What do a basketball, a paintball gun and a Bible have in common?
They represent three passions of Amy Warbrick – and not necessarily in that order.
The Coeur d’Alene High junior standout has attended North Idaho Christian School in Hayden since kindergarten. The school fields basketball teams that play in the far-flung Mountain Christian League comprised of schools in Eastern Washington and North Idaho. Because NICS isn’t a member of the Idaho High School Activities Association, Warbrick chose to try out at a public high school.
That’s what she did her freshman year. At the end of tryouts that season, Coeur d’Alene coach Dale Poffenroth placed Warbrick on varsity.
“I didn’t think I’d be pushed at (NICS),” Warbrick said. “I was surprised, to put it mildly, that I made varsity (at CdA).”
She was a reserve the first two years before earning a starting position last season.
The 5-foot-4 Warbrick thought it could take a while for her to prove she belonged on varsity. She played about eight minutes per game – usually about two minutes a quarter – her freshman season.
Her time increased as a sophomore. Speed, good defense and a nice shooting touch from 3-point range allowed her to earn a starting position last year.
She capped her junior season by playing her best game to date in the Vikings’ final game – a 61-47 win over Vallivue in the 5A state championship game. She finished with a team-high 16 points on 7-of-13 shooting to go with four steals, three assists and three rebounds.
She’s averaging 8.6 points per game this season, third-best on a balanced team where six players average 6 points or more. She’d like to be scoring consistently in double figures, but she also realizes her switch to point guard this year requires her to think team first.
“It’s my job to set up Carli (Rosenthal), Kama (Griffitts) and Whitney (Heleker) whenever possible,” Warbrick said. “What makes us such a tough team is it’s hard to shut all of us down.”
It’s difficult for teams to defend Warbrick because the tighter players try to guard her, the more comfortable she is stepping back and shooting a 3-pointer. Then if defenders get too close, Warbrick fakes one way and zips past the player.
“Her first step is quicker than anybody else,” Poffenroth said. “That’s probably the area she’s improved the most. She’s quicker now.”
This forces teams to honor that quickness. If given the slightest gap, Warbrick fires away bombs from outside.
“She’s really worked on her shooting range,” Poffenroth said. “Her shooting depth is deep. The only thing keeping her from Pac-10 basketball is she’s short.”
Still, she’s getting some interest, and it appears to be picking up. She’s already been offered a scholarship at North Idaho College and Carroll College in Helena, and Whitworth College have inquired. The most recent contact came when the Vikings were at the Diamond State Classic tournament in Wilmington, Del. She caught the attention of the University of Delaware.
Warbrick played well in Delaware. She was named to the all-tourney team and was given an award for displaying the most competitive spirit.
From the end of the second game through the championship contest the next night, though, Warbrick doesn’t recall much. She collided heads with an opposing player and is believed to have suffered a mild concussion. She didn’t want to go to the hospital and get checked out.
That night following the game, Warbrick had difficulty sleeping and vomited a couple of times. While her team went off to nearby Philadelphia the next morning, she stayed at the motel and tried to sleep off a headache.
She played what she considers the second-best game of her career that night when CdA knocked off perennial Oregon power Oregon City 63-52. She had 14 points.
“She plays hard,” Poffenroth said. “She took a shot in the head in the second game. Her pupils were fine then, but she told us later that she didn’t remember anything about that game after getting hit.”
Warbrick wants to go on and play in college.
“I’m just keeping my options open right now,” she said.
She’s focused on one thing and one thing only – defending the state title and playing for the championship for a fourth straight year.
No. 1-ranked CdA raised its overall record to 14-0 on Tuesday.
“We’re really hungry to win another state title,” Warbrick said. “I feel like I’m pushing myself more. We’re a lot better team than last year. We’re a tighter family.”
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