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.
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.
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 Weigel. Marcus 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.