Former Local Athletes Balling on the College Hardwood
By Matt Baide
The holiday season is a time of reflection. Looking back at some of the past high school athletes from previous basketball seasons, there have been plenty of former local ballers that have moved on up and been performing well on the college stage.
Here’s a glance at what some former Lewis County basketball players have been accomplishing this season:
Nike McClure, University of New Mexico
Following the departure of head women’s basketball coach June Daugherty from Washington State University, McClure took her talents to Albuquerque to play for the Lobos.
As a graduate transfer, McClure was able to play right away and has had quite an impact on the court. She has started all 11 games for the Lobos and averages 3.5 points per game and seven rebounds per game.
McClure was best known as a rim protector at WSU and that is no different in New Mexico, with McClure averaging three blocks per game, including a season-high nine blocks to go along with 10 rebounds in a 84-80 win over Oklahoma on Nov. 28.
McClure, a former state champion at W.F. West, helped New Mexico earn two wins in the Lobo Invitational just before the winter break. The Lobos are back on the court on Saturday against Long Beach State in Long Beach, Calif.
Madison Crews, Eastern Oregon University
Crews played two seasons at Lower Columbia before signing to play for Eastern Oregon. The Mountaineers are on a 10-game win streak and are 10-2 overall and 5-0 in conference games to lead the Cascade Collegiate Conference.
Some of that success must be attributed to Crews, who has played in all 12 games and started 11 of those games.
In the first game of the season, Crews scored 10 points to vault herself into the starting lineup. The Centralia alum scored a career high 23 points while converting 5 of 8 shots from behind the arc and a perfect 6 for 6 from the charity stripe in a 78-66 win over Paul Quinn (Texas).
Crews played 31 minutes and scored nine points in a win over Melissa Lee’s Oregon Tech team on Dec. 1 in La Grande. EOU is back on the court on Saturday at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon.
Melissa Lee, Oregon Institute of Technology
After helping lead Napavine to the state tournament once again last year, Lee took her talents to Oregon Tech in Klamath Falls.
Lee has played in every game for the Owls and averages 6.2 points per game and 3.9 rebounds per game. She scored a career-high 12 points in a loss against UC Merced, including making 6 of 9 free throws in the game. She grabbed eight rebounds and added four assists in a 88-53 win over Evergreen State on Dec. 14.
Oregon Tech is currently fourth in the Cascade Collegiate Conference with a 9-5 overall record and a 3-1 record in conference.
Lee scored five points and had six rebounds in a loss to Crews and Eastern Oregon. EOU and Oregon Tech meet again on Feb. 15 in the second to last game of the regular season. Oregon Tech plays next on Saturday against Multnomah in Portland.
Mollie Olson, Western Washington University
Olson was also a big piece of the Napavine Tigers basketball team from 2015-2018 along with Lee, helping lead the Tigers to a second place finish in 2016.
After a tough decision, Olson signed with the Vikings in Bellingham. Olson has played in all 10 games this season, averaging 7.3 minutes per game and 1.2 points per game. She played a career-high 18 minutes and scored five points in a 77-60 win over Stanislaus State on Dec. 18.
Western is 7-3 overall and 2-0 in conference games and is second in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference standings. WWU is off until Jan. 3, taking on the University of Alaska in Fairbanks.
Alyx Fast, Northwest University
Fast transferred from Minot State University and has carved out a role for herselt with Northwest University. The Centralia alum has started in all 14 games she’s played in this season, averaging 6.6 points per game and 3.1 rebounds per game. She scored a season high 15 points against Evergreen State on Dec. 19 and had a season high seven rebounds against Northwest Christian.
The Eagles are 5-12 overall this season and 2-5 in the Cascade Collegiate Conference.
Shanay Dotson, Northwest Christian University
After two years at Lower Columbia College, Dotson moved to Eugene to play at Northwest Christian University. The Adna alum has started all 16 games she’s played in, scoring in double figures in seven of those games. She had a season-high 21 points against Eastern Oregon and had a double-double with 15 points and 15 rebounds against Walla Walla.
Northwest Christian is 6-10 overall and 3-4 in the Cascade Collegiate Conference and currently in eighth in the conference.
Kiara Steen, Wenatchee Valley College
Steen captured the 2A state title with the Lady Bearcats last season and has moved east of the mountains to play college basketball at Wenatchee Valley College this season.
Steen has started in all eight games she’s played in, averaging 29 minutes per game and 8.4 points per game. She also averages four assists and 2.5 steals per game.
The former W.F. West guard scored a career high 16 points against Bellevue and also scored 14 points in a game against Clark.
The Knights are currently 9-2 this season and sitting in third place in the East Division. Wenatchee Valley is back on the court on Friday against Douglas College from British Columbia, Canada and has a quick turnaround, facing Peninsula on Saturday in Wenatchee.
Shasta Lofgren, Kenya Lorton, Lower Columbia College
Two former local ballers have been tearing it up in Longview this season. Kenya Lorton is in her sophomore year as a Red Devil and is making the most of it, averaging 16.2 points per game, the most on the team. The Adna alum has started all 11 games this season and also averages 7.9 rebounds per game and 2.1 assists per game.
Lofgren, a 2017 W.F. West alum, has also been a big piece for Lower Columbia this season. She averages 12.6 points per game and 7.7 rebounds per game. She has also started all 11 games for the Red Devils.
The Red Devils are 6-6 this season and will host Centralia on Jan. 12 before coming to the Hub City on Feb. 9. Lower Columbia is back on the court on Thursday against Portland in the Lower Columbia Holiday Classic.
Devanie Kleemeyer, Rachel Wilkerson, Becca Snaza, Isabella Elwood, Centralia College
The Lady Blazers have a handful of former local high school stars playing for the blue and gold.
Kleemeyer and Elwood are both sophomores and Adna alums. Kleemeyer has played in just three games this season, but averages 6.7 points per game. Elwood has started all 11 games this season and averages 6.1 points per game and 4.2 rebounds per game.
After wrapping up the volleyball season for Centralia, Wilkerson is still occupying Michael Smith Gymnasium in a different Blazers’ jersey. The Centralia alum has averaged 6.5 points per game and has played in all 11 games this season.
Becca Snaza was a key member of the Napavine Tigers along with Lee and Olson the last four seasons, but now wears the Blazers logo on her jersey. Snaza averages 2.7 points per game and 17 minutes per game while playing in all 11 games.
Centralia is right behind Lower Columbia in third place in the West Division at 5-6. Centralia faces North Idaho on Thursday before opening up West Division play on Jan. 9 at home against Grays Harbor.
Jordan Thomas, Pacific Lutheran University
Thomas was helping the Bearcats make a cinderella run in the State 2A Tournament last year en route to a second place finish.
After graduating in June, Thomas is back on the court for the Lutes and making an impact right away. He has started in all seven games he’s played in and averages 8.6 points per game and has played at least 20 minutes in six of seven games.
He scored a career high 12 points in a loss against Northwest Christian and grabbed a career high 12 rebounds in a loss against SUNY-Old Westbury.
PLU is currently 3-4 this season and 1-1 in Northwest Conference games. The Lutes are back on the court on Friday against Chapman University in Orange, Calif.
Matt Poquette, Central Washington University
Poquette was named The Chronicle’s 2018 All-Area boys basketball player of the year after leading Morton-White Pass to the state tournament.
Now in Ellensburg, he is a key player coming off the bench for the Wildcats. Poquette has played in all 10 games this season, averaging 9.2 points per game and 3.4 rebounds per game. He scored a career high 13 points in two games, against Westminster and Evergreen State and played a season high 32 minutes against Westminster. Poquette has grabbed five rebounds in three different games.
Poquette also scored 12 points in an exhibition game against Gonzaga and started an exhibition game against Boise State, playing 17 minutes and recording five rebounds and four points.
The Wildcats are 6-4 overall and 0-2 in Great Northwest Athletic Conference games so far this season. Central Washington is back on the court on New Year’s Day against Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho.
Zach Walton, Drexel University
After two years at Edmonds Community College, Walton signed to play with Drexel University in Philadelphia.
Walton has played in seven games for the Dragons, averaging 9.6 points per game, 4.6 rebounds per game and 2.1 assists per game. Walton started four of those seven games and scored a career-high 15 points in a 118-41 win against Bryn Athyn.
Drexel is 6-7 this season and currently sits in sixth in the Colonial Athletic Association. The Dragons are back in action on Friday against Northeastern in Boston.
Jaron Kirkley, Whitman College
Kirkley is in his junior season at Whitman College in Walla Walla. The Mossyrock alum has played in six games this season, averaging 4.2 points per game and 1.7 rebounds per game. He scored a season high eight points and four assists in a 97-61 win over Sul Ross State out of Texas.
Kirkley led the Vikings to a second place finish in the state tournament in 2016.
Whitman is currently 8-1 overall and 2-0 in Northwest Conference games, tied for the lead in the conference. The Blues are back on the court on Friday and Saturday at the Cal Lu Tournament in Thousand Oaks, Calif., facing Illinois Wesleyan University on Friday and California Lutheran University on Saturday.
Hodges Bailey, The Master’s University
The Centralia alum played in 10 games this season for The Master’s University in Santa Clarita, California. Bailey averaged 11.4 points per game and 2.1 rebounds per game. Bailey is still on the team but is in the process of transferring to Lewis and Clark State College in Lewiston.
Reece Wallace, Wenatchee Valley College
Wallace helped lead Toledo to the state tournament last season and was on the All-Area boys basketball team for the second season in a row. Now, Wallace finds himself in North Central Washington at Wenatchee Valley College.
In his freshman season, Wallace has played in all 11 games this season while starting in six games. He averages 5.5 points per game and 17.2 minutes per game.
He scored 10 points in the opening game against Tohono O’odham and scored nine points in each game against Fairchild Air Force Base. Wallace added six points in the Knight’s most recent game against Linn-Benton.
Wenatchee Valley is 8-3 this season and sits in fourth place in the East Division. The Knights are off until they begin East Division games on Jan. 2 at home against Columbia Basin.
Jordan Purvis, Highline College
After a three sport career at Napavine, Purvis found his sport in basketball at Highline. He’s having a solid season so far, starting eight of 11 games played while averaging 5.5 points per game in 16.1 minutes per game.
Purvis had 12 points and six assists in a 98-91 win over Bellevue and recorded 11 points in a loss against Big Bend. He dished four assists in a 92-87 win against Walla Walla.
The Hawks are 9-3 this season and in third place in the West Division. The Hawks play next at home on Saturday against Skagit Valley and Purvis will return to Lewis County on Jan. 30 to face Centralia.
Cody Young, Lower Columbia College
Young was the star player for the Adna Pirates last season and earned himself a scholarship to Lower Columbia.
He has played in all 12 games this season, averaging 2.4 points per game in his 11.4 minutes per game average. Young scored 12 points in the opening game against Blue Mountain and tallied five assists in a 77-62 win over Portland earlier this month.
Adna finished fifth in the state last season and Young was named to The Chronicle’s 2018 All-Area basketball team.
The Red Devils are 9-3 this season and in second place in the West Division. Lower Columbia takes on Umpqua on the road on Saturday. Young will come back to Lewis County to face the Blazers on Feb. 9.
Peyton Stanley, Tyler Ashmore, Centralia College
Two former high school stars are currently lighting up the scoreboard for Centralia College. Peyton Stanley has played in all 10 games this season, starting in six of those games while averaging 6.2 points per game in 15.5 minutes per game. The former Napavine Tiger is shooting 31 percent from the field and from behind the arc.
Stanley scored a season high 11 points in an 89-74 win against Olympic on Dec. 19.
Ashmore has played in nine games and started five of them, averaging 8.2 points per game while playing 18.6 minutes per game. Ashmore is shooting 53 percent from the field and grabs an average of 3.2 rebounds per game.
The former Centralia Tiger scored 37 points in a 105-89 win over Yakima Valley on Nov. 25 and tallied 11 points in a 92-80 win over Edmonds on Dec. 9.
Centralia is 7-3 this season and in fourth place in the West Division. The Blazers face Walla Walla on Friday at noon in the CCC Holiday Showcase before heading back to Michael Smith Gymnasium to take on Whatcom on Jan. 3.