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Posted On: 03/5/19 7:28 PM
Washington’s state basketball tournament is finished up now and club season is already looming. Prep Girls Hoops was in 100% attendance for the 4A/3A Hardwood Classic, while following the action of the 1B, 2B, 1A, and 2A classifications online and through our extensive network. With club season in the back of my mind during the the state playoffs, it was brought to my attention that this year was historical for one club based out of Washington. Northwest Blazers director Steve Klees was quoted in 2014 saying, ““Numbers are nice, when it comes to rankings and scholarships. But what really matters is winning. We play to win regardless of who we are playing.” Steve Klees’ NW Blazers club has a rich tradition of winning that includes 7 National Championships and 5 National runner ups at various levels, including AAU and adidas Nationals. In a day and age where social media and rankings promote the highest scorers and fanciest ball handling, the Blazers have always placed an emphasis on trying to win basketball games in its purest form. In the 2019 WIAA Hardwood Classic, the girls that represented the Blazers did a fine job of doing just that; winning.
In the 4A title game, multiple blazers squared off between Eastlake and Lewis and Clark High School. 2020 6’3 P Keeli Burton (Eastlake HS, Arizona State Commit) was named state MVP, with Eastlake taking home the gold ball. 2019 6’0 SF Jacinta Buckley (Lewis and Clark HS, UNLV signee) was also named first team all state after grabbing 18 rebounds in the championship game.
In the 3A title game, runner up Mt. Spokane featured a bevy of Blazers and two girls from the same team would go on to make first team all state including 2019 5’8 G Aspyn Adams (LMU signee). Third place Kamiakin also had a blazer that made 2nd team all state.
2A girls was also represented by another first team all state player of Clarkston High School and she was the leading scorer at 25 points per game in the tournament. Clarkston would go on to place third in 2A.
The 2B championship game between Tri-Cities Prep and Liberty featured a Blazer on each team. One happened to be the 2B State MVP and the other was the runner up for MVP and first team all state in her own right.
The 1A top three teams ended with 1) La Salle, 2) Lynden Christian, and 3) Cashmere. Every single one of the top three 1A schools had a Blazer, or multiple on their roster. In total, there were 8 returning Blazers between those three teams.
Finally, in the 1B class, 2020 6’0 P Maddy Dixon represented the Blazers in the state final for Pomeroy High School. The junior captain made 2nd team all state in her class.
In total, 8 Blazers would make first team all state and multiple were voted onto 2nd team all state as well. Just under two dozen Blazers, not including girls who had previously played in the program, played in a state championship on Saturday. With spring/summer travel ball right around the corner, many of these girls will be in the hunt for another National Championship! “That’s what it’s all about. Winning.”