As freshmen, fledgling high school basketball players Brianne Jolley, Bernice Stime and Abbey Wood participated in the State A basketball tournament in the Tacoma Dome.
Now seniors, Lakeside High’s Jolley will cap her career with a fourth-straight appearance at state next week. Stime and Wood, from Riverside, are a win away from a second state trip.
The Rams must beat Chewelah tomorrow night for them to join Jolley in Tacoma. It would be a fitting ending for the athletic trio, who have had a major impact in girls athletics at their respective schools.
Jolley’s greatest athletic successes have been in basketball, which she will play at college.
Stime has played on an unbeaten state championship soccer team, is unbeaten in tennis for three years and a two-time state participant in basketball.
Wood has run on a fourth-place state cross country team and, last spring, was a four-event state track qualifier.
Basketball coaches Lisa Schultz at Lakeside and Chris Wren say such players will be missed.
“Brianne’s only the best player we’ve ever had and I think the best in the old Northeast A and Great Northern Leagues,” said Schultz.
“This group is special to me,” said Wren of his seniors. “There haven’t been many kids who grind it out with me for four years.”
Lakeside and Riverside were part of a three-way tie for the Northeast A League title the year the trio made their varsity debuts. Stime was at point guard and averaged 10 points per game.
Wood remembered state that first year as “an eye opener. I didn’t think the Tacoma Dome was that big.”
Riverside lost twice in its first and only state appearance.
Said Jolley, “I walked in and like, ‘Whoa!.’ It was amazing.”
Lakeside finished seventh and their freshman reserve had a break-through tournament.
Jolley and Stime played on the same age 16-under AAU basketball team the following summer, where both were forced to play post.
“We were supposed to have a couple tall girls come,” said Jolley. “We didn’t do very well.”
The girls went their separate ways thereafter, Riverside moving for two years into the Border League.
Lakeside placed two more times in state, finishing as high as third. Riverside lost out in district twice, last year by six points to eventual AA state champion West Valley.
The two teams reunited this year in the Great Northern League, the unbeaten league champion Eagles handing the Rams their only two losses.
Jolley has upped her scoring average each year, to 15.5 points as a sophomore and to more than 19 per game the last two seasons.
“She creates more offense in transition than any player I’ve ever had,” said Schultz. “She leads the team in assists and rebounds and is second in steals.”
Jolley credits it to the fact that she can play basketball and shoot by herself in the front yard for six hours at a time.
“Not just in-season but year around,” she said. “I played 300 hours alone in the summer.”
Stime scored 14 points per game as a sophomore. Her average has hovered around 12.0 per game since, while Wood’s has increased to about 11 per outing.
“Bernice is very gifted. I don’t think there’s another athlete in this league who’s as successful in all three sports as she is,” said Wren. “The biggest thing in basketball is her leadership on the floor. She’s one of the smartest athletes I’ve had.”
Wood, he continued, wasn’t expected to play varsity as a freshman but ended up making major contributions from the outset.
“She’s one of our primary post defenders, our leading rebounder and a good scorer inside and out,” said Wren.
Stime said it still seems unreal that the team went undefeated in soccer, but admitted that basketball is her favorite sport.
Her forte, she said, is not scoring, but “getting the ball to someone who scores.”
That someone has included Wood.
“We’ve played together so long, I kind of know what she’s going to do,” said Stime.
With their careers winding down, the Rams would not only like to make a second state appearance, but perhaps do even more.
“We’ve never won a game at state,” said Stime. “Hopefully we’ll get there as a first step and win one.”
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