One of the best traditions of the basketball season comes right at the start with the Dan Fitzgerald Memorial Basketball Showcase, held at Lewis and Clark High School every year.
It’s more than just basketball, as the tournament – now in its 10th year – raises thousands of dollars for worthy charities, including the Spokane Boys and Girls Club and the Dan Fitzgerald scholarship at Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose, California – all in memory of the legendary Gonzaga coach.
This year’s tournament, as it does every year, attracted an entertaining field, with the Lewis and Clark boys and girls teams, along with the state-contending Mead girls and Lake City boys representing the area.
The out-of-town contingent featured the Bothell and Union boys teams, and the Tahoma and West Linn (Oregon) girls squads.
The Mead girls went undefeated in the regular season last year before finishing fifth at the State 3A tourney. The Panthers drew a tough test off the bat with Tahoma, which finished the 2021-22 season 10th in the state in 4A.
Hope Hassman, a Cal State Fullerton commit, scored 16 points, Lauryn Frederickson added 14 and the Bears beat the Panthers 48-41 in the first game of the season for both games.
Teryn Gardner, first-team Greater Spokane League and second-team all-state as a sophomore last season, led the Panthers with 14 points.
“It was the first game of the season, but I think we could have come out a lot stronger,” Gardner said. “We’re a lot better team than we showed. Tahoma’s a tough team. They were tough for us first game of the season.”
“I’m happy,” Mead coach Quantae Anderson said. “You never like to lose a game, but we were in that game against a very good Tahoma team.
“If we had hit some bunnies … I don’t know what we were from inside the key, but it was not very good.”
Tahoma got out quickly, building a 10-2 lead off a pair of 3s by Hassman and Frederickson. Mead’s Teayona Hoard converted a three-point play, Gardner hit a 3 moments later and the Panthers trailed 14-13 after one quarter.
“They got up quickly, but we kept fighting and fighting,” Anderson said. “If we give 100% effort like that, we can correct the other things.”
The Bears used a six-point run to get up 23-17, but Gardner banked home a 3-pointer from just inside the center circle at the buzzer. Mead trailed by three at halftime.
“I kind of thought (the shot) was hard, honestly,” Gardner said. “But then it hit the backboard went in. So I’m like, ‘OK, I’ll take it.’ ”
Early in the third, Natalie Braun drove the lane for buckets on consecutive possessions to get the Panthers within one, but Hassman’s late layup gave Tahoma a two-point lead after three quarters.
Gardner tied it at 37 with a follow-up lay-in with 5 minutes to go, but Tahoma used an 8-2 run to make it 45-39 with 3 minutes left.
“There was a point where we weren’t moving enough on offense,” Anderson said. “Even though we have a lot of returners, it’s a whole new team. We’ll figure it out together.”
Gardner got tied up and traveled with 54 seconds left down by four. After a foul, Hassman hit two free throws to restore a six-point lead.
“I guess it was an off-day,” Gardner said. “But that’s when you have to fight through it. And I still gotta keep helping my team no matter what.”
Lewis and Clark 42, West Linn (Ore.) 37: Cassidy Lade and Nyah Ankcorn scored 10 points apiece and the Tigers (1-0) topped the Lions (0-1). Reese Jordan led West Linn with 12 points.
Lake City 61, Union 39: Reese Strawn scored 19 points, University of Virginia-bound Blake Buchanan added 18 and the Timberwolves (1-0) beat the Titans (1-1). Yanni Fassilis led Union with 14 points. Lake City outscored Union 25-8 in the third quarter.
Lewis and Clark 57, Bothell 46: Sam Toure scored 13 points and the Tigers (1-0) tamed the Cougars (0-1). Daniel Briseno scored 19 points for Bothell.
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