The Spokane Stars girls club basketball program did something that’s never been done in the 13-year history of the MSNM Western U.S./International tournament in San Diego last week.
The Stars Blue and Royal teams won championships in the elite and all-star divisions, respectively, both going undefeated.
The Blue went 8-0, topping OC Elite Nationals of Los Angeles 46-43 in the final. The Royal went 7-0, defeating Northwest Blazers Ice of Montana 61-34 in the final.
“It’s an unbelievable accomplishment,” Stars director Ron Adams said. “I’m overwhelmed that the Blue won the tournament because of the injuries we had.”
The Blue played its final five games without one of its standouts, Lacie Hull of Central Valley.
“Without Lacie our chances dropped,” Adams said. “The bench really came through. I’ve never had a bench come through like that in 35 years doing this.”
The Blue finished the season 37-4 overall.
In addition to Hull, the Blue team members are: Jamie Loera (Moses Lake), Lexie Hull (CV), Hannah Burland (East Valley), Kaiti Pannell (University), Joy Akaegbu (Gonzaga Prep), Jessie Loera (Moses Lake), Shyler Sullivan (Southridge), Brooke Bailey (University), Jaidyn Lyman (Mt. Spokane) and Darbi Pink (Chiawana). They’re coached by Adams and Steve Ranniger.
For the Blue in the title game, Lexie Hull led with 19 points, 13 rebounds, three steals and three assists. Jessie Loera had seven assists. For the tourney, Hull averaged 13.3 points and 7.1 rebounds, Akaegbu averaged 5.5 rebounds and Loera averaged 6.5 assists.
The Blue won 12 straight games to end the season.
The Royal team members are: Jacinta Buckley (Lewis and Clark), Hailey Christopher (CV), Quincy McDeid (North Central), Bridget Rieken (Lake City), Katherine Sams (CV), Madylyn Simmelink (CV) and Camryn Skaife (CV). They’re coached by Janet Skaife, Derek Simmelink and Jon Sams.
For the Royal in the title game, Rieken had 17 points and Simmelink added 11.
• In the Summer Heat Showcase July 23-24 at the Warehouse in Spokane, the Stars Blue and Royal both went 4-0.
The Blue played a tougher round-robin schedule, Adams said.
“We changed the format this year for the college coaches who attended the tournament,” Adams said. “It was a good tune up for San Diego.”
Spokane Scream ’98 and Salt City Sox used similar tactics – late-game eruptions to overcome deficits – to rally past North Idaho opponents and claim titles in the 2015 Amateur Softball Association girls 16U B and 18U B Western National Championships at the Merkel Complex on Saturday.
Scream ’98 used a four-run sixth inning to get past Coeur d’Alene Crush 4-3 and cap a 5-0 run to the 16U B Western National championship.
“It was an overall team win,” said coach John Goode, whose team also was 2-0 in pool play and outscored seven opponents 52-18.
Salt City Sox, from Salt Lake City, needed a five-run sixth inning, ignited by Brie Chisholm’s RBI squeeze-bunt single, to rally past Northwest Wildfire 6-4 for the 18U B title. The Sox went 6-0, including 2-0 in pool play, and outscored rivals 61-14. They capitalized on Wildfire misplays to fuel the winning rally.
Wildfire rode the pitching of Amanda Rouse (Post Falls) and Spokane Falls-bound Makenna Wasteney (Central Valley) and the top five in its batting order, including Rummor Walker (Lake City), who was 4 for 4 in the championship game, and Amanda Atwood (Freeman), who was 3 for 4 with two doubles and two RBIs. Thea Fuhs (Lewiston) caught the last five games in near 100-degree heat.
Spokane Diamonds-Stewart (0-2 in bracket play, 1-3 overall) tied for seventh in 18U B.
Coeur d’Alene Crush, whose late-game heroics had served them well in getting to the 16U B championship game, didn’t have one final answer in their third game of the day. Laurie Jones (Shadle Park), Bailey Cavanagh (Lake City) and Kyllie Sappington (Winnemuca, Nevada) drove in the Crush runs.
They rallied for four runs in the bottom of the seventh for an 8-7 win in the third-place game after Spokane Mudhens-Hecker had scored two in the top of the inning to open a two-run lead. Morgan DeMent (Priest River) had three hits in the game, including a double, singled in the winning run.
Mudhens-Hecker (3-2, 4-3 overall) finished third; Lakesiders of Nine Mile Falls (3-2, 4-3) were fourth; Mudhens-Finch (3-2, 4-3) and Liberty Lake Lightning (3-2, 3-4) tied for fifth; West Plains Bandits (2-2, 3-3) tied for seventh; and Spokane Diamonds-Vulcano (0-2, 2-2) tied for ninth.
Several other area teams also played in ASA national championships during the weekend, including Spokane Crash-Blake (0-2) in the 185-team ASA/USA 16U A National in Chattanooga, Tennessee; North Idaho Xtreme (0-2) in the 14U A Western National in Boise; and Spokane Stealth-Bischoff (0-2) in the 10U B Western National in Pico Rivera, California.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.