It’s the closest thing to an exhibition between the big-school state girls basketball champs from Washington and Idaho.
Even the coaches from Mead and Post Falls are coaching in the game.
As usual, the annual Jack Blair Memorial Basketball game features the best players from the Greater Spokane League and surrounding area. The 20th edition tips off at 7:30 tonight at Post Falls High School.
Three players from Mead and four from Post Falls are scheduled to play.
Mead and Post Falls tried to schedule a nonleague game this year. A nonleague opponent backed out of a game with Mead, but Post Falls couldn’t find a spot the last minute to play the Panthers.
Mead, which finished 25-1, played Coeur d’Alene, beating the Vikings 60-45. Post Falls, which ended 24-1, defeated CdA 46-44 in overtime in the state title game.
“One of my players said it would have been cool to play Post Falls after each of us won state,” Mead coach Quantae Anderson said.
Mead junior wing Delany Junkermier agreed. She is joined on the Metro by Mead teammates Jade Redmon, who signed with Eastern Washington University, and Mackenzie McPhee, who is headed to Regis University in Denver, Colo.
“We would have liked to see how we matched up with Post Falls,” Junkermier said. “It was a bummer we couldn’t arrange to play them.”
Post Falls coach Marc Allert would have enjoyed such a dream matchup, too.
“In hindsight, seeing how both of us ended up, it would have been a good game,” Allert said.
Representing Post Falls in the game are West Point-bound Dani Failor, Hallie Gennett, who signed with Sacramento State, Brooke Litalien, who is going to Lewis-Clark State College, and Katie King, who recently signed with North Idaho College.
While the Mead/Post Falls angle is an intriguing element in the game, even more interesting is whether the GSL-proud Metro team can continue its dominance over the Region. The Metro has won 18 of the 19 games.
The Region beat the Metro in 2009. Five of the games have been tightly contested, including last year when the Metro escaped with an 80-79 victory.
There’s no reason to believe tonight’s game won’t be as competitive. Both teams have plenty of talent to round out their rosters.
“I’m just going to give them the ball and let them go out and do what they do,” Anderson said. “I think my coaching style fits the all-star game mode.”
“At this point you’re not going to teach them anything,” Allert said. “They wouldn’t be playing if they didn’t know what they’re doing. Let them use their athleticism and put on a show.”
Failor heads to basic training at the end of June.
“It’s special,” Failor said. “I get to play for my coach one more time and get to play with my teammates one more time. It’s going to be bittersweet.”
The game features Washington and Idaho players of the year. Redmon was selected Washington’s 4A player of the year and University senior Kayleigh Valley (Montana) was tabbed the 3A player of the year. Failor was Idaho Gatorade Player of the Year.
Other Metro players are: Mariah Cunningham and Madison Hovren, Central Valley; Kaycee Hert, Shadle Park; Laura Stockton and Otiona Gildon, Gonzaga Prep; Taylor Howlett, Lewis and Clark; Brittney Johnson, Ferris; and Brooke Reilly, Mt. Spokane. Other Region players: Natawnee Spencer, Lapwai, Caelyn Orlandi, Madison Sumner, Sydni Parker and Sydney Williams, CdA; Emily Drake, Pullman; Chandler Smith, Brewster; and Madi Farrell, Lake City.