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Milwaukie do-everything guard Cali Denson takes on new role at WAVOR girls basketball all-star game, ponders next move

Denson had nearly a dozen Division I offers before the pandemic, but her recruiting stalled over the past two years.

By René Ferrán | Photo by Ken Waz 

Milwaukie guard Cali Denson spent most of her four years being the focal point of the Mustangs attack. 

The 5-foot-8 do-everything point guard finished her career fifth on the state’s all-time scoring list with 2,323 points, willing her team to its first playoff berth since 2018 by averaging 31.4 points during a 6-2 finish to the regular season.

However, when she arrived Saturday for the Oregon team’s only practice ahead of Sunday’s 26th annual WAVOR The Game contest, Denson was ready for a new challenge.

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“It was a different scene, me off the ball,” said Denson, who came off the bench in her team’s 126-91 defeat and had seven points, two rebounds and two assists. “But I was fine with it. We’re all used to our own stuff, and we worked really well just getting to meet each other, playing together for the first time.”

Denson had nearly a dozen Division I offers before the pandemic, but her recruiting stalled over the past two years. As a result, she is considering reclassifying as a class of 2023 recruit and playing for a prep school next winter. 

That freed Denson to enjoy the entire all-star experience, catching up with former teammates from middle school. 

“We earned what we got, you know?” she said. “It was definitely different for me. I’m used to having to take a lot of the load, so it was nice to share it today and continue to recover from my injuries.” 

Cali Denson Milwaukie Ken Waz WAVOR