Sports -- March 18, 2004

Published on Thu, Mar 18, 2004
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By Jack Kintner

State Basketball Highlights

Borderites slam into emotional juggernaut

Blaine, undefeated since losing to this same East Valley squad a year ago, ran straight into an emotional juggernaut in their opener on Wednesday morning. East Valley of Yakima, playing what was essentially a home game, got calls toward the end that stopped Blaine rallies just as they did last year in the tournament semifinal game.
But what really won the game for East Valley was their adrenaline-soaked motivation borne of the untimely death of their coach Jack Cleveland last June of a heart attack. Only three Blaine girls scored at all in that opening game, their final rally being quashed when Kristina Francis fouled out after sinking two treys in the final minute of play to cut East Valley’s lead to five.

But as Blaine’s Jessica Summers said afterward, “Fifth place is better than no place,” so the girls sucked it up and moved on to annihilate Eatonville in the second round 47-36, beginning with a 12-2 run orchestrated by Summer’s thundering drives to the bucket. On Friday Shela Robertson shut down Elma’s 20 points per game scoring machine Willow Cabe as the Borderites rolled to a 48-24 win.

Jessica Summers, “Stretch” to everyone, shot 83 percent from the floor and 100 percent from the charity stripe in Saturday’s game against Woodland, dumping in a tournament-high 31 points. The game was close with the lead changing 16 times, but with four minutes left Stretch slammed the door with three straight field goals, two of them on Jen Kramer assists and one on a dish from Shela Robertson. Woodland crawled back to the edge with 1:15 left to trail by three until Summers and Francis combined for a 6-0 run and seal the Borderite claim on fifth place.

As in the regular season, both teams came back from self-imposed handicaps to prevail in a tournament that provided excitement, calamity, resolve and triumph. As Richard Hanson, Blaine’s ace player in the early ’60s, said, “These kids are terrific. Anyone can win, but not everyone can come back like they did. They’re the real champs.”
Both Gilmore and Summers were all-tournament selections. Summers also set records for career points in the tournament (235) and field goals made (98).

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