Kolbie Orum, one of the great basketball players to come out of Maple Ridge, is on her way to the prestigious NCAA Final Four tournament this weekend.
Orum is in her junior year with the Oregon State Beavers, who beat top-seeded Baylor 60-57 on Monday night in the championship game of the NCAA Dallas Regional championship.
The second-seeded Beavers have gone 32-4, and earned their first Final-Four berth in program history.
On Sunday night they will take on three-time defending NCAA champion Connecticut at their Final Four opener in Indianapolis.
“This a group where their vision and their mission is to inspire as many people as they possibly can, and they take that seriously. They carry themselves with that every moment in everything that we do” said OSU head coach Scott Rueck after the win, before some 6,000 fans. “I know we have a lot of people going crazy back home. I’m as proud as a person can possibly be.”
Orum could not be reached for comment, but her former coach Don Herman of the Maple Ridge Ramblers helped to put the Final Four appearance into perspective – he doesn’t know if any Maple Ridge girl has ever been there before. It hasn’t happened in his 30 years of coaching in the community.
“It’s such a huge accomplishment for her and her team,” he said. “It’s incredible.”
He has followed her fortunes, and was in Seattle during spring break to watch her in the Pac 12 Tournament.
He said Orum, at six-foot-three and very athletic, is one of the city’s greats – arguably the best ever.
On a great team, Orum is a depth player. This year she has played in 26 games, averaging about eight minutes per game, and has 63 points.
“She’s a role player, and she comes in off the bench,” said Herman. He has communicated with her coach by emial, and said Orum is known as a hard worker who is also a great teammate.
The Ridge program has done a great job of sending players on to the NCAA – each of the past four post players to graduate.
The last was Jane Grisley, who just red shirted through her first season at Seattle Pacific following knee surgery. She was a teammate of Orum’s.
Mae Woods went to the University of Houston, and Felicia Wijenberg had a great career with the University of San Diego, and was a starter in each of her last two years.
“Athletically, Kolbie is probably the top player (from MRSS), but Felicia had a really good career in San Diego,” said Herman.
As a high school player, she did it all. In 2013 she was the Fraser Valley MVP on a Valley championship team. She averaged 43 points and 19.5 rebounds in the champinship and semi-final. She was a B.C. Provincial All-Star Team member in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
At the B.C. Senior Girls Triple A Championships in 2011, she scored 135 points over four games, winning the tournament’s overall scoring title with a number that was the fourth-highest ever in the event’s then 62-year history. She was also a four-year member of the B.C. Provincial Team.
She was also a member of Team Canada at the 2012 FIBA U17 World Championship for Women in Amsterdam in 2012 and at the FIBA Americas U16 Championships for Women in Mexico in 2011, on a team that won bronze in both events.
Herman said he will be among the many B.C. hoops fans looking for Orum on television, as she plays out the Final Four.