The 11th annual Jack Blair Memorial Girls All Star Basketball Classic will feature rosters top heavy with Washington players.
Of the 24 players who will make up the talented Metro and Region rosters of the annual game, Wednesday, June 2 at University High, only four this year are from Idaho.
“It’s the first time we’ve had that many Washington kids,” said game director Ron Adams. “But there were only four players who really qualified Idaho-wise.”
Twins Brynn and Brooke Bemis, from Lake City, 6-foot post Kari Darnell from Lakeland and sharp-shooting Jacki Calhoun, a junior from Moscow, will be joined by area Washington girls to make up the Region team.
The Bemis’ were both first-team All-Idaho, Brynn for a second time, and all-leaguers who are headed to Washington State University to play soccer.
Darnell was Intermountain League MVP and Calhoun was Inland Empire League and All-North Idaho first team.
Others on the team are: Clarkston 6-2 post Abby Johnson, All-GSL and Eastern Washington-bound; Angela Hartill, a 6-3 junior from Riverside; Amanda Troutt, 6-1, All-Great Northern League and second-team All-State from 2A state runner-up Pullman; Tiffany Starring and Jessica Heidenreich, who starred for 1A runner-up Lind-Ritzville; Freeman scoring leader Jessie DePell; and Newport’s GNL scoring leader Katie Schlotthauer.
They provide the Region team with substantial size.
“They have a strong post advantage,” said Adams.
Also on the team is Chewelah freshman point guard and ball-handling wizard Nikki Nelson.
“She came on strong as a player and we’ve got her at halftime with a ball handling exhibition no one in the country can match,” said Adams. “That’s worth the price of admission right there.”
The Region plays a Metro team that has won all 10 previous games and is peopled by Greater Spokane League standouts.
Among them are All-State and GSL scoring leader and MVP Reagan Pariseau, one of three Central Valley players on the team. Sophomore teammates Salena Leavitt and Heidi Heintz join her.
Three Titans — Seattle Times All-State and All-GSL Jami Bjorklund, her freshman sister Angie and Emily Kuipers — will play on their home court.
Rounding out the team are: Lewis and Clark All-GSL players Briann January and Heather Bowman; Ferris’s Stacey Cox; Gonzaga Prep’s Corinna O’Brien; Shadle Park’s Holly Ridings, who said Wednesday she’s going to Whitworth; and Mead’s Cassie Snyder.
“The Metro team has the advantage in the guard spots,” said Adams. “It will be speed and quickness on one team, strength and power on the other.”
Dave Wood from Riverside and Randy Heidenreich from Lind-Ritzville will coach the Region All Stars. Chad Dezellem from Shadle Park and Dale Poffenroth from CV are the Metro coaches.
“Metro will be favored, but this year could be close if the regional team takes advantage of its (inside) strength,” said Adams.
Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. game are $5 for adults and $3 for students and seniors. Children under 9 are free.
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