Milwaukie High senior making Oregon basketball history

Published: Mar. 3, 2022 at 7:31 AM PST
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MILWAUKIE Ore. (KPTV) – Individual achievements are secondary in a team sport like basketball, especially for Milwaukie High School star senior Cali Denson, who leaves behind a storied career with the Mustangs.

“One of our mottos is, ‘Mustang born, Mustang bred, gonna be a Mustang ‘til I’m dead!’” Denson said. “That definitely is true for me.”

The affection for Milwaukie hoops runs deep through the sharp-shooting number 22 as a rare member of the 2,000-point club.

“It hasn’t sunk in yet, but it adds a whole new level of confidence, and I am trusting more in my abilities,” Denson said.

Denson is two baskets, or a four-point play away, from moving into second of all-time in Oregon state scoring history.

Not bad for a kid from the smallest school in the 5A Northwest Oregon conference and not a bad daughter to bring a prideful tear to the eye of her head coaching dad, Michael White.

“Bendu (Yeaney) and Sydney Brown, Evina Westbrook and when I see her looking at those names, she’s going, ‘wow, that’s crazy’ but I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet because we are here in the season, and she is kind of just playing her game,” White said.

As for having her dad as a coach, Denson said it’s been a great experience.

“We’re a little bit the same but a lot closer just in our relationship -- we are best friends still. We can always count on each other if we need a hug -- it’s great,” Denson said.

Life is great for the maroon and gold as the Mustangs have won five of their last six games to make the program’s first state playoffs appearance in seven years.

“It’s huge for us!” Denson said. “It’s been such a long journey here and ever since we came here, the goal has been to get to the playoffs, and I am glad we finally got there for my last year.”

Denson and MHS will open in round one at top-seeded Willamette in Eugene on Saturday. Then it’ll be time to narrow down her college plans. With more than 10 Division 1 scholarship offers pre-pandemic, education is at the top of the list for Denson.