Paige Lopez will continue her basketball playing career for at least two more years after the recent Gering High School graduate signed with Eastern Wyoming College.
She’ll follow in the footsteps of her cousin Bry (Larson) Jimenez, who also played basketball for the Lancers.
“My cousin also played at EWC for coach Tom Andersen. Ever since she had played for them, it’s always been my dream to follow like she did,” Lopez said. “Coach offered me a really good scholarship and I really liked him and the girls on the team. They all made me feel welcome.”
Playing college sports is not uncommon in the Lopez family. Her mom, Andrea (Bailey) Lopez played volleyball for Western Nebraska Community College in 1998 and her uncle Kerry Bailey played football for Chadron State College from 1992-96.
Lopez said getting the chance to play college basketball is something special.
“It’s an honor and it’s always been my dream,” she said. “I love the game.”
Lopez was a four-year starter for the Bulldogs after starting games even in her freshman year. The point guard enjoyed helping her teammates out in whatever way she could.
“I’ve become a more confident ball handler and better with my shot,” she said. “I stepped it up making the plays happen and took on a leadership role on the team.”
As a senior this past season for the Bulldogs, Lopez averaged 11.1 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game.
In her four years at Gering, Lopez has plenty of memories from her time with the Bulldogs.
“Starting as a freshman and lettering all four years, breaking the 3-point record as a team, and just playing with the girls I’ve played with since seventh grade,” she said. “Those are memories I’ll remember.”
Lopez is one of four Gering basketball players who are going on to play in college. Kelly Snelling signed to play basketball at McCook Community College, while Olivia Schaub and Arianna Mitchell will be playing volleyball at WNCC.
Lopez said that says a lot about what they’ve put into their athletic careers.
“It just shows the discipline and dedication we’ve all put into the sports we love,” she said.
At EWC, Lopez is hoping to continue her leadership on the court with the Lancers.
“I want to be a smart player, an assist maker, and continue to show leadership and grow as a player,” she said.
While it took her a while to sign, she is grateful for the opportunity to continue playing.
“I’m excited for this opportunity coach Andersen has given me to continue playing the game,” she said.