Stars dotted the floor for the 23rd annual Jack Blair Memorial girls basketball game.
Metro, consisting of the Greater Spokane League stars, had more Wednesday.
The GSL-based team wasted no time taking control and held off Region 81-72 at University High School.
Metro scored the game’s first 12 points, and that made a difference in the end.
As did familiarity, speed and defense.
“We all know each other’s style of play,” Lexie Hull of Central Valley said of her Metro teammates. “We were all excited to play together because we played against each other all year.”
Hull was named the game’s most valuable player. She finished with a game-high 22 points, five rebounds, four steals and two assists.
She and her twin sister, Lacie, just returned from the U17 national team tryouts. They were cut over the weekend.
“It was fun to play with everyone that I know,” Lexie said.” It was good competition here but it was good to go to U17 (tryouts) and see great players.”
Region, the best of the rest in the area, finally settled in, pulling within 14-9.
But Metro wrested control thereafter. A 3-pointer by Riley Lupfer of Lewis and Clark extended the lead to 35-14 with 5:11 to go in the first half.
Metro maintained that margin a minute later when Aaliyah Pauling of Mead hit a 3-pointer.
Metro’s biggest lead was 22 points in the first half.
Region stayed within eyesight as the first half concluded when Madi Schoening of Sandpoint hit a straight on bank shot to make it 41-29 at halftime.
“Knowing these girls as well as we do we let them do what they wanted to do,” CV coach Freddie Rehkow said. “That’s the beauty of these all-star games. Don’t restrict them, let them be who they are, that was fun.”
In the second half, Metro built as much as a 25-point lead but Region never rolled over.
A big difference in the first half were turnovers. Metro only had five to Region’s 13.
Jessie Loera, who is headed to Gonzaga University, said it was difficult to combat Metro’s familiarity.
“They got a good lead,” the Moses Lake standout said. “They know each other. Our team was getting to know each other more and more. We got more comfortable as the game went, which was really nice because we started to play like we knew each other.”
Loera was named the game’s most inspirational player. She finished with 18 points.
And she’s ready to move on after playing her last high school game.
“It’s been a long time that I’ve been in this and I’m ready to go to the next level,” Loera said.
Metro had several standouts Wednesday. Lewis and Clark senior Riley Lupfer had 14 points, four rebounds, three steals and three assists. Mead junior Aaliyah Pauling finished with 14 points.
Loera’s sister, Jamie, finished with 11 points and eight rebounds, Timberlake junior Allison Kirby had seven rebounds and Post Falls sophomore Melody Kempton had 12 points.
Metro 81, Region 72
REGION – Ja. Loera 11, Je. Loera 18, Schoening 4, Si. Swannack 2, Kirby 6, Lawler 4, Carlson 4, Kempton 12, Horning 8, Burland 2, Sh. Swannack 1.
METRO – Drynan 0, Le. Hull 22, Douglass 6, Lyman 2, Smith 7, Lupfer 14, Bailey 4, La. Hull 0, Pannell 3, Cunningham 9, Pauling 14.
Halftime: Metro 41-29.
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