On Saturday, the Northwest Shootout will pit boys and girls all-star basketball teams from Washington and Oregon against each other in a showcase of the best talent in the adjoining states in Hillsboro, Oregon.
The Washington girls team is a veritable who’s who of the top players, led by State 4A champion Central Valley’s twin all-staters Lexie and Lacie Hull, both bound for Stanford, along with Jamie Loera (Arizona State) and Abby Rathbun (San Francisco) of Moses Lake and Shalyse Smith (Arizona) of Bellarmine Prep.
Of the 10 players on the team, nine played in Class 4A and all will play at a Division I school next season – except one.
Joining the others is Class 1A Lakeside’s Sienna Swannack, who will continue her basketball career at NAIA member Carroll College in Helena next season.
Swannack’s résumé speaks for itself. She was ranked among the top 100 point guards in the nation by ESPN recruiting and MaxPreps rated her the No. 18 point guard in Washington. She eclipsed the 1,000-point mark for her career in January and led the Eagles to a fourth-place finish as the seventh seed at state this season, knocking off fourth-seeded Zillah 50-36. Swannack scored 15 points with seven boards in the game.
Swannack was an Associated Press honorable mention Class 1A all-state this season and played in the Washington State Girls Basketball Coaches’ Association senior all-state game. She is a three-time Northeast A League MVP.
The 5-foot-9 guard averaged 17 points, seven rebounds, five assists and 3.6 steals this season.
But the Northwest Shootout will give her an opportunity to test her skills against a different level of competition.
Swannack said she used to play with the Hulls “a lot” in 3-on-3 tournaments and grew up playing against them in AAU and club ball.
“It’s pretty awesome and I’m really excited about playing with and against girls from bigger schools going on to play Division I ball,” Swannack said.
“I’m looking forward to seeing how these girls have developed as players and measuring myself up against them.”
Swannack said she enjoyed the atmosphere at the senior all-star game, where she scored 14 points and helped the Class 1A team knock off the bigger 2As 106-85.
“It was cool to see the difference between how all the different levels (classifications) played,” she said. “I loved watching the 4A-3A game. It was cool to see the skill, fundamental and intensity level from the girls that were going on to Division I schools.”
Swannack said her journey in high school from coming off the bench her freshman season with six seniors on the team to becoming a leader her senior year was a growth experience.
The transition of playing wasn’t the issue, describing the situation as “playing on four completely different teams in high school.”
“It was learning how to lead,” she said.
Swannack said she tried to lead by example and hard work as a younger player and grew more vocal as she got older.
Helping her through that process was her father, Bob Swannack, the former Reardan boys coach and current director of Spokane Legacy Elite Basketball, and Swannack’s assistant at Legacy, John Graham.
Legacy has turned out a number of college players in the past several years, including Riley Lupfer of Lewis and Clark (Boise State), Emily Drake of Pullman (Weber State) and Christine Denny of Liberty (Carroll).
Current seniors who played with Legacy include Sydney Abbott of Davenport (Whitworth), Krislyn Koler of Chewelah (CC Spokane) and Emily Fletcher of East Valley (CC Spokane). All three were all-league players this season.
Swannack said she’s interested in coaching on the club level in the future, but has other aspirations for a career.
“I’ve always loved numbers,” she said, indicating that she would like to major in engineering at Carroll.
Swannack is near the top of her class with a GPA better than 3.8.
Idaho to test RPI
The Idaho state activities association finalized a plan this week to use computer rankings to seed the 2018 2A football playoffs on a one-year basis instead of the traditional method of using predrawn brackets.
The first 13 of 16 teams to the 2A playoffs will earn a playoff spot via conference standings. The final three spots will be determined by Ratings Percentage Index (RPI), with team’s record, opponent’s record and opponent’s opponents record factored in.
If the experiment is deemed successful, the IHSSA may expand the plan and apply to all classifications.
National Signing Day
Tyler Shea of Northwest Christian signed with Northwest Nazarene to run cross country and track. Cameron Flores of Post Falls signed with CC Spokane for golf.