Emma Gibb and Maddie Hopper were going to finally play basketball together this season when Hopper transferred to Western Mennonite High School this year.
The pair played on a basketball team in their youth.
A knee injury Gibb sustained in August will force her to miss her senior year of basketball, but at least the two got to sign their letters of intent together.
Gibb signed a national letter of intent to play basketball at UC Davis and Hopper signed a letter of intent to play softball at University of the Pacific in a signing ceremony at Western Mennonite’s gym Wednesday.
Hopper and Gibb were the first two female athletes from Western Mennonite to sign letters of intent to Division I colleges, and the second and third athletes in the history of the school.
Gibb was the 2A state basketball player of the year as a junior after leading Western Mennonite to the 2A state championship and was a three-time first-team all-state player in her three years at Western Mennonite.
But she tore the ACL in her left knee and the meniscus in two places, requiring surgery in September that will keep her out six to eight months.
The UC Davis coaches were still committed to getting the 6-foot-2 dynamo.
“They still are on board,” Gibb said. “The thing about it actually happening even before school started, it gives me a lot of time, a lot of wiggle room to recover.
“There’s no chance I will even be back for this basketball season, my senior year. And so that kind of just leaves the whole year open to pull all my effort into recovery.”
Hopper transferred to Western Mennonite from West Salem this fall after her father, Mike, got a job teaching at the school.
She was a two-time, first-team all-Greater Valley Conference selection in softball at West Salem and was second-team all-state as a junior after hitting .548 with 16 doubles, seven home runs and 45 RBIs.
She also was a starter and honorable mention all-league basketball player for West Salem as a junior.
Hopper actually chose to go to Pacific before she chose to go to Western Mennonite.
“I’ve been to Stockton. I love it,” Hopper said. “It’s a big school and it’s super nice, but all the people are really close, which I like. And it just feels like a community there so I’m really looking forward to going there next year.”
The two are planning on majoring in similar areas.
Hopper said she plans on majoring in exercise sports science with the hope of becoming an athletic trainer, though she might change that to elementary school education.
Gibb said she’s planning on majoring in physical therapy.
“My physical therapist that I work with now I also job shadowed and it was really interesting to see just the wide range of people he works with, from little kids with autism to adults with knee replacements,” Gibb said. “I’m thinking that’s where I want to go.”
bpoehler@StatesmanJournal.com, (503) 399-6701 or Twitter.com/bpoehler