The Way Too Early All Area Basketball Teams
By Matt Baide
The basketball season is in full force, with local teams playing through their league schedules to figure out seeding for the district tournament, which is shaping up to be an interesting February in Lewis County.
I covered Ron Brown night last Saturday in Centralia, and to be honest, I didn’t know who Brown was before I got here. I knew who Detlef Schrempf was, but that’s because he played for the Sonics (BRING THEM BACK!).
Last year was my first full year covering basketball in Lewis County, and I interacted with Brown a few times, mainly on phone calls with him calling in the score from the Centralia game before he retired midway through the season.
I met Brown face-to-face for the first time on Saturday, right after the halftime ceremony for a quick interview for my story, and I can see now in person why everyone loves Ron so much. During his speech at the presentation, Brown said, “Nobody ever talks about my defeats and I’m so appreciative of that. Because I think I hold the state record for that.”
Today, many people in sports, including myself, use numbers as an indication of how good someone is, and often times it is a solid measurement for how good someone is at a certain sport. My philosophy regarding stats is: Numbers never lie, but they may not tell the whole story. Brown has lots of wins, losses, league titles, state appearances and two state championships. But that doesn’t tell you how many students, athletes, coaches and others Brown had an impact on, both on and off the court. And after covering his night and hearing about the many accomplishments he’s had in 58 years on the bench (including not one technical foul, has anyone ever seen Ron mad?), he’s earned a spot, in my book, as one of the greatest coaches of all time in any sport at any level. And now that he’s retired, I asked him if he had any hobbies or things he wanted to do with his time.
“I have no plans,” he said. “Get my couch with my blankey over me, I think, is probably what I’ll do.”
You’ve earned it, Ron. Netflix has a lot of original programming to watch now (No, I haven’t seen Black Mirror yet, thanks for asking).
Now, to the business at hand, the unbelievably ridiculously premature All-Area Basketball Teams. I wrote this story last year and figured it had enough readers (one is all I really need besides me) for another round this year.
Please note, this is purely my opinion based on what I’ve seen and what coaches have reported to me when calling in their games, gathering up all the data and knowledge to asses who I would pick if I were building a team from our coverage area.
For the boys:
Cody Young, Adna
Reece Wallace, Toledo
Jordan Thomas, W.F. West
Tyler Ashmore, Centralia
Matt Poquette, Morton-White Pass
Looking at this team, it’s pretty solid. Young and Wallace at the 1 and 2 is like having, I don’t know, Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum in your back court. That would be crazy if a team had both of those guys on one team. I’d have Thomas at the 3 for his versatility and his ability to get to the basket. Ashmore would be my spot up shooter and someone I want in a pick-and-roll situation with Reece where he pops out for an open shot off the screen. And Poquette is the only person I’ve seen dunk, so he gets an automatic spot on the list. Oh, and he’s also really good.
Jordan Purvis, Napavine
Ben Janssan, Centralia
Peyton Stanley, Napavine
Junior Arroyo, Toledo
Bailey Cooper, W.F. West
This is another quality team. Purvis and Janssan would work well off each other at the 1-2 spots. Stanley at the 3 spot would be my spot up Peja Stojakovic/Klay Thompson catch and shoot man. Arroyo and Cooper at the 4 and the 5 would be some old school Tim Duncan-David Robinson basketball.
For the girls team:
Kiara Steen, W.F. West
Julia Johnson, W.F. West
Mollie Olson, Napavine
Melissa Lee, Napavine
Erika Brumfield, W.F. West
This would be a tough team for any county in the state to match up with. Steen and Johnson have more steals than an Ocean’s 11 movie and both can shoot from outside as well as drive the lane and get to the basket. Before Landram even calls in, I already assume that Olson and Lee scored at least 20 points in whatever game they’re playing, but take Landram’s advice on the over/under lines with caution (“Bet the over guys,” as Olson and Lee are out in the third quarter). Brumfield has expanded her game and she can shoot from anywhere as well as get to the rim.
Ellie Corwin, Centralia
Lainee Grose, Mossyrock
Payton Aselton, Adna
Kal Schaplow, Toledo
Kaylee Schow, Tenino
It would be tough to figure out who the point guard of this team would be, although I would probably go with Aselton since I’ve seen her run the point for Adna this season and does a good job. Kal Schaplow is quietly having a quality season for the Indians and is consistently their top scorer. The same can be said for Kaylee Schow, who has been putting up at least 20 per game in most cases. Lainee Grose is a go-to player for the Vikings this season with a wealth of veterans, and Corwin is a double-double machine with the likes of Karl Anthony-Towns.
Any beefs or snubs with this list can be directed at me on Twitter.