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Dave Nichols: Stars come out from across metro area and region for showcase

UPDATED: Mon., March 2, 2020

Washington state titles are still to be decided this week, but The Spokesman-Review High School Basketball Showcase – powered in part by STCU – is right around the corner.

The event, featuring the Denny Humphrey Memorial Boys All-Star Game and the Jack Blair Memorial Girls All-Star Game, is March 17 at Lewis and Clark High School. The girls’ game is at 5:30 p.m. and the boys tip at 7:30.

The games will feature all-stars from the Greater Spokane League (“Metro”) against the best from the region’s smaller schools, North Idaho, the Mid-Columbia Conference and the Columbia Basin Big 9.

Each of the GSL and Great Northern League schools are represented between the four teams, and MVPs from more than a dozen leagues east of the Cascades dot the rosters.

Metro boys

Coached by longtime Shadle Park coach Tim Gaebe, the Metro boys team will feature GSL player of the year junior forward Tyson Degenhart of Mt. Spokane.

The two-time All-GSL first-team selection leads the Wildcats into state action on Wednesday.

He’ll be joined by the rest of the All-GSL first team: senior guard and two-time 4A state champ Liam Lloyd (Gonzaga Prep), senior guard Jayce Simmons (Central Valley), 6-foot-10 junior post Gavin Gilstrap, senior wing Tyson Rogalette (Mead) and junior guard Hodges Flemming (Gonzaga Prep).

GSL and District 8 4A champion Central Valley also sends second-team selection senior guard Noah Sanders.

Joining them on the Metro boys squad are second-team all-GSL guards JoJo Anderson (jr., Mt. Spokane) and Zach Fleming (sr., Ferris) and forward Conrad Bippes (so., University).

All-GSL honorable mention forward Evan Nomee (sr., Rogers) and guard Joel Zylak (sr., Lewis and Clark), and guard Ayden Barnufsky (so., North Central) round out the Metro squad.

Ferris senior forward McCoy Spink, an All-GSL second team pick, was selected but unavailable due to prior commitment.

Region boys

Former Freeman and University coach Marty Jessett will helm the Region boys squad. Jessett not only brings a strong coaching résumé, but he played for Humphrey in high school and was a volunteer assistant for the Hall of Fame coach.

The Region team brings together all-stars from across Eastern and Central Washington and North Idaho.

Senior Cooper DeWitt of Chiawana – the MCC player of the year – headlines the group, along with two-time Big 9 player of the year Earl Lee (sr., Davis) and two-time 5A Inland Empire League MVP senior guard Colby Gannett of Post Falls.

They’ll be joined by all-MCC first-team picks Ayoni Benavidez (sr., Kennewick) and Michael Cornia (sr., Walla Walla) and Big 9 first teamer Kyle Karstetter (sr., Moses Lake) as well as state career scoring leader and NE1B MVP senior Ryan Moffet of Odessa.

Also on the Region boys team are Great Northern League MVP Tru Allen (sr., Clarkston) and All-GNL guards Ethan Kramer (sr., Pullman) and Blaine Vasicek (jr., West Valley), along with Northeast A MVP Jobi Gelder (sr., Deer Park) and NE2B all-league picks Tayshawn Colvin (so., Liberty) and Dan Rigsby (sr., St. George’s).

Metro girls

Dale Poffenroth, a longtime coach at Central Valley and Coeur d’Alene, coached in the first Jack Blair game in 1994 and returns to guide the Metro team in the reboot of the series.

GSL player of the year Jayda Noble (sr., Mt. Spokane) – who played in the 2018 game as a sophomore at Medical Lake – leads this team.

The Metro squad features three second-generation Jack Blair all-stars: CV junior forward MJ Bruno and University twin seniors Tyler and Jacksen McCliment-Call.

All-GSL first team seniors Ellie Boni (University), Emma Main (Mt. Spokane) and Joelnell Momberg (Mead) join the squad.

Guards Peyton Howard (sr., CV), Andie Zylak (jr., LC), Izzy Boring (jr., Shadle Park) and forward Lakin Garnder (sr., GP) were second-team all-league selections.

Honorable mention forward Leah Carney (sr., GP) and guard Elliot Hencz (so., Ferris) are also all-stars.

CV senior guard Anika Chalich, an all-league honorable mention, was selected but is unavailable to play due to injury.

Region girls

To put it simply, the Region girls team is loaded for former North Central and Burlington-Edison coach Jake Martyn.

This squad is headlined by USA Today preseason All-USA team selection Talia Von Oelhoffen, a junior from Chiawana.

Von Oelhoffen was the MCC player of the year this season, is a two-time Eastern Washington Athletic Conference MVP and was named State 2B player of the year as a sophomore in 2019 at Tri-Cities Prep before transferring.

Van Oelhoffen, daughter of former NFL player Kimo Von Oelhoffen, has scored more than 2,300 points in her illustrious career and is one of the top five national recruits in her class.

Liberty senior forward Maisie Burnham, bound for Eastern Washington next season, is a two-time NE2B player of the year and was a first-team all-league pick each of her four years. She played in the 2018 Jack Blair game and has scored more than 2,200 points in her career.

Senior guard Madisyn Clark from Moses Lake was the Big 9 MVP, senior guard MeiLani McBee of Kennewick was an MCC first-team pick and junior Trista Hull of LaSalle was a 1A all-state selection in 2019 and was a South Central Athletic Conference first-teamer.

Great Northern League MVP Ashlynn Wallace (jr., Clarkston) and first-team picks Maggie Smith (sr., Cheney), Hailey Marlow (sr., West Valley) and Brie Holecek (sr., East Valley) join the team, as do NE1B MVP Korin Baker (sr., Curlew) and SE1B MVP Maddy Dixon (jr., Pomeroy).

A pair of Idaho 3A state champions from Timberlake round out the Region: Intermountain League MVP junior guard Taryn Soumas and 2019 IML MVP junior forward Brooke Jessen.

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