By Jeremy McDonald
GERVAIS, Ore.– Gervais senior Ava Sellers has come a long way since her freshman year at nearby Willamette Valley Christian in Brooks. Going from struggling to shoot three-pointers to hitting three in the 2A State Title game with the Cougars, all three of them coming in a crucial juncture of the game that helped spark Gervais going into the fourth quarter of the game on March 4.
A plus for Sellers as she will be taking her talents to Chemeketa Community College this next season. Capping a three-year run with the Cougars that saw her being a part of two State Winning Teams and another 2A State Playoff run in 2022 that resulted in Gervais reaching Pendleton.
“As a freshman I couldn’t even shoot 3’s now fast forward to me senior year I’m making critical 3 pointers in our state championship game. So I have gradually improved my shooting range and percentage each year of high school,” Sellers describes. ” I went to Willamette Valley Christian my freshman year but decided to transfer to Gervais my sophomore year. I saw that they had had success the season before and I was in their district already so I prayed about it for a while and I felt led to go there. My sophomore year, just a few months after I transferred, we won a state championship during the Covid season.
“Then fast forward to my senior year & we were able to win another state championship, in addition, I earned 2nd team All-Tournament Team and Player of The Game. This year’s win was even better than the first because it was actually recognized by the OSAA (COVID year was not) so no one can undermine our accomplishment. It was also so cool for the 2nd unit of that 2021 state championship team to become starters and win one ourselves. I definitely learned to play at a higher level coming to Gervais, I also learned how to push myself harder under Coach (Enrique) Sandoval.”
Storm Head Coach Kevin McCarrell.’s intent to detail and his willingness to help improve his players is what drew Sellers to Chemeketa. That, her familiarity with the players on the team and the style of play had drawn the Gervais senior in committing to the program. The Storm went 9-19 this past Winter and 3-13 in the NWAC South Region after a 12-12 season the year before as Sellers is looking forward towards the next two years.
“I have played with a lot of the girls that are going to play on the team next year, so just having some familiarity with some of the players will be nice. I’m super excited to be part of Kevin’s program! He sold me on how he is willing to work with you on your game, especially in the off season. I also love playing for teams that play up-tempo style with defensive pressure and then pushing the ball on offense,” Sellers starts. “I want to improve my endurance level, being able to go 100% the whole time I’m in, and then my quickness these next two years.
“I feel beyond blessed to be able to continue playing basketball at the next level! I have worked really hard these past four years to get to where I’m at now and I feel that God has blessed that hard work with this opportunity. I love my family and I’m super excited that I can stay local and still play basketball. “