Melody Kempton is more than a year away from continuing her basketball playing career at Gonzaga University.
But in the all-star game usually dominated by the Greater Spokane League’s best, the Post Falls standout gave her Region team a big lift in the second half.
The 6-foot Kempton scored 10 of her 12 points and grabbed nine of her 11 rebounds in the second half to lead Region past Metro 84-73 in the 24th annual Jack Blair Memorial game.
And Kempton did it on her home court. She was named the most valuable player.
“She killed us,” said Mt. Spokane coach David Pratt, who served as Metro’s coach. “When you have that kind of athleticism and talent. They’re all that good and she’s just that good. She did a great job. Long arms and that rebound she got towards the end there when we were down (eight) and she goes back up there and finishes. She’s going to have a good career (at GU).”
Region led 78-70 when Kempton got an offensive rebound and converted to push the lead back to double figures with 2:28 remaining.
“My team just took off,” Kempton said. “I was just trying to assist them, they were doing so amazing.”
At least seven Region players had assists. And unselfish play, making the extra pass, showed.
“We shared the ball so much more than you normally do in an all-star game,” Kempton said. “We came into the locker room (at halftime) and said ‘what are we doing in here. We’re sharing the ball so much. This isn’t a normal thing. Let’s keep it up’.”
Christine Denny of Liberty and Grace Kirscher of Sandpoint got Region out to a fast start in the opening half.
Denny scored Region’s first seven points. Kirscher hit three 3-pointers as Region opened a 43-27 lead.
But Metro, which led just twice at 2-0 and 21-19, scored the final 11 points of the half to pull within 43-38 at intermission.
Metro cut the lead to 43-41 in the early moments of the second half, but back-to-back 3-pointers from Bayley Brennan of Post Falls and Keelie Lawler of Timberlake allowed Region to take a 49-41 lead.
Central Valley’s Lexie Hull completed a three-point play to pull Metro within 63-60 with 10:58 remaining. But that’s as close as Metro would get.
“What a fun opportunity for kids to come out and have this kind of atmosphere,” Pratt said. “Both teams are loaded with collegiate talent. We didn’t make shots and they made a bunch of shots. Credit to them for that.”
The Hull twins showed why they’re Stanford commits. Lexie, who was named the game’s most inspirational player, led Metro with 22 points. Lacie had six points, six steals, five rebounds and two assists.
Aspyn Adams of Mt. Spokane made two late 3-pointers and finished with 14 points.
Kirscher led Region with 14 points and six rebounds and Lawler and Denny had 11 each.
It was an especially enjoyable game for Kempton, Lawler, Brennan, Allison Kirby of Timberlake and Nina Carlson of Lake City. They played several years together on the same club team.
“I honestly don’t know what happened but I was just trying to keep up the energy and keep sharing the ball … and making it a really fun game,” Kempton said. “These games really aren’t about winning or losing. It’s a final chance for all of us to play together and for some of us who don’t normally get to play together.”