The 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 and app, which measures the shooters arc, rotation, and shot release speed to determine 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.
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. This 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.
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). The 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 Valley’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 Lake. At 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 possessions 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!