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The senior hooper, and lifelong resident of St. Helens, has played all four seasons at the high school.

COURTESY PHOTO: SARAH VANDERWERF - Sarah Vanderwerf is a senior point guard with the St. Helens High School LionsShe has played basketball all four years at St. Helens High School and has dabbled in different sports throughout her life.

Sarah Vanderwerf is a familiar name to prep basketball fans in South Columbia County, and she has just embarked on her senior year with the Lady Lions.

Vanderwerf, who plays point guard for the Lions, has always enjoyed sports.

"When people are young, they try out as many sports as they can — to see what they like, to see what fits," she said. "I did gymnastics, soccer, softball, and I had a lot of fun."

Vanderwerf, who has lived in St. Helens her entire life, continued, "Basketball kind of stuck with me."

As Vanderwerf embarks on a new season, she happily gives a shoutout to team members, including freshmen.

"We have strong freshmen," she said. "We have a good underclassmen team coming up. I'm really excited to see what they have in store for us and what they can contribute to the team."

Among her teammates, Vanderwerf pointed out the contributions of Drew Erickson.

"She has a lot of potential, and I'm really excited about this year," Vanderwerf said. "This is our last year together."

Vanderwerf and her teammates are hoping this season will be a little less restrictive than last time around, when the pandemic created shortened sports seasons.

Describing the bad old days of COVID-19, Vanderwerf recalled, "It was tough, I'm not going to lie. I think we're getting through it. I think they know what to expect. They know how to get out of it and not let it affect us. It was tough in the beginning."

As to her college plans, Vanderwerf has not made a decision, but she says she would like to stay in the Pacific Northwest, close to Oregon.

"I don't want to go into a tournament team in college, nothing too serious," she said, adding she might be interested in pick-up ball.

She added, "I'm looking to see what my options are and what I can get."

Vanderwerf is looking forward to this season, along with fans and the enthusiasm they bring.

"It's amazing," she said. "I love it when the fans come to support us. I'm really excited for these home games. People on the bench, and our teammates, just go wild when we're out there."

Vanderwerf remains optimistic as the new basketball season gets underway.

"If we try really hard, and give it our all every game, I think we can get most of these wins — we have a lot of chances," she said.

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