By Ray Hamill — The defending Golden Valley Conference champions just got a little more formidable, with McKinleyville senior Hope Kibby committing to remain local and compete for College of the Redwoods.
Kibby will run cross country and play women’s basketball, giving head coach Jain Tuey’s championship team some added depth when the Corsairs go to defend their conference championship next winter.
“I’m really, really excited to have Hope join our program,” Tuey said. “She sees the court well, she has good ball handling skills, and she will help our program when we run into that and get the ball across the court.”
The Panthers senior is expected to help fill the void left by departed sophomore point guard Bree Northern, who is taking her game to a four-year program and will play at Simpson University next year.
Kibby will also be a valuable addition for the CR cross country team, after the Corsairs secured her recruitment in large part thanks to a co-recruiting drive at the school.
“Her times are good, and she’s just a nice person. She comes from a great family,” CR cross country head coach Reed Elmore said of Kibby, who placed 15th at the H-DNL Cross Country Championships in the fall. “So she’s going to be a great teammate.”
Elmore has been recruiting the Mack senior since the cross country season but had not expected her to stay local.
For Kibby, the decision had a lot to do with basketball and her teammates, and in particular the fact that she missed much of her senior season after suffering a concussion early in the campaign.
She believed her playing career was over after the high school season concluded, but in the end the opportunity to keep competing while attending CR was too good to pass over.
“I was accepted at the University of Oregon and I was thinking about going there, but after the last season of basketball I felt like I didn’t get the most out of it I could have,” she said. “And I didn’t want to be done with sports.”
Kibby, a three-year varsity basketball player, says she will remember her teammates more than anything from her time with the Panthers.
“I guess something I always will take away from it are all my teammates,” she said. “I felt we’ve always had a good group. These are people I have played with since I was in sixth grade.”
And it was one of her teammates that helped sway the decision to stay local, with close friend Rian Heenan also committing to play for the Corsairs.
“That definitely is another reason I considered CR, because Rian is going there,” Kibby said.
Kibby will also be reunited with former teammate and 2019 Mack High graduate Theresa Dickey, who plays at CR and was named the team’s Most Improved Player this past season.
As for the biggest influences on her young career, family, she says, are high on the list.
“My dad definitely,” she said. “I learned my love of basketball from him.
“And my sister (Faith), when we were growing up we always competed with each other. She definitely helped how I play the game, and so many of my teammates.”
As for her future, Kibby says she is unsure of what she will major in and is keeping her long-term playing options open for now.
“I definitely don’t want to close any doors,” she said. “We’ll see where the future takes me.”