It was a decision nearly two years in the making.

Last month, Slippery Rock High School senior girls' basketball standout Hallie Raabe signed a letter of intent to continue her academic and athletic careers by crossing Kiester Road to Slippery Rock University.

"SRU was the best fit for me honestly," said Raabe, the daughter of Kenneth and Amy Raabe. "They offered me during my sophomore year. I knew I wanted to play basketball since I was in eighth grade, so when the opportunity came, I jumped on it.

"My brother (Colten) went there and going to watch him play football, I just fell in love with the campus. Plus, it's close to home."

Raabe ultimately chose Slippery Rock over Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference foes Edinboro and Bloomsburg.

"I looked at other schools before I verbally committed ... mainly schools in the PSAC," she said. "I mean I was looking at all colleges really, but it was mainly the PSAC. At the end of the day, SRU was just the one for me. (The PSAC) is a really good league and I wanted to play there and hopefully do well."

Since verbally committing as a sophomore, other schools have tried to recruit Raabe, but she was up front with her potential suitors.

"There's been a couple of schools with interest, but nobody really offered me anything because they knew I was intent on going to SRU," she said. "I'd tell them that I was verbally committed and I wasn't going to change my mind. The other schools were bummed out, but it was the right decision for me."

When she steps onto the floor at Morrow Field House next winter for the first time as a collegiate player, Raabe intends to be an integral part of the rotation as a freshman.

"I don't want to be a freshman who sits on the bench," said Raabe, who plans on majoring in forensic chemistry. "I'm working towards getting playing time next year. I want to make a difference in the game. I want to play and that's why I'm going there. I think it's realistic for me to go there and play.

"Now starting is a completely different thing. It's hard to start as a freshman in high school and I was fortunate to be one of three freshman to start at the high school level. I know that's very rare and starting (as a freshman) at the collegiate level is a whole other level. I'm working towards being the best player I can be and hopefully make a difference on the floor."

Shortly after starting conference play next year, Raabe will see a familiar face when The Rock meets rival IUP for the first time. Current Slippery Rock High School teammate Anna Kadlubek recently signed her letter of intent to play for the Crimson Hawks.

"It's definitely going to be different," Raabe said. "Honestly, it's going to be a lot of fun .... it'll be the best thing ever. We've played with each other since elementary school. We've come up through middle school together and have started all four years in high school together. It'll be a good time."

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