Many athletes coming off a severe knee injury are timid upon return. They don’t always trust the knee to hold up when they make their first cut or change of direction.
Union senior Mason Oberg didn’t have that problem. Far from it. After a full tear of her ACL and a meniscus tear forced Oberg to miss her junior season, the do-it-all point guard couldn’t wait to return to the court.
“When they told me I could run, I was trying to practice,” Oberg said. “My dad and AAU coach were getting mad at me because I wasn’t cleared and told me I was going to hurt myself.”
Oberg responded: “You don’t know me. I’m going to do what I want. I was doing whatever it took to get back.”
Oberg injured her knee in an AAU tournament in July 2018. She returned to the full-game action in May 2019. By winter, she was ready to lead a talented Union girls basketball squad.
And lead she did, carrying the Titans to the program’s first state trophy: a fifth-place Class 4A finish.
She averaged 16.5 points, four rebounds and three assists per game and was named the 4A Greater St. Helens League Player of the Year.
For her efforts, she has been named The Columbian’s All-Region Girls Basketball Player of the Year.
“From the beginning, we knew we could have a really special group,” Oberg said.
While missing a year of basketball was disheartening for the 5-foot-5 ultra-competitive Oberg, she also learned a lot about her own game by sitting on the sidelines.
Primarily, she saw the pace of the game from a different vantage point, and it helped her slow down when she returned.
“Seeing it from another perspective really changed how I felt about it and what I could do,” she said.
Oberg played her best when it mattered most, averaging 21 points per contest at the Tacoma Dome. She attributes much of her success to her attitude and competitiveness, calling it the best part of her game.
“It doesn’t matter if I’m mad or in the best mood ever, I’m not going to let you get in my head,” Oberg said. “A lot of people that’s what they know about me: that I’m never going to give up.”
In November, Oberg signed to play basketball for Western Washington University, where she expects to slot into a point guard role with the possibility of play time early in her career. The Vikings starting point guard, Lexie Bland, is set to graduate this year.
As for what advice she has to other young athletes going through a serious injury, Oberg said it comes down to betting on yourself.
“It’s tough and it’s a grind but never give up on yourself,” she said. “People are going to doubt you. Just take it in, want it and prove them wrong.”
Rest of the Team
Faith Bergstrom, Camas
Junior post averaged 14.1 points and 8.1 rebounds per game while shooting 56 percent from the field and 75 percent from the line.
Jaydia Martin, Hudson’s Bay
The 3A GSHL Player of the Year averaged 20.6 points, 10 rebounds and 4.1 steals per game in leading her team on an historic run.
Kazz Parks, Skyview
Team leader and senior guard averaged 10.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists in leading the Storm to a 4A GSHL title.
Natalie Fraley, Kelso
The sophomore guard took a big step forward, averaging 16.4 points, 9.5 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 5 steals per game.
Kylee Stephens, La Center
Sophomore took on leadership role for Trico champion Wildcats, averaging 15.2 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game.
Lolo Weatherspoon, Union
Junior averaged 10 points and 4 assists for the Titans, but shined most on defense, where she guarded opponents’ best players.