The 2015-2016 was both the first and the last chapter in Sarah Luoma’s basketball career.
Luoma played the previous three seasons for the Ledgemont Redskins then after the school closed its doors she transferred to Berkshire for her senior year.
It was one of the most difficult times of her life.
“The thing I think I'll remember most when I'm older is the love I had for Ledgemont's gym and how it felt to play the game I love there,” said Luoma, a 5-foot-5 guard. “Playing in that gym gave me a feeling that I didn't quite get at Berkshire, being there for only one year. It didn't quite feel like home. It was devastating having to say goodbye to my jersey at Ledgemont, and it wasn't even my senior year. Although, I adjusted at Berkshire and grew to love my teammates and I think that is one of the most important things.”
Luoma teamed up with classmate Erin Drew to lead a scrappy Badgers squad that, while short on wins, was formidable on any given day.
“I am so honored to have been nominated and to be playing in this game,” said Drew, a 5-foot-7 forward. “I am so excited to be playing with so many incredible athletes.”
The game is an official fundraiser for The Wounded Warrior Project and each of the four teams will wear camouflage uniforms representing one branch of the Armed Forces.
“It's an honor to be invited to play in an all-star game for seniors, especially for the cause,” Luoma said. “Being recognized is exciting. I get to play and help a great cause. I think it's great there is a game to honor The Wounded Warrior Project. I think the cause is great and it means a lot that I was selected.”
The Navy roster includes players from South, Beachwood, Chagrin Falls and Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division rivals Independence and Kirtland.
“I’m looking forward to playing with talented girls and getting to have them on my team, instead of playing against them like during the regular season,” Luoma said. “I think it is going to be fun, being able to play with such an array of talent.”
For Drew, who will attend college at Coastal Carolina University, the game is another opportunity to create a lasting memory.
“Basketball has been such a huge part of my life since I was little and it's bittersweet to know that this is my last high school game ever,” she said. “I'm glad I get to share it with such amazing athletes as my teammates and competitors. I have been playing basketball since Pre-K. I think what I will remember most is the feeling I get when I play. Absolutely nothing compares to it.”
Luoma, who carries a 3.667 and plans to study radiology in college, feels the same way.
“It's sad knowing I might not play another game of organized basketball,” she said. “Basketball has pretty much consumed my life since my freshman year. It's going to be different not having practice every day, but I plan to still stay around the game because I have such a passion for it.”
The Senior Shootout, which will be played at Ursuline College's Seidman Gymnasium, begins at 5:00 p.m. with the boys’ all-star game. The girls will follow at 7:00 p.m. Click here to purchase presale tickets, which provide admission to both games.