The Greater Spokane League girls basketball players who will play in the Jack Blair Memorial Classic are arguably the best assembled group the game has seen.
Consider: The two-time most valuable player, Otiona Gildon of Gonzaga Prep, is headed to the University of Oregon. First-team selections Sue Winger (Idaho) of Mead, Laura Stockton (Gonzaga) of G-Prep, Michaela Kay (Portland State) of Lewis and Clark, Madison Hovren (Army) of Central Valley and Riley Lupfer (Boise State) of LC are headed to play at NCAA Division I schools, too.
Still others on the team are seemingly Division I bound or signed to play Division II.
The combined career wins of the GSL players is a staggering 311.
“That’s a testament to how good, how hard working and how competitive this group is,” said CV coach Freddie Rehkow, who will co-coach the Metro team with former Rogers coach Tyrone Hoard. “It’s definitely probably one of the top seniors classes ever in this game. Athletically and where they’re headed, it’s a pretty special group.”
The Metro team, featuring the GSL’s best, takes on the Region, a collection of some of the best players in Eastern Washington and North Idaho. The 22nd annual, tonight at University, tips off at 7:30.
G-Prep coach Mike Arte, whose team won its second straight State 4A title this winter, was asked to coach but had to decline because of a previous commitment. Rehkow jumped at the opportunity.
For good reason. He’ll coach Hovren, a four-year starter and three-time GSL leading scorer.
“The hardest part for me will be picking the five starters,” Rehkow said.
Gildon and Stockton are especially jazzed about playing. The Region has won the last two games, and the Bullpups don’t want their last high school game to end in a loss.
In their four years at G-Prep, they’ve been part of 95 victories.
“We’ve had lots of wins but haven’t won this game,” Gildon said. “For me, the game is bittersweet. It’s my last high school game but at least I get to play with Laura. We’re going to have to go out and finally win a Blair game.”
It’s the third time this spring that Gildon, Stockton and Hovren played in an all-star game together. Hovren was named MVP when Washington crushed Oregon in the most recent all-star game.
“It’ll be fun to play with the other girls in the GSL,” Stockton said. “We’re just a little bit tired of losing the game. It’s really special to have one more game with Oti and Oona (Harrington).”
Hovren looked back on her four years and marvels that it’s all of a sudden come to an end.
“It’s crazy that this is my last high school game,” Hovren said. “It’s awesome to play with people I’ve played against the last four years instead of playing against them again.”
For the Metro seniors, it will be like a pre-college game – considering the level of talent.
This much the GSL players know: the Region team won’t roll over.
The Region team consists of players as far away as Moses Lake to the west, Colton to the south and Coeur d’Alene to the east. And it’s a blend of big-school and little-school stars.
Consider: Jessie and Jamie Loera of Moses Lake; Savannah Chadwick and Zoe Moser of Colton; Emily Drake of Pullman; Rachel Bozlee of Northwest Christian; Hailey Higashi of St. George’s; Clarissa Smith of Lake City; Shayna Allert and Melody Kempton of Post Falls; Erin Higbie of West Valley; and Hannah Burland of East Valley.
Marc Allert of Post Falls and Clark Vining of Colton are co-coaches for the Region team.
Rounding out the Metro roster are: Lexie and Lacie Hull of CV; Emma Kennedy and Brooke Bailey of University; Oona Harrington of G-Prep; and Shyla Carr of Shadle Park.
“It’s such an honor to play with these girls,” Winger said. “That’s why I love this game. It’s an opportunity to play with people who love the game as much as you.”
Notes: The game will be played using NCAA rules and two 20-minute halves. There will also be no shot clock. … Kids desiring to get autographs from any of the players must do so by 25 minutes before player introductions or wait until after the game.
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