Stinky Sneaker 2014 Basketball

awinner     stinky sneaker

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.

WOW!

Groovy Shoes 2014- Basketball

groovy shoes  milkcartons

The “Groovy Shoes” were up for grabs Wednesday night at the Spokane Arena, host of many men’s and women’s Gonzaga, WSU,  and NCAA tournament games and again I felt as though I was in a movie shoot.  North Central boys went all out and did the do’s, literally.  The best was probably Riley Smith with the half red, half white corn rows.  The worst…. gotta say your QB- Quinn Zerba, just terrible, ha.

NC/Shadle Girls-

The game started out a little slow but as soon as Shyla Carr, Shadle’s leading scorer entered the game, she wasted no time bombing a three and showing why she is one of the league’s top scorers this season.  Shyla is a lights out shooter and can get a shot off practically anytime which makes her a very dangerous weapon on the wood.  I want to bring up how deep Shadle seems to be especially with the large guards they play with.  I watch them and can’t help thinking how good could some of these girls could be if they were playing on different teams?  Amanda Konynenbelt is basically a 5-10 point guard who reminds me of a 90’s St George’s legend Kari Hutchinson.  She can move, shoot, drive, pass, and her competitiveness is unmatched on the court.  She’s a handful to say the least and when they trap, she does not hesitate to rip the ball away from the smaller ball handlers she’s hawking.  Shalise Hicks is a natural scorer and she too measures 5-8 on the tape.  This girl is quick and knows how to cut to the hoop ready for passes to finish possessions.  I can go on and on about Sam Foote, Winter Hayes, and Rashae Williams too but I’ll save some for the playoffs, because I can definitely see these girls going deep in the 3A tourney if they can bring it all together.  For North Central, who was obviously without the scoring punch tonight missing Brianna King, did not hesitate to sow their grit with the “Monster Mashing Megans” leading the way.  They always have a chance to make some noise,  although tonight it just didn’t materialize.  Megan Murphy played very well showing a tenacity to attack the basket and score throughout the game.  She owns a nice mid range shot and is physical even with her less than bulky stature.  Megan Dean continues to show that she’s a lightning bolt for her team creating turnovers and pushing the ball up the court giving them extra chances to put points on the board.  She just never seems to stop going and honestly, I don’t know how anyone has that much “go” in them.  I also really like that she can create shots for her teammates and with a shooter like Lauren Hare, they will always have a chance even if they are undersized most nights.

NC/Shadle Boys-

The boys game started eerily similar to the girl’s game, very slow until the “Shadle Park Shooter” Skyler Kelley began hitting three-pointers.  This kid can burn the net from deep and is not shy to toss it up with and hand in his grill.  He’s got a future as a combo guard with that shot, no doubt.  I love watching the Highlanders with the youth and size, they too like the girls have a potential run ahead of them in the 3A playoffs.  They are a little inconsistent but if they can bring it on, they can be hard to beat as George Pilimai is a nightmare matchup with his touch around the hoop and length.  Not many players in this area have the same make up of shooters touch, height, and ability to match him man for man.  Opponents also never know how hot Nelson or Brown will get on any given night.  As freshmen these two are some of the most impressive Spokane prospects around.  In the Frosh Force you will find size, athleticism, shooting range, and big game experience unseen for the blossoms that they are.  The Indians have a youthfull roster as well aside from the gridiron gang and only seniors Zerba, Saugen, and WeigelMarcus Saugen is a man-child that loves contact and finishing around the rim that he attacks relentlessly.  Tonight though he settled for a lot more outside shots and unfortunately it wasn’t the night as everything seemed to roll the wrong way.  They do have some potential as Riley Smith, Shane Pethers, Eli Say, and Noah Higley all have the raw ability and time to develop to help bring some W’s to the Indians in the future.  I’m curious to see how these players do in the off-season with AAU/Club ball.  I’ll be watching all of the progress these players will most certainly make.

The Rubber Chicken- 2014 Basketball

batman  buzz  rubchic ferrischck

The match ups embodied everything the rivalry games have come to be known for with the out of this world costumes (for coaches- dressed in a full-blown Batman costume that would make Michael Keaton jealous, and Mickey Mouse, sorry Rob,  as well as the fans), the signs, and even the players with the “home chops” on their hair and appropriately themed warm up shirts to tie it all together. The energy in the house? it reminded me of the world cup a few years back with the vuvuzelas, except this was the Spokane Arena!  Buzzing with the cheer of high school bands, dance teams,  cheerleaders, and good-natured spaz!   It’s a huge part of the reason Spokane gets the sporting events it gets with our semi small venues blowing the roof off with sky-high enthusiasm that the players thrive off of.

Ferris/LC Girls-

This game was a fun match up between Ferris and all of their outside shooting up against a very aggressive and in your face defensive Lady Tiger team.  It proved to be a nail-biter from the opening tip.  I have to say I was waiting for the LC defense to take effect and start forcing turnovers but it just never seemed to come about due to the poise and passing ability of the Ferris squad to break the press repeatedly.  Brittney Johnson, Kaley Lenhart, and Bria Bowton, all showed why their names keep blowing up the box scores every game.  I’ve got to give a small morsel of insight to the foot speed of Brittney Johnson, when she has the ball, she is fast!  Aside from that what really stood out to me is Lenhart’s ability to get to the rim and score on contested drives.  One in particular stands out when she was seemingly trapped on the right wing, crossed over twice and then drove between two more defenders on her way to an “and-one”.  She looked as if she was toying with the top notch LC defense on her way to 22 big points hitting 4 threes, again!  Now that’s not to take away from  LC at all,  “Special Kay” and Janieva Bates are beasts when it comes to on-ball defense!  They are in your face, stripping, swiping, and bodying up the offense creating quite a chore for the average ball handler.  I’m very impressed with the amount of coaching and strategy that has gone into the defensive end for LC girls and the way they hustle and fight shows they understand what defense really means in the overall realm of competition, that Defense is Offense!

Ferris/LC Boys-

The boys game in all seriousness comes down to experience and size of Ferris versus the youth of the Tigers, and it seemed to play out that way with “Saxon Sensation” Cody Benzel getting a steal and layup in the first 20 seconds of the game and then scoring again on their first trip down the court.  He gets his shot off so easily its almost unfair.  Although I expected Benzel and Rye to score their averages, what I didn’t expect to see was how good Jared Christy is.  He’s bigger than I first noticed, listed at 6-3, and has a lot of game.  He finishes around the basket strong, he has good ball handling skill, as shown when he went storming coast to coast at least once that I remember, he has good recognition of the game, and is just an overall solid basketball player.  As far as LC goes, the Tigers showed some heart but seemed to be bogged down by the Ferris zone, which is likely the case with most teams they play.  The “over-under” on Connor Hojnacki’s three-point total was 3, which was held in check even as he relied heavily on the deep shot, obviously not feeling comfortable entering the teeth of the Saxon defense.   Isaiah Hernandez tried getting something going with some impressive slashes to the hoop and dime drops for open players but it just didn’t seem to pan out the way he planned.  I liked the sense of urgency Adam Thompson showed, doing everything he could to make a play on offense and the defensive awareness of Bryce Westfall taking charges, once they got into the mix.  Both of these players have some growth ahead of them and could become centerpieces for the Tigers in the future.

Boys hoop game @ Rogers Tonight

I just saw a new and improved Pirate squad that is a serious threat when they play like this.  They are combining their aggressive dribble drive motion offense and an intense rotating zone defense to turn the corner, holding the early leads, and beating teams.  They have won 4 out of 5 games behind a pretty balanced scoring output from Rucker, Hassett, Sanders, and Carl.  A huge difference tonight compared with the other games I’ve got a chance to watch is getting their up and coming junior forward Malik Hampton back on the court from his injury.  With Hampton they now have another low post scorer and a zone that zips around with some shot blocking. 

Go see this team as they are looking to smother teams defensively and are becoming more and more fun to watch.

 

Girls 3 Point Leaders

grl 3Girls GSL REG Season  “Three Ball” Leaders-

  1. Hannah Caudill, G Prep-  51
  2. Jill Louthian, Ferris-  44
  3. Kaley Lenhart, Ferris-  43
  4. Delaney Junkermier, Mead-  36
  5. Shyla Carr, SP-  35
  6. 6T-Lindsay Lee, LC-  29
  7. 6T-Ashlee Pedersen, MS-  29
  8. 8T-Kayla Leiland, G Prep-  27
  9. 8T- Brianna King, NC-  27
  10. Sarah Guertin, Rogers-  26

 

* THRU Jan 17th games

  1. Hannah Caudill, G Prep-  31
  2. Brianna King, NC / Jill Louthain, Ferris-  27
  3. Kaley Lenhart, Ferris, 26
  4. Delany Junkermier, Mead-  23
  5. Shyla Carr, Shadle / Lindsay Lee, LC-  20
  6. Michaela Kay, LC-  19
  7. Kayla Leiland, G Prep, 16
  8. McKenzie Peterson, U High / Kristin Hunter, Rogers-  15

Boys 3 Point Leaders

3shotBOYS GSL REG Season “Three Ball” Leaders-

*UPDATED- END OF YEAR

  1.  Connor Hojnacki, LC- 47
  2.  Buddy Rucker, Rogers-  42
  3.  Justin Fayant, CV-  41
  4.  Robert Little, UH-  39
  5. 5T  Cody Benzel, Ferris-  37
  6. 5T Michael Isatalo, UH-  37
  7. 5T Stu Stiles, MS-  37
  8.  Ryan Alexander-G Prep-  32
  9.  Will McPhee, Mead-  31
  10.  AJ Knudsen, CV- 29

 

*Thru Jan 17th games

  1. Connor Hojnacki, LC-  28
  2. Buddy Rucker, Rogers-  27
  3. Cody Benzel, Ferris-  25
  4. Robert Little, U High-  24
  5. Michael Isatalo, U High-  23
  6. Justin Fayant, CV-  23
  7. Stu Stiles, MTS-  21
  8. Will McPhee, Mead-  19
  9. Ryan Alexander, G Prep-  18
  10. Skyler Kelley, SP-  18

 

The REAL season

starI want to hear what you do during the off-season and away from school teams.  Most of the “good stuff” is not even reported.  People don’t know what you’re doing because nobody in Spokane covers it.  Tell me so I can tell everyone else!

  • Who do you train with?
  • What other teams are you affiliated with?
  • What awards have you won?
  • What’s the highest level you’ve played individually?
  • best game?
  • best move?
  • most clutch play?

Give me some stories Ladies and Gents.  I’m here to get to know you as well as promote you!  We want Spokane to be a hotbed of college recruits!  Get everyone playing at the next level!  I can keep it anonymous or be your cheerleader, you tell me.  Either email me directly catchspokane@yahoo.com or fill out the form.  Let’s get the word out together!

 

 

Tonight @ Mt Spokane

Following up on @NWPrepsnow story about the CV @ MTS game, stats do not tell the story of what Ashlee Pedersen means to that team and how impressive she is.  She scored 20 of her 25 in the second half to go along with 5 steals,7 rebounds, 6 deflections, 1 block, and 2 forced turnovers and I can argue she’s as valuable if not more valuable to her squad on defense.  She  bounces all over the zone, playing the block, playing the top , barking orders for her teammates to rotate, etc.  On one possession she ran from the right block , to the left block, then out to the left wing, and finally zipping over to the right wing as CV swung the ball to the open girl, only for Peterson to reject the three point attempt and start a fast break.  Number 13 scored 25 points with only one- (1) set play for her the entire game and I estimate the other guards had 14 turnovers to 4 assists which does not make it any easier as she plays off the ball.  Everything she did was on her own.  What a game and if you haven’t seen her yet, make a point to appreciate the all around game of this chick!

Starting 5

As the season approaches the halfway mark,  Ive been scouting players and teams watching to see who has what the other team doesn’t,  why it works and doesn’t work, who should win and why teams lose.  I see CV with all of their experience and arguably the best player in Chamberlain, Shadle Park with all of their potential and the “Fab Frosh” Nelson and Brown, and NC finally winning one of more to come this season, with their senior grit setting the tone for their youngsters.    I clearly have my favorite players and teams to watch from  a fan’s point of view.

Another thing I see is that Mead has the most talented and versatile starting five in the league.  The Panthers have 5 guys on the court from the jumpball that can go for 20 points and snatch 6 steals or grab 12 boards while whacking 4  threes, or dish out 8 assists while taking 3 charges.  Although undersized, every player is solid and good at every aspect of the game.

PG- Will McPhee runs the offense with limited turnovers and fine passing skills  and has no problem scoring. Whether its bombing away or ending a possession with one of his trademark finishes around the basket, he’s a steady floor leader on both ends.  Defensivley I like the way he ball hawks and gets into his match up.

–  Mitch Banaugh possesses one of the more natural jump shots in the city and is shooting 3s at a high percentage.  He’s got decent size in the league as a guard and will play aggressive on the defensive end.  I believe he can score better than he’s showed, but he’s also proving he has the ability to be a role player and do what coach asks of him which is an under rated trait at the high school level.

– Max Hess is one of the more all around talents we have this season in Spokane. What stands out to me is the way he slides and moves on defense when they start trapping.  He’s a long and athletic specimen who thrives on a faster paced game, forcing bad passes and turnovers.  When the ball is in his hands  Max does not hesitate to throw in “stop n pop” jumper or finger roll a baseline dribble drive .  I see him as a star in the making and he’ll only get better and more consistent with time.

– Thomas Kautzman . This guy is a beast!   He usually plays out of position as an uber athletic, physical post player  with a scowl on his face and chip on his shoulder that makes him the love/hate player in this league. he’s a MAN on the glass, and will do everything possible to keep you from doing anything easy on the D side.

-Brandon Pettersen is another undersized big man but he possesses a game that is a little different than most 6-2 post players.  He usually roams the high post setting screens for his teammates and waiting for his game to come not forcing anything.  Brandon is mostly playing the 5 spot in a 3 mans body with the offensive skills to have 15 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists every night and it would not be a surprise.  He’s perfect for that high post in Meads offense.

The Recruit mind

Real athletes take loss with stride, they don’t give up, they simply try harder next time. This is the exact mentality student-athletes need when fighting the recruiting war.
Remember, most college coaches are constantly hearing from hundreds of recruits from everywhere. Coaches have heard and seen it all. In order to stand above and set yourself apart from other recruits who are striving for the same goal, you need a strong mind and game plan. Make sure to get the proper help from coaches, parents, and any other people you trust who can guide you to your best possible fit. How you feel is the most important part of any change in life. Moving on to college is stressful enough so going in with a comfort level with how your athletic abilities, location of new school, and academic programs offered fit, will do wonders for your athletic career and life long goals. Don’t settle for what’s given, it may never come! Begin reaching for what you want, you can’t wait, there will always be someone else doing it as well or better. Stay mentally tough and start your recruiting process early making notes on what you like and how you want to earn your way through life, because your sport may just be a starting line for your race after practice.