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Stats say busy MHS grad ends productive career

The career numbers show Tosha Wilson was busy during her basketball career at Corban College.
   So busy, she's just one of 10 NAIA Division II players to be part of an all-around statistical club. Wilson finished her career at Corban College (in Salem) with more than 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, 500 assists and 300 steals.
   That's after being the Warriors' starting point guard for three seasons. She was a reserve as a freshman for then Western Baptist (the school changed its name to Corban in 2004).
   That career ended last earlier this month in the NAIA Division II nationals in Sioux City, Iowa. It was Wilson's second trip to nationals, also going as a sophomore.
   "It's amazing to play there; I'm so thankful to go there twice in my four years," Wilson said. "The city is excited about hosting the tournament, plus it allowed our team to spend more time together."
   The Warriors lost in their NAIA opener (80-70 to Sterling of Kansas). The loss ended a basketball career started in the family's garage.
   Her earliest basketball memory is dunking a little ball into a toy basketball stand.
   "I don't know how old I was, but I remember it was the greatest feeling," Wilson said.
   Such great feelings followed as Wilson helped Madras win the 3A state title in 2003.
   "It was a great way to finish my career, to win my last game as a senior," Wilson said.
   By then, Wilson was being recruited by Warrior coach Dave Bale. He saw her play as a junior, impressed by "how hard she played at point guard. She didn't shoot a lot. Her greatest asset was taking the ball hard to the basket when she would go."
   She continued to go, missing just one of a possible 128 games (as a sophomore) at the Salem school.
   The transition to college basketball was made easy, Wilson said, thanks to a then-senior teammate (Lindsy Bromwell). She was the starting point guard when Wilson was a freshman.
   "There wasn't any pressure on me," Wilson said. "I had Lindsy taking my under her wing."
   Wilson was productive from her opening game, leading the team in rebounds (eight against Pacific Lutheran).
   Assists and steals though are her favorite part of her game. Wilson said
   "Assists were easy this season," Wilson said. "I just needed a boring chest pass and my teammates would score a basket."
   She had enough "boring" assists to rank second in the Cascade Conference at 5.2 a game (178 total). Even more impressive was leading the conference in assists-to-turnover ratio at 2.3 (totaling 75).
   Wilson was also second in conference steals at 2.9 a game (98 total). She led the Warriors in steals for three seasons after tying for the lead in her freshman season.
   "Tosha anticipates really well," Bale said. "A lot of those steals led to solo layups."
   One steal helped Corban clinch the Cascade Conference title, beating Eastern Oregon. Wilson's steal with 1.7 seconds left ended a 59-58 game.
   It was her fifth steal to go along with five assists, six points and two rebounds. It was a typical game for Wilson.
   Her season highs were 22 points (with a career best of 28 as a junior), 10 rebounds (12 as a junior), 11 assists (done the past three seasons) and six steals (nine as a sophomore).
   All those numbers were a quest, Bale said in Wilson "wanting to be perfect at everything she does. It's the reason she's good."
   It's also a challenge to coach, Bale said.
   "She's critical of herself, but if she wasn't maybe Tosha wouldn't be as intense," the coach said. "Now she understands nobody has played a perfect game."
   That realization comes thanks to her teammates and coaches, Wilson said.
   "I've learned a lot in the last four years, including how to deal with being critical of myself," Wilson said. "My coaches' and teammates' encouragement helped me grow up a lot. Basketball had a lot to do with that."
   Basketball may be over, but not her athletic career. Wilson played soccer in the fall and will again this fall.
   She's a few credits short of a degree in human performance and sports fitness.
   "I have no idea what I'll do once I'm out in the real world," Wilson said. "The coach (Marty Ziesemer) kept talking to me about playing soccer. When I went out, playing for two years was part of the deal. There was no reason not to."
   Wilson played sweeper last season, her first time playing that position.
   A sweeper needs to be able to defend and pass, just like being a point guard. It's almost like another season of basketball for Wilson.