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BANDON — After one of the most successful seasons in the history of the Bandon girls’ basketball program, the Tigers are sending two players to play basketball at the college ranks. Recently, senior Tralyn Arana committed to play at Chemeketa Community College in Salem while Ashley Strain is headed to Pacific University in Forest Grove.

“It’s amazing that I actually get to pursue my dreams. I’m so grateful for everyone who’s helped me get this far and I hope to continue to make them proud. This means so much to me because this is what I’ve always dreamed of doing,” Arana wrote over text about her decision to go to Chemeketa.

Arana’s high school basketball career was full of twists and turns. She played as a freshman at Glendale, as a sophomore at North Valley and as a junior with the Glendale boys. Then her senior year she went to Bandon where she regrouped with the girls that she had played with in summer ball the season before junior year.

It was in that season of playing with the Glendale boys that she started to believe she would have a chance to play in college.

“It took me a while to actually believe in myself and my abilities that after I saw what I did with the boys I knew I could without a doubt. After that season I really started pursuing that dream. Watching film on myself really boosted my confidence that I can play for the next level,” said Arana.

In this past season Arana helped boost the Tigers to a third-place finish in state behind a 27-2 record. Arana was named to the first-team at the Class 2A state tournament.

“The main thing about Traylyn is she’s a competitor,” said Bandon head coach Jordan Sammons. “When the game is on the line, Traylyn is somebody that I want on my team and not against me because she’s going to do whatever it takes to win the game.”

In college Arana is planning to study so she can become a paramedic.

While Arana is a sure-fire offensive weapon who knew she was ready for the college ranks, Strain was still working out what was next.

“Last summer I went up to (Southwestern Oregon Community College) to a couple of open gyms and played with the girls and I was like, I could actually be here, I could play here. So it just got to where I can start talking to coaches and figuring out where I want to go,” said Strain, who then talked with a Pacific coach about playing at the school. “I didn’t know if it was in the cards for me at all. All I knew was I wanted to be able to go and see what options I had. I didn’t want to regret anything.”

Strain found Pacific to be the right fit for her. She liked the size of the school, she is interested in pursuing a future in business but she was also drawn to the ethos of the basketball team.

“(Their coach and I) talked a lot about their program, what they expect from players, some of the things they do in the season and their workouts and it just got me really interested to see how hard these girls work, how much more of a time commitment it is from high school. I was just excited for this new challenge and I was ready to go,” said Strain.

For Sammons, there was no doubt in his mind that she would fit into that group.

“She just puts in a ton of time. It’s cool to be able see that for her because I feel like she really deserves everything she gets out of basketball because she’s really putting in the time and it hasn’t necessarily came easy for her,” he said of Strain who helped put together a culture of hard work in the Bandon program.

“She’s had to work harder at it than other people and that’s almost what makes it more rewarding. The harder you work for something the more rewarding it is when you get it.”

While basketball is one thing she will be focused on, Strain is proud to be headed to college.

“It means a lot. Taking this next step and going to college, especially at a university. I am the first person, basically, in my family going to a university, which is really exciting,” she said. “And I’m just ready for the next step and I’m ready to go play basketball and continue my love for the sport.”

Reporter Zachary Silva can be reached at 541-266-6036 or by email at worldsports2@countrymedia.net.

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