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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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It was a slammin’ good time


Amy Lemm, winner of the women's slam dunk contest, performs a dunk over the back of her friend on Saturday. 
 (Jed Conklin / The Spokesman-Review)
Amy Lemm, winner of the women's slam dunk contest, performs a dunk over the back of her friend on Saturday. (Jed Conklin / The Spokesman-Review)
Josh Petrie Correspondent

Toby Siem was confident entering Saturday’s Hoopfest men’s slam dunk contest presented by the U.S. Air Force at Nike Center Court in Riverfront Park. After all, the 6-foot-3 Thugcats player with “Spydaman” printed on the back of his shirt had been to a few dunk contests before.

“I’ve won a lot of dunk contests with some great dunkers,” Siem said.

Siem, a 21-year old from Bellingham, can add one more win to that resume after defeating 19 other players to win the 2005 Hoopfest crown.

“I love coming in and doing dunk contests,” Siem said. “I’ve gotten a few (technical fouls) dunking in actual games.”

Siem’s winning dunk in the final round was what he called “just a regular windmill.” He took off from outside the lane on the right side of the hoop, glided across the front of the basket and brought the ball around from his waist to the rim.

Siem earned a perfect 10 from the judges, which included Lewis and Clark alum and current New York Jets safety Erik Coleman, to defeat Jeff Ratti of Half Way Decent and Ben Whitney of The Davenport Hotel, both of whom are also 6-foot-3. Also in the finals was 6-foot-1 Eastern Washington University sophomore defensive back Gregor Smith.

The finals were actually lackluster when compared with the dunks of the first round, which impressed former Gonzaga star and current New Orleans Hornets point guard Dan Dickau, who was a guest emcee for much of the first round.

“I’m sure they can all dunk better than I can,” Dickau said.

Siem, the second man to dunk, got the crowd out of their seats early and registered the first perfect 10 of the round with a double-clutch reverse jam. All four finalists earned 10’s on their first round dunks to advance to the finals.

Whitney, 30, who played for the Community Colleges of Spokane from 1997-98, threw down the best dunk of the contest in the first round. Whitney followed up a self-proclaimed “lame 360” by bouncing the ball off the floor and the backboard, reaching back to catch the ball and dunking with his left hand. After finishing the dunk, Whitney lost his balance and fell onto his stomach.

“When I cocked it back, I thought I used both hands, but everyone has been telling me I used one. I thought the ball went behind me,” Whitney said. “I kind of fell forward, then I got up and started egging the crowd on, tugging my jersey and saying ‘Yeah, that’s a 10,’ because I knew I needed a 10 to advance to the finals.”

Ratti’s first-round dunk, an alley-oop from a teammate into a right-handed windmill, also energized the crowd, which filled the bleachers on three sides of the court and flushed out into the surrounding grass.

Siem, who opened the final round, had set the bar high with his windmill jam, so Whitney decided to be creative. Whitney did a front handspring, then threw the ball off the backboard, only to miss the dunk. Whitney also missed his second dunk, when he tried to throw the ball off the glass and perform a 360.

•Amy Lemm of Game Time won the preceding women’s slam dunk contest, also at Nike Center Court. Lemm, a 27-year-old from Portland, won the contest by jumping over a friend and dunking on the 7 1/2 -foot hoop. Lemm nearly missed the dunk, as the ball hit the rim, popped in the air and finally swished through the hoop.

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