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HS Hoops All Star Saturday Night 2015

ALLSTARSIGNThe first High School basketball All Star Saturday night showed the skills of 23 players from 14 area schools including- 4 from Deer Park, 3 from Rogers, 3 from Northwest Christian, 2 from LC, 2 from Wellpinit, U High, North Central, Newport, Lakeside, Mt Spokane, Springdale, Medical Lake, East Valley, and St George’s!

The gym at East Central Community Center proved to be the perfect venue for the event as the spectators filled in the bleachers to watch the Girls Shooting Stars competition.  Michaela Kay, senior guard from LC who has previously committed to play at Portland State got it started and did not disappoint, setting the bar high with a score of 96.  Scores were determined from a combination of made shots and the “94fifty” sensor ball PartchnKayand app, which measures the shooters arc, rotation, and shot release speed to CHEERdetermine the best “pure shooter” in the bunch.  Six girls competed including Jael and Damaris Guske, freshmen sharp shooting sisters from Deer Park, Jocelyn Cook-Cox from Lakeside who was the NE-A League MVP leading Lakeside girls, boasting All-State honors and finishing third in the competition.  The finals came down to Courtney Gray from Northwest Christian who finished her senior year as a first team All League selection, getting hot and pushing our champion Kaiti Pannell of University in the final round.  Pannell had a streak of 7 in a row from the top of the key that contributed to a top score of 120 paving the way for the first ever Girls Shooting Star.PanneellChamp


On the boys side we had nine competitors firing away for the rights to become the inaugural Shooting Star.  John Lynch of Springdale, sniper Carter Countryman of Deer Park, soph leadng scorer Cedric Bowen and freshmen Brandon Flett of Wellpinit, top dogs Ryan Ricks and David Olds of NW Christian, Isiah Wynecoop and Denzel Brantley of the 3A state qualifying team from Rogers, and our eventual Champion John Lyon who made the trip down from Newport.  SHOOTINGSTAR FINALSThis competition was very tight until the round of ten shots from the top of the key where 6 players were in the hunt for the final championship round.  Carter Countryman, Ryan Ricks, and Isaih Wynecoop, unfortunately had their lowest score from this spot eliminating them and Denzel Brantley scored a 108 which was not enough to overcome the eventual finalists.  David Olds shot a 118 making 8 of ten and John Lyon also matching his 8 of 10 but had a slightly higher shooting score of 121, which is the highest of the competition.  John Lyon kept his stroke going in the last frame hitting 7/10 scoring 112 for the trophy.RYANRICKS

The final event was the boys one on one competition being best described as a modified version of “cut throat”.  Each possession started with an offensive player receiving a pass outside of the three-point line from the  game official and a new defensive player rotating in after each possession.  If the offense score they received 2 or 3 points depending on where the shot was from.  If the defense made a stop, they received 1 or 2 points depending on the play (defensive rebound was 1 point, a steal block/rebound, or charge taken were all worth 2 points).  allStar lineupThe eight players were given a maximum amount of offensive possessions (10) and a minimum amount (3) in the first round.  Felix Tsai of St Georges started the rotation versus Rogers defensive specialist Tate Dunbar.  Tsai made a shot fake dribble, step back and nailed the games first three-pointer!  Nate Guske of Deer Park who averaged 19 points a game for an all NE-A first team spot was in next rotating in on defense against Tsai and made the stop, he then proceeded to the top of the key to receive the pass to go against the next defender who was East FLETTSHOOTINGValley’s super athlete Dante Clayton.  Clayton made the stop pitting him against Kyle Griffiths of MT Spokane.  Clayton scored bringing on the next defender Julian Welge of LC, known to be the Tigers best one on one player.  Clayton was bogged down and Welge won the possession.  Next up was North Central’s leader and point guard Riley Smith to take on Welge’s offensive game but quickly made a stop and a three ball against his defender Jaelon Stith the 2nd teamer from Medical LakeRileyvsTateAt the end of the 1st round Felix Tsai and Riley Smith both had 15 points, Tate Dunbar had 13 and Jaelon Stith came on late with 9 graduating to the finals round.  Felix Tsai won the first possession and scored on his first three tries totally 7 points and getting a much-needed lead as the players were in full go mode by now. Tsai scored on 6 of his 10 possessions again maxing out on offense, while Smith scored 3 of 6 for a total of 9 points.  Tate Dunbar scored on 3 of 5 Felixscoringpossessions totaling 8. The biggest player at 6-3, Stith used his size to score more efficiently sensing that the prizes were on the line and finished the last round with 11, second behind Tsia.  The Dragon from St George’s dominated the games with all kinds of up fakes, crossovers, and CP3 jitter bug quickness for 15 points to become Catch Spokane’s First All Star Saturday Night One on One Champion!

Overall it was a good event with a decent turnout,  competitive players, and amazing volunteers!  We look forward to some changes for next year and hope to see you back next Spring for the second Catch Spokane High School All Star Saturday Night! felix1v1champ



Spokane’s School Divide


Some schools have it… some schools don’t.  Well actually, MOST schools don’t.  I’m talking about the “youth farm system”.  There are however suggestions as to how it happens.  If you read the piece by NWPREPSNOW,  the Central Valley basketball- boys and girls, prove year in and year out that beginning at a young age and building kids’ skills early on lead to great teams that are competitive all over the state.  The fact that the Shadle Park boys hoop team, with one of the most talented basketball teams in Spokane with its young exuberant athleticism, and size, could hardly compete with the “experience” of a groomed, well taught group of kids from CV that have been molded into a tight knight unit through the most influential and developmental years of pre adulthood athletics, is really something to talk about!
But a lot of things outside of the box come into play here.  The successful teams like this possess:

1.  The most determined parents who will sacrifice exorbitant amounts of time, energy, and money to make sure their children are provided the best instruction and most exposure as possible.
2.  A set of select coaches that are passionate and exclusive to any time restraints that allow them to take ownership over programs and spend the hours it takes to develop prominent teams.
3.  Most families being of accomplished adults with vast amounts of sport experience, professional esteem, and influence in their respective careers or communities which leads to a larger pool of advocates.

Now compare this with some schools in Spokane on the other side of the spectrum.  Schools like Shadle and the general mid city areas for instance.  The demographics speak for themselves as anyone who has been in the Spokane area for the last decade can verify.  The proof of finances or lack of finances in the heart of the city demonstrates a direct contrast to the CV success.  Parents in these areas don’t necessarily have less athletic children or uncaring coaches.  They do in more instances however, have less flexibility in time management due to more clock-punching blue-collar jobs, less “out and about” careers that create connections, and fewer private resources to tap into as it takes time, money, and energy to produce anything, let alone a thriving youth sports program dedicated to truly helping kids, not to make money.
Some other major factors that actually help the “better” schools and contribute to the divide are….

1.  Club teams recruit the best players-FACT- and often times from lesser teams.  The parents with “less” believe this is best for their child.  As it may work out for that individual, I have seen more often than not that as soon as that recruited player stops developing or becomes expendable for whatever reason deemed by the club directors or coaches, they are left behind as the parents don’t have the clout to maintain the usage of the individual player involved.
2.  Athletes that are “left behind” at a younger than acceptable age now have to either continue struggling at the club level in games losing confidence rather than working on skills and growing into a role on a successful team.  Or they must join a team with the new-found resentment and reluctance of coaches as they are now viewed as a flight risk or unreliable from continually jumping to the “best opportunity”.  This contributes to the lack of cohesiveness and success of both the club teams AND the district boundary school teams.
3.  Open districts that allows kids to go to schools outside their respective school boundaries of Spokane Public Schools.
4.  Or plain and simple money constraints that hinder any potential progress that would otherwise be possible if dollars were available to spend on quality, early, athletic development.

This is not an excuse as to why Shadle lost the game to CV but to open the discussion about how we create more competitive balance within the OUR league in Spokane and produce better overall teams and players to compete with the more publicized schools throughout the state and Pacific Northwest.