Whenever a teammate would gripe about having Kwinn Hanson’s mother as a basketball coach, the proud son had an instant response.
“I would say, ‘My mom can probably beat you,’.” Hanson said.
Hanson, a 6-foot-6 sophomore all-region player for Community Colleges of Spokane, learned his basketball essentials through the eighth grade from his mother Kaylene.
“A lot of people talk about how good my footwork is, and that’s directly related to my mom,” said Hanson, who set school records last season for field-goal shooting in a game (9 for 9) and season (64 percent).
Kaylene Krug, a 6-foot post, led Cle Elum, Wash., to three state girls basketball titles before helping the Spokane Falls CC Spartans to a 49-9 record in two seasons, winning the NWAACC title in 1983-84 and placing second the following season. She transferred from there and played two seasons at Whitworth.
Her time at SFCC gave CCS an “in” when recruiting Hanson to play for the Sasquatch.
“When we were able to convince him that he was coming here, we knew we had somebody special, as far as a person, who fits in well with our program,” CCS coach Jeremy Groth said. “He’s achieved our expectations and then some.”
Hanson’s Northwest Christian Crusaders won State 2B titles during his freshman and junior seasons. The Crusaders placed second to Colfax during Hanson’s senior year.
“I try to keep up with my mom for … championships,” Hanson said. “I only have two and she has four.”
Hanson burst onto the prep scene as a sophomore. Early in the season, after starting for NWC but never scoring more than nine points, he began a game against Almira/Coulee-Hartline on the bench. Once inserted into the game, Hanson caught fire and piled up 45 points and 19 rebounds.
“That’s where it kind of took off and people started noticing me,” Hanson said. “Pretty soon I was getting double-teamed and it was pretty amazing.”
The Hansons lived in the Spokane Valley until they moved close to Mead High when Kwinn was 8. Kwinn’s mother home-schooled him – and coached him – until he entered NWC for high school.
Father Eric Hanson, raised in McMinnville, Ore., is a retired state patrolman.
Kaylene has a flair for names, giving all four of her sons five-letter names starting with ‘K.’ Kalib is the oldest, followed by Kwinn, Kobie and Kiylo.
Kwinn, who dreams of being an orthodontist, has loaded up on calculus and chemistry courses this year at SCC.
Groth said NCAA Division II schools and NAIA Division I and II schools have expressed an interest in Hanson for next season.
“He signifies what our program’s all about – hard work, competing, and giving your best effort at all times,” Groth said.
CCS finished 21-10 and third place in the NWAACC tournament last season. Chase Haack, a 6-4 wing from Ferris, started most of CCS’ games last year. T.J. Bracey, a returning point guard from Gonzaga Prep, was a part-time starter. Jack Nygaard (Kamiah), Jared Miller (University High) and Sam Druffel (Genesee) saw quality time. Dustin Patchen (6-7) of Colton redshirted.
The Sasquatch have jamborees and scrimmages leading to their Nov. 15 alumni game at SFCC. The three-day Red Devil Classic in Longview, Wash., begins Nov. 29.
Bruce Johnson enters his 29th year with the program and 26th year as head coach. Johnson’s overall record is 486-240, including last year’s 17-13 finish when his Sasquatch went 1-2 at the NWAACC tournament. The Sasquatch return four players, including first-team All-Eastern Region player Riley Holsinger (North Central), who led the Sasquatch with 15 points, seven rebounds, four assists and three steals per game.
The other returners are centers Tamar Williams (5-11) and Morgan Freeman (6-0), who combined to average 13 points and nine rebounds per game, and 5-7 forward Alicia Christiansen (East Valley). Top newcomers include Brianna Anderson, post, Townsend, Mont.; Bianca Gonzalez, point guard, Chiawana High of Pasco; and Emily Schramm, wing, Chelan.
“We have nine freshmen joining a fairly strong nucleus of sophomores,” Johnson said. “We have more size and depth than we have had for a few years. The basketball IQ of this team makes my job a little easier. As long as we stay healthy, this group could have a great season.”
The Sasquatch will play their alumni on Nov. 15 and compete at the three-day Everett Classic, starting Nov. 22.
Six players from last year’s 26-5 team signed with Division I programs, leaving this year’s Cardinals top-heavy with freshmen.
That group includes seven Seattle-area players, highlighted by a quartet from defending State 3A champion Rainier Beach: guards Will Dorsey (5-9), Marquis Davis (5-10) and Jordon King (6-4); and 6-11 center Fuquan Niles and. Coach Jared Phay, entering his 10th season, has led the Cardinals to three SWAC regular-season titles and last year picked up his 200th career win.
The Cardinals placed second in the SWAC last year and lost in the semifinals of the conference tournament. NIC returns 6-9 forward Nathan Rathbun, Deary, Idaho; 6-2 guard Jason Wheelock, Lake City High; and 6-7 forward Ty Higbie, Coeur d’Alene High, who redshirted last season and is a freshman.
The team’s third sophomore is 6-5 guard Bryce Leavitt, who played at Washington State.
NIC brought in two Australians: 6-5 guard Jamaal Robateau of Sunshine Coast and 6-7 forward Tatafu Nuku of Brisbane.
After a pair of late-October exhibitions, the Cardinals opened their season Tuesday at Salish Kootenai Community College in Pablo, Mont. They host Gonzaga’s club team today.
The Cardinals have won back-to-back SWAC regular-season titles and finished 28-5 last season, losing in the first round of the NJCAA Division I tournament.
Chris Carlson enters his 10th year as head coach, with nine consecutive 20-win seasons and an overall record of 225-70. NIC won its first national title in 2011, when Carlson was named national coach of the year.
The Cardinals return four players, including second-team All-American Georgia Stirton, a 5-8 point guard from Melbourne, Australia, who recently gave an oral commitment to Gonzaga University.
Also back are 5-9 guard Jansen Butler of Lake City High; 5-9 forward Maggie Kirscher of Sandpoint; and 6-0 forward Renae Mokrzycki of Cranbourne, Australia.
“Look for (Mokrzycki) to make her mark,” Carlson said.
Top freshmen include 5-7 guard Kara Staggs, Okanogan, Wash.; 6-2 post Panisesi Taimani, Kennewick; 5-9 guard Bailey Schroeder, Kiona-Benton (Wash.) High; and 6-0 forward Mariah Swanson, Burlington-Edison (Wash.) High.
“(An) early preseason scrimmage against Lewis-Clark State revealed another strong (NIC) team on the rise,” Carlson said.
NIC played the North Idaho All-Stars on Saturday and travels to Casper, Wyo., on Nov. 14 for three consecutive games.