Scappoose's Kaylee Wegner signs to play at Southwestern Oregon
Scappoose's Kaylee Wegner wasn't always in the spotlight.
Wegner, a 5-foot-10 forward on the Scappoose girls basketball team this year, did more than her fair share of the Indians' dirty work, defending the other team's bigger players, leading the team in rebounding, fighting for loose balls and setting up her teammates to score.
But in the end, Wegner's hard work put her right where she wanted to be — in position to continue her athletic career at the college level. Wegner recently accepted a full-ride offer to play basketball for Southwestern Oregon Community College in Coos Bay.
"I really liked the environment there. They were very inviting," said Wegner, 18. "I met the other girls on the team and they definitely had a family environment. I checked out some other places before (choosing SWOCC) and they didn't have the same vibe."
Wegner's commitment to SWOCC marks her third basketball stop in three years, playing in St. Helens through her junior season, transferring to Scappoose as a senior, and now, heading to the Oregon coast to begin her college career.
While Wegner played just one year with the Indians, Scappoose coach Joe Girres was sure glad she did, with Wegner averaging seven points per game, a team-high eight rebounds a contest and handing out three assists a night.
"Kaylee will be an asset to any team with her ability to pass and rebound, and her leadership," Girres said.
While the Indians' 2017-18 season wasn't a great success — Scappoose went 2-8 (6-18 overall), finished fifth in the Cowapa League and missed the state playoffs — it gave Wegner another chance to prove herself, taught her how to fit into a new environment and provided yet another opportunity to display her skills and work habits.
Now, she's ready to step up and do the work required to compete in college.
"For me, it's going to be hitting the weight room," she said. "In high school, I didn't really need to do that so I never really hit the weight room. But if I hit the weight room and get stronger, then if I need it, it will be helpful, being stronger. At power forward or small forward, I'll need that so I don't get pushed around."
Wegner, who said she plans to work toward a career as a dental hygienist, expects she'll be able to contribute right away to the Lakers' program.
"Last year, they dealt with a lot of injuries so they were a small team compared to the teams they went against," she said. "Some of their posts were injured so they're rebuilding it this year."
Wegner, who's already working out in preparation for next season, said she participated in an open gym session with some of SWOCC's returning players and her performance there set the table for the program's eventual offer.
"At the open gym, they told me they liked what they saw," Wegner said, adding that she's become friends with two of the Lakers' returners, incoming sophomores Lakota Robinson-Sanada and Madison Bell.
Wegner also thanked former St. Helens coach Billy McKinney for his efforts in getting her a shot at playing college basketball.
"He just opened so many doors and so many opportunities for me so I'd like to thank Billy," she said.
Next, following a summer of hard work in the weight room and in the gym, Wegner will make the move to Coos Bay. At SWOCC, she'll live in one of the campus dorms with classes scheduled to begin on Sept. 24.
"I'm excited," she added. "I'm looking forward to the new experiences college brings and living on my own."