Sophomore class leaves Lane with 54-8 career record
Two years ago, Danielle Schmidt stepped onto Lane’s campus as a basketball player on scholarship.
The same goes for Courtney Walchli, Megan Shields, and twin sisters Jordan and Kersey Wilcox.
While they all had dreams and goals of winning the South Region championship and Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges Championship for head coach Greg Sheley, none of them could have predicted what life would have in store for them once their Titans playing days were over.
All five athletes, including freshman Simone Thompson, have signed national letters of intent to continue their careers on the court and in the classroom at four-year colleges or universities.
Shields and Kersey will finish out their college careers by playing another two years together, this time for Humboldt State University in Arcata, Calif.
“I’m glad that I’ll have someone there that I know — not only for school but because we know how each other plays,” Shields said. “We already have a connection on the court so that’ll be nice.”
Much like Shields and Kersey, Walchli and Jordan will complete their careers together, in Portland representing Warner Pacific College.
“It’s a huge accomplishment for me,” Jordan said. “I’ve wanted this since I can remember and being able to continue my dream with a best friend is a blessing.”
Former Titans soccer star Kiki McDonagh is a member of Warner Pacific’s women’s soccer team.
After coming to Lane from Hillsboro, Schmidt is going to stay local and take her unique skill set to Northwest Christian University.
“They were a local university and had good understanding of my situation,” Schmidt said. “They also have a really good education program.”
Thompson came to Lane for one year from her home in Gardena, Calif., but is returning to the Golden State. Thompson signed her letter of intent to play for California State University-Dominguez Hills in Carson, Calif.
“I signed with them because it’s close to home and I wanted to be close enough so my parents can make it to the games,” Thompson said. “The coach at CSUDH is very tough, and I like a tough coach that will push me to be great.”
The quintet of sophomores won a South Region championship in 2012, their freshman year. With the help of Thompson, they brought home the NWAACC championship in March 2013.
“It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience winning NWAACCs,” Walchli said. “I couldn’t ask for any better group of girls to experience these past two years with.”
The sophomores end their Lane career with a 54-8 record, including 30-2 with Thompson as their teammate.
“I learned a lot — not only about the game of basketball, but about life as well,” Kersey said. “I also never had a chance to win a championship so winning NWAACCs was an experience of a lifetime.”
When asked what Sheley would say to them one last time before they leave for the next level, he simply said “thanks” with a smile on his face. He’s confident that they know what they need to do to succeed at the next level.
Shields comes from Sherwood, where she was a graduate of Sherwood High School. She leaves Lane as one of the best defensive players in Titans history.
Shields ends her stint as Lane’s career leader with blocks in a career, blocks in a season and blocks in a game. She has 173 blocks in her career, 95 in her sophomore season alone and 11 blocks in a Dec. 29 game against Columbia Basin College.
“Her ability to alter shots and block shots clearly makes her a defensive presence,” Sheley said. “It’s going to be a tough pair of shoes for us to fill next year with her gone.”
FG Percentage: 51%
Kersey is from Prineville, where she attended Crook County High School for two years and transferred to Mountain View High School.
She ends her Lane career as one of the top free throw shooters in Lane history, ranking in the top 10 in free throw percentage, free throw attempts and free throws made in a career. She finished her career as a 79% free throw shooter by going 289-for-366 from the charity stripe.
“Her ability to get to the free throw line and convert at a high percentage was huge to her success,” Sheley said. “She’s distributed the ball well this year that just added another weapon to her game.”
FG Percentage: 36%
3-FG Percentage: 32%
Walchli is from Hermiston, where she graduated from Hermiston High School.
After battling through injuries during both years as a Titan, the most serious being a concussion she sustained her sophomore year, Walchli regrouped to become Lane’s most dangerous three-point shooter at the end of the season and throughout their playoffs run.
“She was a starter and big-time contributor for us her freshman year and was able to bounce back from it this year,” Sheley said. “She was so solid and fundamental for us, rarely making mistakes.”
FG Percentage: 44%
3-FG Percentage: 32%
Jordan arrived at Lane from Prineville, where she attended Crook County High School for two years before moving on to Mountain View High School to finish her high school career.
Much like her sister Kersey, Jordan has etched her name into the Lane record books. She is in the top 10 in three-pointers made and attempted during a career. She went 92-for-296 in a Titans uniform, including a career-best 7-for-12 showing at a Feb. 20 game against Umpqua Community College.
“I love her competitiveness – she’s really a competitor because you can see it on her,” Sheley said. “We’re going to miss her outside shooting ability and the fact that she was always loose and relaxed for us.”
FG Percentage: 35%
3-FG Percentage: 32%
Schmidt comes from Hillsboro and is a graduate of Hillsboro High School. She concludes her Lane career as one of the most versatile athletes Sheley said he has ever coached.
Much like Walchli, Schmidt consistently battled through injuries in her career, most notably serious injuries to both of her calves, which kept her out of most practices during her sophomore year.
She played her best when the games mattered most, often playing three or four positions per game during both NWAACC playoffs runs.
“She has a unique ability on the offensive end – being able to distribute and finish around the hoop,” Sheley said.
FG Percentage: 43%
3-FG Percentage: 31%
Thompson is one of the few Lane players coming from California. She grew up in Gardena, Calif., but played at Serra High School, one of the top athletic high schools in Southern California.
Although she only played one year at Lane, her impact was immediately noticeable. She was Lane’s best perimeter defender, often guarding the opponent’s best guard. She began her career by averaging 22 points per game and being named most valuable player of the Everett Community College Tournament Dec. 16 to 18.
“She began the year as our main scorer and ended it as one of our best defensive players,” Sheley said.
FG Percentage: 33%
FT Percentage: 78%