During the early years of the Jack Blair Memorial Girls Basketball game, the Metro team was heavily favored each time.
It wasn’t until the 16th edition that the Region team broke through. The Region has been more competitive in recent years.
That will be the case again in the 18th game when the teams square off June 1 at Lake City High School.
The Metro includes the best players from the Greater Spokane League. The Region is comprised of the top players from outside of Spokane.
Headlining the Metro team are GSL most valuable player Tia Presley of Gonzaga Prep and all-GSL first-team picks Brooke Gallaway of Central Valley, Aleisha Hathaway of Shadle Park, Devyn Galland of State 4A champion Lewis and Clark, Taylor Ingebritsen of Mead and Riley Holsinger of North Central, which qualified for state for the first time in school history. Presley, who has signed with Washington State University, broke the GSL career scoring mark held by Angie Bjorklund of University.
Also on the team are Haley Hendricksen of LC, Chelsea Chandler of Shadle, Tara Van Weerdhuizen of NC, Amy Thorton of U-Hi, Lindsay Stockton of G-Prep and Haley Sieverding of Ferris. Nakia Arquette of LC also was selected but won’t be able to play because of injury. Alternates are Hannah Murray of G-Prep, Katara Belton-Sharp of Ferris and Hallie Gennett of U-Hi. The coach is Gabe Medrano of NC.
Carli Rosenthal of Coeur d’Alene headlines the Region team. She is playing in the Blair game for a fourth time. Only three other players have played four times, two of them for the Region. They are: Jazmine Redmon of Mead, Kama Griffitts of CdA and Katie Baker of Lake City.
Two future college teammates are on the Region – Shaniqua Nilles of West Valley and Shelby Cheslek of Pullman, both of whom signed with Gonzaga University. Others on the team are Sydney Butler of Lake City, Mackenzie Taylor of Freeman, Jamie Weisner of Clarkston, Cassie Thompson of Timberlake, Natawnee Spencer of Lapwai, Tanis Fuller and Chelsea Waters of Lewiston and Kyeli Parker and Caelyn Orlandi of CdA. Alternates are Lexie Zappone of Lakeside (Nine Mile Falls), Kendalyn Brainard of CdA, Savannah Blinn of Lewiston and Katie Rowe of Lake City. Coach is Dale Poffenroth of CdA.
The Metro’s strengths are quickness and athleticism. Medrano is a defensive-minded coach and the key to Metro winning is defense.
The Region’s strengths are size with 6-foot-5 Cheslek, 6-3 Rosenthal and Thompson, 6-1 Waters and 6-0 Nilles.
“This game should be more competitive than the other games, because these girls won’t approach this as simply an all-star game,” game organizer Ron Adams said.