Philomath High basketball standout Sage Kramer will remain a Warrior.
Officially announcing her college choice on Nov. 5 during a signing ceremony on the basketball court where she has scored so many points, Kramer will be headed to Westmont College, an NAIA school located just outside Santa Barbara, California, that happens to play with the nickname, Warriors.
“Their basketball program is really good — they won the national championship last year for NAIA,” Kramer said. “I’m excited that I’m going somewhere that takes it seriously and loves the game just like I do.”
Kramer’s basketball skills have been on display within the PHS program since her freshman season of 2018. Surrounded by a group of talented and athletic teammates, Kramer’s impact on the court has been significant. Heading into her senior season, the Warriors have gone 60-8, including a 29-1 record in league play.
With a No. 1 ranking in 2020 and favored to win the 4A title, the state tournament was wiped out in those first weeks of the pandemic. Last season, the Warriors reached the championship game of the 4A Showcase event but dropped a 44-39 decision to Hidden Valley.
“Unfinished business — we’ve made that our team motto for the year,” Kramer said. “Anyone who played in that game and felt the pain of losing knows this feeling. It’s hard to describe but it’s a feeling of wanting to use every minute of practice to make sure that there is no unfinished business left at the end of the season.”
Sounds like a player that a college would want on its roster.
Kramer’s association with Westmont started with an appearance in a basketball tournament in California.
“Coach (Kirsten) Moore came in after the game and talked to me and I had never heard of this school before so I had no idea what to think about it,” Kramer said. “Later, we talked on the phone a little bit and then she had me come down for a visit in September, so me and my dad went down.”
Kramer took a good look at Westmont’s campus and the city of Santa Barbara, plus had an opportunity to get to know players in the program, even working out with them.
“It was like an open gym sort of thing so I got to do some drills with them and then we just kind of scrimmaged,” Kramer said. “It was just to kind of get to know them.”
The overnight trip also included some fun, such as dinner and activities geared toward team bonding.
“Instead of taking me in a car and showing me around the city, instead we did a scavenger hunt around the city with the team,” Kramer said. “So I got to know them and I got to see the city and it was a fun, competitive thing.”
At Westmont, Kramer said the coach hasn’t talked to her too much about how they might use her on the floor, but she expects to play guard.
“They don’t have a whole lot of tall guards so I think I’ll kind of be a 2, 3, 4-ish,” she said. “I don’t think I’d be a post but I’m not exactly sure.”
For those not familiar with the terminology, in general, 2 is a shooting guard, 3 is a small forward and 4 is more of a power forward.
Moore, Westmont’s head coach, was at Kramer’s signing at Philomath on Nov. 5. The Warriors were in the area at the time with a game scheduled the next day in Eugene against Oregon.
PHS coach Ben Silva said he’s proud of Kramer and believes playing at Westmont represents a great opportunity.
“She’s super excited about Sage, very high on her, knows what she’s capable of doing,” Silva said. “I’m glad they were able to sign her … they’re a fantastic program.”
Kramer obviously has a lot of natural talent but any athlete needs to develop skills to compete at a top level.
“I never could have gotten this opportunity to go to Westmont without God blessing me with a love for the game and multiple individuals who pushed me,” she said.
Beyond her playing time with the Warriors, Kramer has spent a lot of time participating with club teams through the years in an effort to further develop her basketball skills. There have been a lot of people, she said, that have played key roles with what she’s been able to do on a basketball court.
“My parents are a huge part of it. My dad, sometimes when I wanted to just go work out, he would take time … to rebound with me or coach me,” she said. “Coach (Dave) Garvin, the high school coach when I was in middle school, he would do workouts with me.
“I’ve had a couple of trainers … one is from Tigard and he’ll drive to Corvallis to workout with me, and my other one, he has young kids but he’ll still workout and help coach and teach me,” she added. ‘There’s just so many — Silva has been a huge part and I’ve had middle school club coaches. My recent high school club coach … he was a big part of helping me with being able to go to Westmont.”
Kramer will certainly leave her mark on PHS basketball. Heading into this season, she has scored 1,441 points, a number that trails only Trisha Stevens at Philomath. Those with a familiarity with the program’s history will remember Stevens, who played from 1984-87 and scored 2,483 points while helping PHS to state titles in 1986 and 1987 before going on to become a star player at Stanford.
Kramer’s resumé includes a 44-point game against Sisters, a performance that included a state-record 16-of-16 shooting from the field. She also once scored 23 points in one quarter in an appearance against Newport.
Philomath High’s girls basketball team is scheduled to open its regular season Dec. 4 at Junction City. Kramer has missed some time in preseason practice and it remains to be seen if she’ll be available for the opener.
Kramer’s basketball recruitment to Westmont features a package that will cover tuition. Founded in 1937, Westmont is a private Christian liberal arts college located in Montecito just east of Santa Barbara.
Kramer said she’s undecided on a major, but is currently leaning toward business.
“I just loved it down there and that’s what led to my decision,” she said. “It’s not like a huge college — it’s a good size where I can get a good education.”
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