Napavine’s O’Neill signs with Lewis-Clark State College


When Keira O’Neill suited up for an all-state basketball game in Seattle at the end of March, she wasn’t expecting any more offers.

Instead, O’Neill drew the eyes of coaches from Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho, and on Tuesday, she signed with the Warriors in front of friends and family at a signing ceremony in the Napavine School District Offices.

O’Neill chose LC State over Lower Columbia College, and she noted that the decision to go further away from home was a tough one.

“There were a lot of tears and emotions in the one week we had to make that decision,” O’Neill said. “It was overwhelming, but I’m pretty sure it was the right decision.”

O’Neill said her nerves about traveling out of state for school were calmed when she took a visit to the campus, where she realized that she wasn’t the only one far from home.

“I realized that it was more of a family,” O’Neill said. “Everyone was kind of relying on each other, so it was like a big support system. I felt really supported and welcomed.”

O’Neill is coming off a senior campaign where she averaged over 11 points and nearly nine rebounds per game, helping lead Napavine to its first girls basketball 2B State Championship in school history.

In addition to being named to The Chronicle’s All-Area Team, she was a first-team All-C2BL selection, and she was named the Washington State Girls Basketball Coaches Association 2B Player of the Year.

O’Neill said her play on the court skyrocketed in her junior campaign, when a “mental click” allowed her to excel.

“I think that really helped me physically as a player develop and grow,” O’Neill said.

Napavine coach Shane Schutz was also present at the ceremony, and he said that the growth that O’Neill has shown in the last two years specifically was the reason the Tigers were able to succeed.

“Her and that senior core of kids, in terms of their leadership and what they’ve provided, has been some of the best we’ve had,” Schutz said.

O’Neill joins Bella Firnkoess and Kendall Wallace as part of the LC State 2024 class of signees.