By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– 2020 South Salem-grad Ellyson Haytas has returned to the court of play after a year away from the game.
Following her senior year, where she was an Honorable Mention selection for the Saxons and helped South Salem reach the 6A State Semi-Final round before the Coronavirus Pandemic ended their run prematurely; Haytas didn’t touch a basketball or play it.
Instead, she focused on herself. Hitting the reset button on her passion and love of the game that made her a good player for the Saxons back in her prep career. Picking back up the sport during Hoopla this past year when Chemeketa Head Coach Kevin McCarrell and Haytas paths crossed with it eventually leading to Haytas joining the squad this season.
“After our season ended at South Salem in March of 2020 because of covid, I did not touch or play basketball until deciding to play in hoopla in August of 2021 this year. I enrolled online at Chemeketa and did school for a year before seeing and chatting with Coach Kevin at Hoopla,” Haytas starts.
“I felt that taking the year off and staying home after covid hit really helped me in all aspects of life, including basketball. I was able to enjoy playing basketball again because I felt like my whole self. Coming back for this season, I feel confident and excited.”
Haytas has played and started in eight games for the Storm this year, where she’s averaging 4.6 points, 7.3 rebounds and two steals a game for Chemeketa. Her love and passion for the game is now stronger than ever as the Storm, who are currently 5-3 on the season, open up NWAC South Region play January 17 at Southwestern Oregon Community College.
“This season so far has been so much fun and I feel that my love for basketball has never been stronger! I am excited to see what this season brings,” Haytas said.
Chemeketa will host Clark (January 19) and Lane (January 22) for their first home games of the 2022 calendar year.