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Petersen on Oregon team for Shootout

Until her junior year, Ashland High's Sarah Petersen was known primarilyas a dominating net player in volleyball.

Her 6-foot-2 frame helped her enjoy success as a basketball player, butvolleyball was viewed as her sport of the future. Her best chance to earna college scholarship.

Things have changed.

Petersen, 18, developed into an inside force in basketball last seasonas a senior post player for first-year Ashland coach Heather Roberts. Sheaveraged 18.4 points and 8.3 rebounds a game to lead her team into the Class4A state playoffs for the first time in 12 years.

Sarah has kind of opened the door for Ashland basketball,says Roberts. The college coaches came here to see Sarah, and theysaw our other 6-3 player (Djuna Wilhelm) in the process. I think Djuna isalso a Division I prospect. Hopefully, we will have some more.

An impressive senior season by Petersen culminated in two major honors­ Southern Oregon Conference Player of the Year and a second-team all-stateselection. Then came a scholarship offer from the University of Hawaii.She accepted.

Petersen's all-state selection landed her name on the roster of the Oregonallstar team that will meet a Washington team on Sunday night in the OregonianNorthwest Shootout at Portland State University. She's the only SouthernOregon player on the Oregon team.

I can't believe how much has happened to me in such a short time,says Petersen. I thought I was mainly a volleyball player, but I hada good year in basketball and that changed everything. It's a real honorfor me to make the Oregon team.

At Hawaii, Petersen will play for Southern Oregon University graduateVince Goo.

He's a great coach and a nice guy, says Petersen. Ireally can't believe I'm going to Hawaii to play college basketball. I wantedto get away from Ashland to go to college and have a totally different experience,but I never dreamed it would be in Hawaii.

Petersen will not redshirt during her freshman year.

I hope to contribute and play right away, she says. That'swhat the coach wants me to do. Our team doesn't have a lot of size.

The Northwest Shootout girls all-star game will start at 5:15 p.m. inthe main gym at Portland State. The boys game, matching many of the topseniors from Oregon, will follow at 7:30 p.m.

Both games will be televised live on Prime Sports Northwest (TCI cablechannel 45).

Petersen is expected to be the Oregon team's starting center. She willcombine with 6-3 Elizabeth Guppy of Westview at the post positions for theOregon team. Guppy has signed a letter of intent with Seattle Pacific.

We have some good size and a lot of overall talent on our team,says Petersen. I know I'm looking up at Guppy in practice. She's prettytough, and I think we will play pretty well together. We are getting toknow each other pretty well.

Petersen, the daughter of former SOU basketball player Rod Petersen,says the Oregon team will press and take advantage of its athletic skills,including the talents of Ashley Smith and Brianne Meharry, who led OregonCity to its fourth consecutive state championship and to the No. — rankingin the nation for much of last season.

It's really nice to have the Oregon City girls on my team,says Petersen. You feel confident with them as the leaders. They bringa smile to their teammates' faces just being out there.

Petersen says winning the Shooutout game will be important, but justgetting the chance to be showcased in an all-star game on television isthe highlight of a successful basketball season that she didn't think waspossible.

Being given an opportunity to play on a team like this is one ofthe highlights of the year, says Petersen, who says she will probablymajor in journalism at Hawaii. I want to play hard and do a good job.

I would say winning this game would be a bonus beyond just playingwell and enjoying the atmosphere. Of course, we are going to want to win.Because Washington beat Oregon in this game last year.

Roberts says Petersen's best basketball is ahead of her. She needsto develop her defense, but she has a very good offensive game, saysRoberts. She's going to develop in college.

She's such a good leader, and a player we could count on. We missher already.