LC @ Shadle Park- Basketball (Jan 15, 2015)

BOYS- (Andreas Brown, George Pilimai,)

The Thursday night game started out a little bit lower energy than I anticipated, especially the Tigers,  but by the end of the first half both teams were playing with a much more intense pace and it carried over into the great second half that was showcased.  GP- George Pilimai allowed the crowd to again witness his all around offensive game hitting a couple smooth jumpers and a nice drive and score.  He really can score from anywhere on the court and other teams defenders must thank the rest of the Highlander roster because it if wasn’t so loaded with ALL STARs, George would score 25 every game with no problem.  Kobe Reece pretty much dominated the paint rebounding like a MAN, blasting shots into the walls, and scoring in the post. I absolutely love the chip on his shoulder that he plays with.   He shows no mercy and seems to contain the beast well in between the lines.  The most complete big man I’ve seen this year in the town of the KAN.  On the LC side, after the sluggish half they came out trapping and played a more energized game when Coach sat the starters and had 4 reserves making the run that began in the 4th quater.  Isaiah Hernandez, the “International Supreme”, turned up the heat and played a pesky style of defense that baffled the Shadle backcourt more than once.  At the end of the game he was the only starter left on the floor making a courageous comeback behind, who else…. Julian Welge.  Who put the quarter in this kid?  As LC was making it a game, Welge scored 10 straight points and all 19 starting in the middle of the 4th quarter.  The tear included 1…2…3 -three pointers, two of them were deeeeeeeep downtown, and a nice dribble drive that left the D for SP lost swatting for air.  It was nice!  I haven’t seen the zone like that in a while and it was fun to watch!  Cant complete this writing without mentioning another freshmen freak with some good Spokane blood lines…. Im talking about Naje’ Smith, nephew of a former ALL LEAGUE great and Catch Spokane “Seasoned Vet” Abdean Smith.  Who ironically had the highlight of the game going coast to coast finishing with a pretty “show me and take me away” scoop shot.  It’s sweet to see the young man run the court!  You should go watch for yourself…..

GIRLS (Shyla Carr, Michaela Kay)

I was actually more excited to watch this game, even with all of the talent on the floor in the boys game.  Let’s start with Shadle Park again.  I was here to see one of the more elite scorers in the League, Shyla Carr.  She showed improvement since last season, bringing with her in tonight’s match up a slick step back jumper that she executed more than once creating space and swishing the ball through.  That’s really the sign of a great shooter….they swish everything and Shyla and Abby Bauenfeind both do just that, not sure if either one of them hit the rim on a made basket all night.  Two great shooters!  The other phenomenon Shadle had that was a must see for me and should be for you is all the freshmen they play.  The foursome of Willow Risinger (starter), Makenna Grier, Emile Tangeman(first off of bench), and Jillian Groves all played well against some of the better and experienced players around and showed a lot of promise for the future of the program.  Risinger plays with heart and battles, I always love hoop warriors!  With that said the girl who stood out the most in this game was Grier.  Number 3 entered the game late first quarter off of the bench and immediately made plays.  She just simply has a knack for making things happen on both ends.  I tallied 4 deflections from her as she anticipates passes and she only played half of the game.  She nailed two treys and knows how to make the zone move with her skip passes.  I know that sounds simple but it is very underrated skill at that age.  For the Lady Tigers, one of my favorite teams to watch with Lupfer, Kay, Howlett, Bates, and all of their experience, which was in fact the main difference in this game.  They are a true team led by the Next Level Senior Michaela Kay, who can honestly score at will.  I think at this point in her high school career, she can call her shots.  I mean she can tell the defender exactly what she is going to do and still couldn’t be stopped.  Next up is Taylor Cunningham who came to play too.  She hit threes, sliced through defenders and finished with contact, and plays strong in the post at 5-11, a lot like Sue Winger at Mead.  She has a very bright future ahead of her as well.

Whos next?


Riverside @ Lakeside Basketball- Jan 6, 2015


Whoa! talk about a packed house.  I walked in about 15 minutes before tip-off and couldn’t find a seat… they were out of programs and then I had to find my way upstairs to get a looksy next to the band.  Next time  I will show up 30 minutes early to this particular event between two 8-1 teams fighting for first place in the NEA.  Right away I see  the studs strutting their stuff.  For the home team Lakeside, they have Junior PG Cameron Gay, a tall, lanky, bomber.  The “Green Light” doesn’t hesitate to cast em up from deep.  As the game got close at the end he did his best Kobe imitation launching from everywhere.  He can score, and that is true statement.  Ryan Quigley, their 6-6 man-child, stated his case as the dominate big man in the game.  Quigley plays with good positioning and patience with the ball on the block.  He shows an ease when finishing and will continue to dominate.  The wild card on this team was Dominique Watson, #32.  This kid is a “do it all” type of guy with a solid post game and good follow through on his jumpers, as he hit two from 12-15 feet out.  He’s a tough rebounder, especially late when it matters most and also made a very nice drop pass in traffic for a bucket.  For the visiting Riverside Rams, Jesse Anselm can shoot shoot shoot!  This dude may be small but good luck keeping him out of the scoring column. He made three triples in the second half and 4 FTs in the fourth to help decide this big game.  Tyler Axtell, no surprise was the best player on the floor tonight.  He has so much confidence in his handle that the full court press was a waste of time as he either blew around the defense or waited for the double team to show him which teammate to pass to.  A true leader, scorer, and baller.  He finished with an easy 30!  After the back and forth battle for  three quarters, Riverside sealed the game with 10-11 FTs in the 4th and won going away.


Let me start by saying that the Lakeside girls are LEGIT!  They have two sets of sisters from a freshman to a senior, that can be all be interchanged and it doesn’t matter which one is playing where on the court.  The roster numbers 21-24 are carbon copies of one another…. almost.  #21-Sonja Marikis, #22-Stefanie Marikis, #23-Sienna Swannack, and #24-Shaye Swannack can all handle, shoot, steal passes, pressure on D, push the ball on O, whatever.  Throw in a freak athlete like Jocelyn Cook-Cox, who has a 40+ vertical- (slapping glass on lay-ups at 5-8!), hits threes, and plays rough and tumble defense along with her post up ability to finish with either hand, and good luck!  They play with a defensive ferociousness and alertness that I can’t see how they lose a game in league or the end of season tourney.  They are a very deep, well coached team and Id love to watch a practice sometime (hint, hint Coach).  With all of that said,  the Riverside Rams did have a couple of players of their own that showed a lot of heart and determination.   Haley Pace, plays the defensive passing lanes very well with good anticipation.  Although she started the game at the point and had some trouble with the pressure, she was not deterred to attack when she got the ball and made sure it wasn’t easy for the ladies holding court.  The player that stole the show was Julianna Trepanier. This all around ball player was not rattled one bit by the Lakeside crowd or opposition.  She played with poise, scored on a number of spot ups, pull up bank shots, driving scoops, had very good court awareness, and a competitiveness throughout.   Needless to say she led all scorers with 20, half of Riverside’s points against the toughest team in her division.  That’s saying something.

I still want to see LC, Deer Park, Reardan, Springdale, Rogers,NW Christian, East Valley, Liberty, etc…

WHO’s Next?

U High @ Mead Basketball – Jan 2, 2015

The games were split 3-3, all very close as suspected.


Mead’s girls JV team is a solid group.   I watched them earlier in the season hold off G Prep and today they had another test against University who is equally as strong.  They held on to win behind Maddie Lee(freshmen) who led the way for her squad, showing her solid and controlled game at the point.  She scored when she needed to and didn’t force the action too much on offense, obviously something her and the coaches are working on.  Lindsay Russell, one of Mead’s upcoming triple threat (she is part of a set of triplets that are freshmen) has good size and a nice outside shot also showed well in this game.  University ladies played very well and could have easily won this match.  They were paced by a group of freshmen.  Courtney Awberry– a shooter and playmaker on both ends.  She knocked down some spot up threes and made a handful of steals in the fourth quarter to keep this game close.  Gracie Dwyer– a post with knowledge and leadership, and Sierra Apodaca, who was fast and tough, just like the varsity PG Emma Kennedy.


Game of the night!  U high came out and was all over Mead, forcing turnovers and scoring underneath with #32 Campbell Barrington(freshmen).  This kid is going to be good, he showed a scoring ability down low, seems to be pretty athletic, and uses his size to rebound.  Elijah Ramirez is lightning quick and loves to handle the rock with shifty crossovers behind the back. He raced up and down the court all game and could develop into a solid point guard.  The Titan were up 6-8 point all game until the fourth quarter when Mead came back with a 3 point assault and tied the game on Chase Boss’s triple with 3 seconds left in regulation to send the game into over time.  Let me tell you this kid can play!  He was EVERYWHERE in this game and Id bet he had 5 steals in the second half alone.  It was fun watching he and Ramirez sprint down the court every possession.  Boss forced this game to go into overtime with steals and the three and helped put it away in OT, with timely defensive plays (a charge) and multiple set ups for his shooters to knock down threes to pull away.


The Titans dominated the Panther boys with the constant offensive pressure of #22 Brady Brinkman and #23 Tate O’Kert.  They both spent the gamer attacking the basket finishing layups and shooting free throws.  Their energetic pace and attacking of the rim was good to see at this level as so many players are timid and afraid to play so intense on offense, afraid to make mistakes.  Mead showed some fight from the PG position as #11 played hard and made some plays to keep it close and the big man owning the high post,  #25 Orom Opien, showed good fundamentals on the block and the sense that he will grow and develop as a bruising scorer in the years to come.


The Mead girls held on to win a one point game against the undefeated Lady Titan group.  It was a game that showed how these girls can score and how it can go if the other team can’t finish at the rim.  Setting the tone for Mead was Olivia Sloan who from the get go was in a scoring frenzy hitting 2 threes in the first quarter and also lacked no confidence in her basketball abilities whatsoever.  She will definitely be someone to watch at Mead for the next 3 years.  Sarah Wilson was the next in line to show the goods, she is fun to watch and generally makes the right play without a lot of flash, just solid fundamentals at the guard position.  For the University Lady Titans it was a tough night but not one that failed to show the talent they posses as a class.  There were 3 girls I noticed that seemed to show a lot of experience and ability.  Ill start with the point- Mo Woods, she runs the show with strong ball handling and an ability to raise her game and score when needed.  The wing- Kailey Sanford is a smooth lefty that has a good shot and can run the court with the best freshmen around.  Lastly, the post- Elena Rhodes, this girl has the heart of a lion and does not own an ounce of “give up” in her DNA.  She was on the floor half of the game and ripping the rebounds away from Mead the other half.  She is not afraid to shoot from the outside and has some good footwork down low.  The combination of these 3 players will in no doubt keep the U High girls program rising to the top.


This game was controlled by U High from start to finish.  The girls forced a ton of turnovers as Mead tried 4 different point guards and they used clock on offense to get good shots.  A well-played game for the visitors.  This being my first time watching them this season, something that really stood out was the advancement of Kaity Pannell’s game this year.  KP has developed the confidence to shoot and make three pointers and attack the basket with a scorers mentality this season.  Combine that with her sound court presence it makes for a very good player as a junior.  Emma Kennedy did what she always does, hold tempo and make the right pass for her scorers.  Brooke Bailey  has the swagger of an all around talent.  The other player I cant fail to mention is Josie Wicklund.  She plays hard-nosed defense and got into the lane a handful of times and scored with pull up jumpers.  She looks to be a very capable floor leader.  Mead also showed some new faces tonight aside from the usualls-(Winger, Pauling, Douglas)  and without Coreen LabishSydney Hellmen played denial defense on Bailey and kept her in check for most of the game.  It was impressive to watch the way she fought through screens and stuck to the scorer, keeper her to a low point total.   Alyse Jackson got off some shots and as a sophomore I see a lot of treys in the crystal ball for her.


After a hot start I thought Mead might be coming into their own after the break ready to make a run at the top of the league.  Unfortunately for them, that is all it was.  Max Hess had a good night scoring as he nailed threes to start. What I liked most was that throughout the game he was very active offensively posting up off of the UCLA cuts they run.  He could have scored even more with his mindset to attack tonight but the passes just didn’t seem to get to him as U High played with a lot of intensity on defense. Bobby Little made me smile as I got to see him down low using his size to score a couple of easy hoops.  He has a nice game and in too many cases seems to settle for the outside shot with that shooters touch under his control.  Austin Dill continues to get better and seems bigger this season and Garrett Schmerer is under rated or over looked… cant figure this one out…for his contributions to the surprising Titans.

Whos Next?