(Yakima, WA) The Eli Sports Network made it’s first ever trip to Yakima’s Sun Dome to cover the boys and girls state 2A tournament. We witnessed some incredible talent and games. We got a great look at the basketball stars of the future in the state of Washington.

ESN3 covered 13 games in three days, plus got to sit in on some of the action of some games while getting ready to broadcast our games.

We apologize for not having pictures of each recipients nor did we write stories or post tournament coverage on the site with links and pictures and that’s because this was a first for us to be in Yakima and with only 2 newbies just concerned about getting the games on the air. We will only get better and are thrilled to have added to our Hoop Post-Season, baby steps for us right?

That being said as stated above that didn’t stop us from seeing some truly remarkable games and individual performances. When we compile such lists as these we do so after a day or 2 of pondering and going through the numbers. We are ALWAYS surprised when we go back and look at the numbers as a whole instead of a game here or there. We may have witnessed an ok game from a player then look at their stats and they’re in the top 5 in scoring or rebounding or have 20 assists some crazy number will pop out that you don’t realize while sitting there watching and calling the action.

So we leaned heavily on our observation and combined that with the final tournament stats to come up with our winners. We didn’t feel we could select individual MVP’s and stuck to our own 1st and 2nd teams of 5 players. Now remember this is not put together to slight anyone, but rather to celebrate accomplishments. Also remember sometimes it is hard to give a team that is deep and really has many contributors individual accolades. We want to thank everyone for their hard work in making this a special trip for us and we plan on coming back year-after-year.

And now….these are the players and performances that stuck out to us, congrats to all!!

1st Team Girls

Hannah Burland-East Valley (Spokane)

Hannah had one of the best all-around tournaments in the SunDome and led EV to the 3rd place trophy. Hannah led the tourney in scoring with 54 going 7-21 from behind the arc and 9-10 at the line. But that was not all of her game she also grabbed 20 boards, dished 9 assists had a blocked shot and 6 steals. If we had decided to award an MVP Hannah would have certainly been in the running.

Uju Chibuoghu-Shorecrest

Uju had an outstanding tournament for the Champions and was huge in the paint scoring 37 points but grabbing nearly as many rebounds with 30 for the tournament averaging a double/double. In fact she ended up with 1 double/double with 15 points and 10 boards. She also had 5 “not in my house” blocked shots, 7 assists and 4 steals. She would also be an impactful 10-12 at the line so no hack a Uju in this tourney.

Alyssa Blankenship-Washougal

Alyssa has given her heart and soul to the Panther Hoops program and she rose to the challenge with a huge tournament including knocking Black Hills who were the District Champs where Washougal finished 3rd sneaking into Regionals with the final birth. Alyssa finished with the 3rd most points in the tournament with 53. She was 7-20 from the arc, 14-24 at the line and had 4 assists. She is not one dimensional either as she boarded 23 rebounds and had an astounding 11 steals. Alyssa would have been a candidate for the MVP leading her team to the 4th place trophy.

Elisa Kooiman-Lynden

Elisa would have been our 3rd candidate for MVP as she also lit up the court and the stat sheets. She finished with the 2nd most points pouring in 53 going 4-9 from behind the arc. Elise also grabbed 22 rebounds and finished with 1 double/double with 18 points and 12 boards and that was in the State Championship game against Shorecrest playing her best game in the biggest spotlight. She also finished with 5 assists and 2 steals and Elisa was an easy pick for our 1st team.

Emma Duff-Black Hills

Emma earned her way onto the 1st team with as always gutsy play and the natural leader of the Wolves even though she is only a Jr. She finished with 43 points and went 14-20 from the free throw line including an incredible 11-14 in their loser out game against Mark Morris. She finished with 26 points in that game and 10 rebounds for a double/double. She ended the tourney with 21 boards, 5 assists and 2 steals.

2nd Team Girls

Julia Strand-Shorecrest

Wurrie Njadoe-Shorecrest

Beyonce Bea-Washougal

Kassidy Malcolm-Ellensburg

Brooke Walling-Mark Morris


1st Team Boys

Sterling Somers-Lynden

He goes by Sterling and so does his performance on the court as Sterling would no doubt had been a leading contender for an MVP. Sterling scored the second most points in the Tournament with 65 behind Clarkston’s Trevon Allen’s 80 but it was his all-around game where he would have closed the gap. He was 10-18 from 3-land, 17-21 at the line hauled in 32 rebounds added 9 assists and 10 steals and had 2 double-double games with 19 points and 10 rebounds and 18 points with 18 rebounds. His averages were 21.6 points a game, 10.6 rebounds, 3 assists and 3.3 steals. He also dropped a deep 3-ball with time running out to steal the 3rd place game from Tumwater and come home with the 3rd place trophy. No doubt Sterling is a 1st teamer.

Trevon Allen-Clarkston

80 POINTS!! Enough said of Trevon Allen’s credentials to be on the 1st team let alone would have likely been a 2 horse race with Somers for the MVP. 80 points over 3 games is a 26.6 average! Crazy numbers and no doubt the Bantams relied heavily on Trevon to defend their State Championship. Trevon can light it up from the outside going 11-25 from behind the arc but also grabbed 14 boards had 6 assists, 2 blocked shots and 6 steals so there is much more to Trevon’s game than just firing darts all day long, clearly belongs on the 1st team.

Hunter Jacob-Wapato

Hunter had a strong tournament for the eventual 6th place team scoring in double figures in each of his 3 games finishing with 59 points, 3rd most in the tournament and knocking down 28 in 1 game. He was 2-4 in 3-point shooting while 21-32 from the line, dished 5 assists while gathering in 19 rebounds. His defense was rock solid as well with 3 blocked shots and 7 steals.

Weston Vandenhazel-Tumwater

The big fella in the middle for the T-Birds turned on his game about mid-way through the season and never looked back carrying the T-Birds to the brink of the best finish in school history. Tumwater’s best finish remains the 1976 team’s 3rd place trophy, a very lonely trophy case, joined by the 2016’s T-Birds 5th place trophy. They looked like they would match it but Sterling Somers had to have the last say in the 3rd place game with a 3-ball to give Lynden the win. None the less, this does not take away from a tremendous tournament by Weston. He finished with 57 points over the 3 games, 27 reboounds and 14 blocked shots. Not a bad stat line average of 19 points, 9 rebounds and 4.6 blocked shots no doubt Weston belongs in this group.

Philip Pepple-Shorecrest

As impressive as Trevon Allen’s 80 points are, Sterling Somers 32 rebounds and Weston Vandenhazel’s 14 blocked shots how about 67%?? No this is not a 2-3 from the 3-point line or the free throw line this is Philip’s 3-day tournament field goal shooting percentage. Philip finished with the 3-games going 22-33 from the floor for 49 total points picking up 5 free-throws as well. This is a remarkable percent and he lifted Shorecrest to the title game. He also pulled down 20 rebounds and had 9 blocked shots. must be nice to know everytime the ball got into his hands you knew it was likely going in. Just another much deserving addition to the 1st all-tourney team.

2nd Team Boys

Jordan Blodgett-Wapato

Tobyn Lawson-Shorecrest

Kobe Key-River Ridge

La Brandon Price-River Ridge

Jacob Gibbons-Tumwater

By Rons

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