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The Way Too Early All-Area Basketball Teams

These choices cannot be serious...?

These choices cannot be serious…?

By Matt Baide
mbaide@chronline.com
There are some things that shouldn’t be left to a fan vote, like what flavor of ice cream is the best (it’s obviously mint chocolate chip) or what was the best videogame of 2016 (it was Inside, nerd alert here).
The NBA All-Star starters were announced last week, and the notable talking point for many people was Oklahoma City (Seattle Supersonics, yes, I’m still sad about it) guard Russell Westbrook being left out, with Steph Curry and James Harden earning the two starting guard sports. Westbrook is averaging a triple-double, and he’s first in the league in scoring and second in assists. Seems like a pretty solid candidate to be starter in my book, but due to how the all-star starters are selected, which is based off of 50 percent fan vote, 25 percent players and 25 percent media input, the fan vote allowed Curry to earn the starting spot. Is it fair? No. But does it really matter in the end? No. As Westbrook stated when asked about it, “I don’t play for all-star bids, I play to win championships.” If the man himself isn’t too upset about being snubbed, then that is good enough for me.
The high school basketball season just hit the end of the third quarter, and the fourth quarter (plus overtime) is upon us starting this week. Since we have a pretty good sample size of games to draw from, I decided to create my Way-Too-Early All Area Basketball teams. This is my opinion based on games I’ve seen this season and reported stats from coaches throughout the season. There’s still plenty of games to be played and district and state champions to be crowned, so this is my list as of Jan. 22.

Triple team? Seems a bit much...

Triple team? Seems a bit much…

Boys Basketball
All-Area First Team
Matt Poquette, Morton-White Pass
Wyatt Stanley, Napavine
Hodges Bailey, Centralia
Tanner Rigdon, Adna
Jordan Thomas, Centralia

Poquette and Stanley are both double-double average guys, so they make the list no problem. Bailey is consistent, getting his points, sharing the ball and doing what his team needs to help him win. Rigdon is a quality player with a great offensive skills and has the ability to take over a game in the fourth quarter. And Thomas showed how valuable he is to the Tigers when Centralia was without him for a few games. Thomas is the best defender I’ve seen in the area.

Somebody better call a Swat team...

Somebody better call a Swat team…

All-Area Second Team
Evan Gootgeld, Mossyrock
Alex Frazier, Onalaska
Joe Wallace, Toledo
Reece Wallace, Toledo
Brandon White, W.F. West

Images from Mossyrock's 48-45 win over Evergreen Lutheran in a nonleague boys basketball game on Monday, Jan. 16, 2017.

The name is Gootgeld, Evan Gootgeld.

Gootgeld has emerged this season as a diaper dandy (I didn’t come up with that, you can tweet at Dick Vitale about that), and has really stepped up with some key players for the Vikings being out for most of the season. I’ve only seen Frazier play once, but he has potential to develop into one of the best players in the C2BL if he improves his game throughout his high school career. Joe and Reece Wallace are the scoring bros (similar to Mario bros, but not Italian plumbers) for Toledo, and Brandon White has the ability to score inside and out with is height and athleticism.

Toledo's Joe Wallace dunks the ball during a Central 2B League basketball game against Mossyrock in Toledo on Tuesday.

Can I dunk it? Yes you can…

Girls Basketball
All-Area First Team
Shasta Lofgren, W.F. West
Kenya Lorton, Adna
Melissa Lee, Napavine
Ellie Corwin, Centralia
Devanie Kleemeyer, Adna

Napavine's Melissa Lee shoots while contested by Wilson's Brooklyn Grant (4) and Josie Matz during the Tiger Town Christmas Shootout Tournament on Tuesday in Napavine.

Two defenders? No problem.

Lofgren has good ball skills on offense and is one of many Bearcat ladies that can get in your head and keep stealing the ball from you with the W.F. West full court press. Kenya Lorton is easily top 3 point guards in the C2BL, and teammate Kleemeyer can score from anywhere on the floor and can play physical defense when called upon, most notably when I saw her guard Payton Souvenir and give her fits. Melissa Lee is the Anthony Davis of her team with her ability to score a bunch of points, grab a bunch of rebounds, and play point guard or center if needed. Corwin has emerged as a force down low for the Tigers, and is a regular double-double stat sheet player.

W.F. West's Shasta Lofgren goes up for a layup against King's during the Tiger Town Christmas Shootout Tournament on Tuesday in Napavine.

Easy buckets.

All-Area Second Team
Paige Winter, Rochester
Kiara Steen, W.F. West
Julia Johnson, W.F. West
Anna Tauscher, Toledo
Mollie Olson, Napavine

W.F. West's Julia Johnson (left) swats the ball away from Centralia's Rachel Wilkerson next to W.F. West's Kiara Steen during an Evergreen 2A Conference girls basketball game on Friday in Centralia.

I’ll take it from here.

This was the hardest list to put together with lot of worthy players deserving of being on the second team. Winter is the stat leader for Rochester and a double-double regular. Steen and Johnson, along with Lofgren, are the James, Love, Irving of Lewis County (I’ll let you ladies hash out who is who). The first game I covered when I started was a district playoff game between Toledo and Ocosta (which I now spell correctly all the time), and she led the Indians to the win then, and still does it this season. And Mollie Olson continues to play at a high level, even after dealing with an injury throughout the season.

Tenino's Emma Homann puts up a shot contested by Rochester's Paige Winter (24) during a nonleague basketball game at Tenino on Thursday.

Blocked.

Choosing these teams wasn’t easy, and there are still some teams I haven’t seen play yet. As we come down the home stretch of the season, we’ll see how the All-Area teams shake out. But if the first three quarters are any indication, the fourth quarter and playoff push should be fun to watch.

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