From their legendary win over the top team in the country to their well-fought battle in the Northern California Open Division playoffs, the Pinewood girls varsity basketball team shocked the nation this year.
Over a month after finishing a season to remember, the team continues to thrive; this time celebrating two of their players both committing to Division II colleges not too far from the Panthers’ home in Los Altos Hills.
Senior Chloe Eackles has fought faithfully under the basket for four years at Pinewood, and is now an official member of the California State University San Marcos’ Class of 2020.
As she began considering schools, Eackles knew she wanted to stay in California. She initially looked locally, narrowing her choices between Northern California colleges such as Menlo College, San Jose State University, and California State University, Chico.
There is more to Eackles’ final choice than San Marcos’ beautiful location in San Diego, however. What impressed her the most about the Southern California school was how dedicated and persisten the administration was in reaching out to her.
The turning point in Eackles’ decision process was a lengthy phone call she had with several members of the San Marcos coaching staff, faculty, and Eackles’ parents.
“It was really clear at that point that [San Marcos] was the best college for me,” Eackles said.
Lying seventy miles north of San Marcos is Riverside, California, home of California Baptist University, junior Akayla Hackson’s college of choice. Hackson, who stunned spectators and coaches across the country this season with her stellar shooting and ball handling, also committed to staying in California for college.
Hackson began her search by visiting several schools from different Divisions, but narrowed her choices down to Division I and II universities after being unimpressed with the intensity of Division III Chapman University’s basketball program.
Planning to pursue a career in computer science, Hackson decided that the travelling schedule of a Division I school was too hectic for her major. Because there are not many Division II colleges in California, Hackson narrowed her choices down dramatically.
“I picked [a school in which] I can balance my education, my social life, and my basketball life,” Hackson said.
With a renowned season with one of the top teams in the country under their belts, both Hackson and Eackles are soon to begin their college basketball careers with a strong start.
Varsity team captain junior Mikaela Topper commends her teammates on their achievements.
“They work really hard and they definitely deserve [this],” Topper said of her teammates. “They’re going do great in [Southern California].”