In the third spirit game of the week and last at the Spokane Arena, University High School and Central Valley showed the goods both on the court and in the stands. It was by far the loudest and most intense set of games and skits of the week or year for that matter. A big shout out must be given to our main mama Shelby Pearson for her huge dance set for U High between games! You played a huge part in bringing back the sneeks!
U High/CV Girls-
This was a rare low scoring game for the Lady Bears as both teams stuck in zones limiting much of the offensive activity, especially in the first quarter when only 11 total points were scored. Some hot shots tonight, aside from league’s leading scorer Madison Hovren for CV were Megan Dimmler who displayed her fluid outside shot and smooth mechanics with the long ball that was flying high and floating free as she knocked down some big jumpers. She is a steady floor leader with excellent discipline and ball control who moves the ball with crisp passes to the open players when required. This aspect of her game is a lot more important at the higher levels of play as every swing pass and kick out forces a defense to rotate out of position opening her teammates up for driving lanes and shots. Lauren Simpson was one that showed she could shoot the rock from deep and has some quicks that can provide a punch for CV. Lauren found herself giving a little more offensive output than usual and proved she’s able and willing to be more dynamic with the ball in her hands. University’s point guard also played a sound game as the combination of the zone defenses and possibly a player rivalry between the two, brought out the focus and intensity to put the shine on the ball handlers tonight. Emma Kennedy is a ferocious little guard who will not hesitate to attack the defense forcing them to be on their toes. She owns the dribble and has tremendous command of her offense, pushing when it needs to be pushed, and settling into half court motion if that’s the key the defense gives her. I love her use of the bounce pass in traffic as she always seems to find the gaps to complete the play. Along with Ashley Woods whose post game will only get better, Katie Pannell, a leader and inside/outside offensive initiator, and Jessica Shill who are all very capable underclassmen ball players with size, U High has a great future ahead of them.
U High/CV Boys-
Ok, this is the game of the week so far, filling the building with an atmosphere only felt in an NCAA tournament game. It was off to a blazing start causing the teams to sub fast and furious out of the gate. AJ Knudsen began and ended the first half with a barrage of three-point torpedos destined to crush the hopes of the Titans as the lead ballooned. MR D, was in a zone and proved again he is a lethal all around player and not just CV’s defensive stopper. Although he did play a large part on the defensive end in the last 3 minutes of the game, denying U High’s star Michael Isotalo the ball and only allowing him to get off one field goal attempt in which it was contested and missed. More on Isotalo in the bit as I want again to give my affection for CV’S Cameron Tucker’s ability to get to the rim and finish. This kid has some serious bounce that he again put on display with the “play of the week”. It came about in a basic half court set, “CT” caught the ball on the right baseline and instantly exploded to the basket with one right hand dribble before the defense even knew what was happening. With a collection of energy he caused an elastic recoil off of the ground, where the defense still inhabited, and above the rim dropped in a finger-roll for only two points. If you missed this I’m sure it will be on late night news casts and youtube soon because it was an occurrence that is not often seen in these parts, period. Now back to U High’s “highs”, I want to mention Ben Kuiper. He’s missed some games this year and I know that when he does play, he’s a legit scorer inside and outside who has soft hands and plays a physical style of ball on both ends. He seems to run well, has good footwork down low and can shoot the three. I’m not fully aware of why he comes off the bench, and I’m not questioning coach Phillips by any means, it may simply be because he is a firestorm that can put the ball in the basket and helps the Titans keep the offense going, but either way this guy can play. Another thing that University can say for sure is that they are home to one of the most profound scorers in the city in Michael Isotalo. This kid has a remarkable offensive ability with the “erk and jerk” dribble and stop and pop swishers. For the old school guys from the GSL, doesn’t he play a lot like North Central superstar Aaron Shephard from the early 90’s? He doesn’t look quick but he is with his deceptive back and forth dribbling and his shot will come at any time hitting only net. He showed his “A” game tonight scoring 27 and drawing a foul on a three-pointer in the closing seconds bringing the game within 2 points. He’s as clutch as I’ve seen this year.