Pateros Girl's Basketball On Special Journey To State B Tourname - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Pateros Girl's Basketball On Special Journey To State B Tournament

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Bobbi Hall lost her home during the Carlton Complex Fire, now her Pateros team is looking to win a state title. (Photo: Gabe Cohen) Bobbi Hall lost her home during the Carlton Complex Fire, now her Pateros team is looking to win a state title. (Photo: Gabe Cohen)

PATEROS, Wash. -- In the midst of a long recovery, Pateros has new inspiration thanks to a group of high school girls and the sport they love to play.

Pateros High School's girls varsity basketball team is nearly finished with one of its best seasons ever. As of Wednesday, they sit at 21-1, and are set to make their third straight State B Tournament appearance Thursday vs. defending state champ Colton. But this year, the journey was different, because of the fire that burned so much of their hometown.

The Carlton Complex fire destroyed hundreds of homes in Okanogan County last July and Pateros may have been hit harder than any place in the area.

Two of the homes destroyed belonged to members of the girls varsity basketball team. Coach John Ellis was one of the two who lost his home.

"It was overwhelming," Ellis said. "But it's just that initial shock and then you start building from there."

Ellis entered the recovery process with a positive attitude. Eight months later, his new house is nearly finished. He moves in next month. The coach says lessons he learned during 21 years coaching young ball players helped him in his darkest hour.

"Nothing is given to you," Ellis said. "You have to earn it."

A lesson Ellis brings to the court. And a lesson sophomore guard Bobbi Hall took to heart when she lost her home.

"It's just incredible how strong you can be," Hall said. "Even when you've lost everything."

The fire left Hall with just the clothes on her back. Flames destroyed the small court where she learned to play basketball.

"It was hard to look at," she said. "But I learned a lesson. Things can be taken away from you, but the ones you love will always be there."

Her best friends will be there by her side when they take the court in search of their first state title ever -- a team that knows how to overcome adversity, and a team that wants to win.

"There are no words to describe how proud you can be of your town," team captain Lorie Ledoux said.

"If anyone asks where I'm from, I'm going to tell them, I'm from Pateros."

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