SPOKANE — Two players from Cashmere and one from Chelan are participating in the 2019 Washington/North Idaho All-State Girls’ Basketball games on Saturday in Spokane.
Grace Erdmann, a 6-foot junior forward from Cashmere is playing along with teammate 5-foot-4 junior guard Grace Hammond. Hailee Huddleston, a 5-foot-5 sophomore guard from Chelan is also playing.
The girls are playing on the East 1A team coached by Kyle Lundberg of Medical Lake. The West 1A team is coached by Lisa Johnson of Elma. Players on the East 1A team come from Cashmere, Chelan, Omak, Colville, Warden, Connell, Royal, Cle Elum, Freeman, Medical Lake and College Place.
The West 1A team is made up of players from Vashon Island, Elma, Chimacum, King’s Way, Stevenson, and Port Townsend.
“I think it is great because it gives them some recognition, which is really good, both individually and for our program. Grace and Grace are both very deserving of that. There is good competition in the game and you are seeing girls you never get to play against that are just as talented as you,” said Cashmere Girls Head Coach Brent Darnell.
Darnell said it is a win-win for those girls in the program.
“Usually at those games, you get some college exposure who are watching and maybe turn the eye of a recruiter. That may help them get a look from a school where a coach might be interested. That is always a plus for the kids. I am excited for them,” Darnell said.
A number of Cashmere girls have been selected to play in the tournament over the years, Lauren and Abby Johnson, Breanne and Cami Knishka.
“There have been a lot of good ones that have played in that game. I think they go through and select kids that are all-league in their respective leagues. They have a coaches panel that votes on the kids,” he said.
At Cashmere, it’s easy for players to get overlooked because they play with Hailey Van Lith, one of the best players in the country. Darnell said it is great for Hammond and Erdmann to get some recognition because they are both great players.
“Hailey obviously does her thing and is well deserving of everything she gets but there are also some great players around who are sometimes unnoticed. I was really proud of Grace and Grace to get that,” Darnell said.
Certainly playing against the higher level competition is a big benefit. Darnell wishes they could do it every weekend.
“They are going to see a different speed and different talent than they see in our league. It’s kinda like a state tournament game because everybody is really talented. There are a lot of future college kids out there. It’s really good for them,” he said.
The 23rd annual Washington/North Idaho All-State Basketball games are Saturday at the HUB Sports Center in Spokane.
The first game is B/East versus B/West. The second game is 1A/East versus 1A/West. The third game is 2A/3A/East versus 2A/3A/West.