Effenberger just grateful to be on the basketball court

October 29, 2015

Laci Effenberger basketball

Laci Effenberger

There aren’t a lot of 23-year-olds playing college basketball and fewer coming off seven knee surgeries, but Laci Effenberger of Ketchikan doesn’t care about labels.

If she did she might not be playing college basketball today.

Armed with amazing toughness and resiliency, she has managed to overcome obstacles along a rough road to make it to her senior season at Cal State East Bay, a NCAA D2 school near San Francisco.

Nothing makes you appreciate being on the court like the time you spend off of it

“Life away from basketball definitely isn’t as fun as life on the basketball court,” she told me. “My injuries have really taught me to value every second I get to play.”

The 5-foot-7 guard made her season debut tonight for East Bay during an exhibition game against Bristol in California. She pumped in 12 points to go along with three assists, three steals and two rebounds in a 57-37 win.

Effenberger, of Ketchikan High fame, averaged 7.2 points over the final 17 games and ranked second on the team with 33 3-pointers despite missing nearly half the season while recovering from injury.

“I am so lucky to be here,” she said. “I enjoy playing with people that have passion for the game and I’m thankful my teammates do.”

She suffered her first knee injury in 2009 and has been in and out of the hospital ever since. All the setbacks tested her resolve, but her desire to play never faded.

“My family is what has really helped me push through and continue to do what I love,” she said. “It all feels worth it when I step on the court again. I’m just in love with this game, and nothing can take that away.”

When healthy, Effenberger has proven she’s got game.

In 2014, as a sophomore at Clackamas Community College, she broke two NWAC tournament records for most points in a game [42] and tournament [112].

Last season, her first with East Bay, she scored a season-high 17 points in the program’s first CCAA postseason win.

“Nothing about going through as much adversity as I have was easy, but it’s a lot easier when you love it like I do,” Effenberger said.