Riley Holsinger is perfectly comfortable with making big changes when she doesn’t feel perfectly comfortable.
Holsinger is leading Community Colleges of Spokane in scoring (14.1), rebounding (7.3), assists (3.1), steals (3.1) and blocks (1.6) per game this season after giving up a scholarship to Boise State.
“I didn’t fit in,” Holsinger said of Boise State. “I wanted to come home. I missed home. I come from a big family, so my family means a lot to me.”
Leaving Boise wasn’t the first time Holsinger took a detour from what appeared to be a good situation. After helping Lewis and Clark to a fifth-place finish at the State 4A tournament as a sophomore, Holsinger transferred to North Central.
“I thought I fit in more at North Central,” said Holsinger, who guided the Indians to a third-place trophy in their first state appearance.
Holsinger, a two-time All-Greater Spokane League first-team selection, had a difficult start at Boise State. She slipped on water during a practice and sprained her medial collateral ligament, leading to a redshirt year.
Holsinger was supposed to make her Broncos debut this season, but she confided her homesickness to coach Gordy Presnell. Presnell contacted CCS coach Bruce Johnson and the transfer happened quickly.
“It was kind of hard to give up (the BSU scholarship) because I know it’s a lot of money and a lot of people worked hard to get there, but if I want I can still go back,” Holsinger said.
Coach Presnell’s hometown is Lapwai, Idaho, where Holsinger’s family lived until Riley’s eighth-grade year. Holsinger said her mother Shelly and sisters Kymberlee and Rachel all played basketball in Lapwai.
The family has a long history with basketball. Grandfather Irving Holsinger taught school and coached for more than two decades, and father Todd played in Curlew.
Holsinger’s highlight this Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges season came Jan. 5, when she totaled 15 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists and 11 blocked shots against Big Bend.
“I’ve had a few triple-doubles, but I’ve never even heard of a quadruple-double,” Holsinger said.
Another top moment was the Jan. 19 home game against Blue Mountain, a reunion of sorts because Holsinger’s former NC teammates, Hailey Markham-Patti and Kalen Via, play for the Timberwolves.
Holsinger’s low point came off the court in September, when her car was totaled by a driver who ran a red light. Holsinger said she was more shaken than hurt.
CCS is 13-8 overall and 6-3 in the East Division, two games behind first-place Walla Walla with five conference games left.
Gonzaga (West Coast) and North Idaho (Scenic West Athletic) lead their conferences with regular seasons winding down. Eastern Washington (Big Sky), Idaho (Western Athletic) and Whitworth (Northwest) are all near the top.
The biggest remaining games for Gonzaga (18-5, 8-1) are Feb. 14 at home against Saint Mary’s (6-2 WCC) and Feb. 23 at BYU (6-2 WCC).
NIC (23-2, 8-2), which had its six-game winning streak snapped by Southern Idaho (8-2 SWAC) on Saturday, has five conference games left. Its regular season ends Feb. 23 at Southern Idaho.
EWU (12-9, 8-4) is tied for third place, two games behind Montana (10-2 Big Sky) after losing to the Grizzlies on Saturday. Eight conference games remain.
Idaho (10-12, 7-4 WAC) is in third place, chasing Seattle (8-3) and Utah State (9-2). The Vandals have seven conference games left, ending March 9 at Seattle.
Whitworth (16-6, 9-4 NWC) has three conference games left after Tuesday’s 81-62 loss at Whitman (10-3 NWC). Saturday’s home game against George Fox (10-2 NWC) looms large.
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