By Jeremy McDonald
STAYTON, Ore.– Regis’ Sara Wiltsey was a part of some special moments on the basketball court her Junior Year back during the 2019-2020 season.
She hit the game-winner against Yoncalla with a second remaining and set up Alicen Ditter’s game-winner to take down then number-one Central Linn on January 24, 2020. It was that game that stuck out the most for Wiltsey looking back on that 18-8 season for the Rams.
“The Central Linn game stood out for many reasons. They were the number one team in 2a at the time and we knew we had a long and fast paced night ahead of us. Central linn is a very strategic and talented team,” Wiltsey starts of the 41-40 victory. “I remember looking over to my teammate Brooklyn Cross in the second quarter and telling her how I felt like I had already played a full game. The pace of that game was something we didn’t come across a lot. It was a very back and forth game but we held on until the end.
“Our team had a habit of starting slow but not that night, that truly was the game changer. I passed the game winning assist to Alicen Ditter and there was not enough time left for Central Linn to score afterwards. We won by one-point. After this game, I was so proud of everyone staying level headed through it all and especially for not giving up. I remember this moment like it was yesterday.”
It was part of one of those years in which, looked as underdogs, the Rams came storming back into the 2A realm, and were a game away from making it to the postseason for the first-time since the 2016-2017 season.
They were hungry. They embraced the celebrations and the grind in practice. Playing for more than the name on the back of the uniform and playing more for the one in the front.
“Being a Ram has always meant playing for more than just myself. I play for my team. It has also shown me that nothing comes easy, especially being an underdog. This just meant working hard at every single practice to prove anything is possible. Having a Regis logo on the front of my jersey has been an honor in many ways,” Wiltsey said. “We are taught to wear it with pride and that is something I have always held onto.”
After the win against the Eagles of Yoncalla Wiltsey pointed on December 27, 2019, they were hungry for more wins. As painful as their season-ending loss to Oakland 31-22 in the Central Valley Conference-league playoffs, it still felt good being so close to where they wanted to be.
“After that game we were hungry for more wins so we worked for them,” Wiltsey said of the Yoncalla win. “We really wanted to see ourselves in the playoffs and although we didn’t make it, coming close was enough for me too. It still feels just as good being the first Regis girls basketball team in a few years making it that far.”
Also a Volleyball player, Wiltsey was part of two Regis squads that reached the 2A First Round of the playoffs. Her sophomore year during the 2018-2019 season, the Rams returned to the Round of 16 for the first time since the 2013-2014 season under former coach Julie Summers.
As great as the past few years were, Wiltsey is excited to see how they can build if given the opportunity this Spring under first-year Head Coach Jasmine Ackermann.
“Coach Summers was an amazing coach that really instilled a fire in my team and I. She held high expectations that we have carried on even after she left. Going into my senior season I am just really looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish with our new coach, Coach Ackermann,” said Wiltsey.
“She too has high expectations for us and playoffs are something we want really badly. With these times of uncertainty, it really makes me appreciate what I had. I cannot even begin to put into words how much I miss it all. The time spent with my teammates and coaches were so valuable to me. However, with all of that being said, I am still so thankful for the memories I did make.”
Volleyball is scheduled to start February 22 with Basketball not scheduled to start until May of 2021 for Wiltsey final season in the Green and White.