Zamora-Heath will start their collegiate careers in the winter, while former teammate Lynden Harry finished her first year at the College of the Siskiyous last year.
"Starting with the youth, seeing these girls come up to the high school program, stay dedicated, working hard, coachable, and now girls get to see that if they do those things, I am going to go out there, promote their name, work ethic, basketball IQ and skills to coaches," Say said. "We can get them out of this town, so they can pursue a college education. Let them know that doors are still open and we can keep opening doors through these types of opportunities."
Harry earned league MVP and led California community colleges in assists. She and Zamora-Heath will be playing each other next basketball season as the Eagles and Cougars are both in the Golden Valley Conference.
Scholl helped Culver earn a 14-9 overall record and helped the Lady Dogs start 10-1, but Culver fell just short of the postseason. A power forward for Culver, Scholl, if not starting, would be the first off the bench, guarding the tallest opposing players.
"Ryanne and I met each other through a different friend and from there we continued to be friends," Stacona said. "I asked her if she wanted to play ball at the next level, but she was indecisive about it. I told her the coach was looking for more players and convinced her to play."
Scholl is the second Lady Dog to sign on to play college basketball this year. Irma Retano signed to play at Eastern Oregon University earlier in the year.
Stacona and Scholl have not played much basketball together, always being on opposing teams. Now a 2A Culver Lady Dog and a 4A Madras White Buffalo will be playing together at Green River Community College in the Northwest Athletic Conference. The two will be Gators next year, playing in "The Swamp."
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