Grimmer steps up to meet challenges at Chemeketa

McNary-Grad Bekah Grimmer(20) reacting during a play during February 23’s game against Portland Community College at Chemeketa Community College. Photo by MATT RAWLINGS of Keizertimes.

For a stretch during the middle part of the women’s college basketball season, Chemeketa had to play with a short bench. Injuries and COVID-issues had the Storm in some games with just seven girls during a roughly six-week stretch between mid-December and mid-February.

It was during that stretch that the 2021 McNary-grad Rebekah Grimmer started 11 of 13 games, stepping into a starting role for Chemeketa as her team battled through adversity. Grimmer averaged 8.5 points and 4.5 rebounds per game.

Grimmer also recorded her first double-double of her collegiate career against Portland Community College with an 11-point, 10-rebound performance against the Panthers on Jan. 26.

Along with South Salem-grad Ellyson Haytas and South Eugene’s Jenna Gienzel, she helped keep the Storm steady on the court as two of their leading scorers, Leva Mike and Erin Counts, were coming back into form after missing a few games. The mindset was to be as prepared as they can be during this stretch, playing as one unit.

“It was really hard when we had injuries and fought with COVID and stuff.” said Grimmer. “We realized that just a few people don’t make up the whole team and the few people that you do view as leaders on the team, you have to step up to that position,” 

“We worked really hard in practice,” she added. “We brought ourselves together and said that we must try our best no matter what because we want to win games. We’re not going to give up. We came together and pushed through. We pushed on and tried our hardest.”

Grimmer pointed out that the season has been a lot of fun. Adjusting to the collegiate game was one challenge, adjusting to new teammates was another, with girls coming from all over the Salem area to put out the best product that they can game-in and game-out.

“[Collegiate-level basketball] is a lot faster,” she explained. “But it’s a lot more fun because there’s a little bit more pressure and you’re just working harder constantly because you got basketball one or two-times a day. You got games and you got to build relationships with whole new people you’ve never met before. It was hard at the beginning, but it’s been a really good experience and it’s been really fun.”

Sitting at 10-10 as of Feb. 23, the freshman-heavy Storm will be looking to finish their NWAC South Region schedule strongly with the hope of carrying momentum over to next Winter with those who are returning to the squad. Grimmer, one of those freshmen, is excited to see what is to come for the squad.

“It’s really nice to see how far we’ve come from the beginning of the season to now at the end of the season with how we’re growing and how much stronger we can get at the end of the season to go into next season,” she said. “Even when we lose those older girls, [it will be good to see] just how strong of a freshman group we’ve got right now.”