Each spring Tacoma Weekly looks back at the accomplishments on the court for the high-school basketball teams in the city after the conclusion of the season. After careful consideration, we present our all-city teams for boys and girls hoopsters, along with our selections for coaches of the year.
All-city girls team
The 2011 girls squad is headed by Sarah Hartwell, the all-everything player for coach Kevin Meines at Bellarmine. I mean everything. She ran the point for the Lions, hurt opponents from beyond the arc, and posted up in the paint to lead Bellarmine to an undefeated Narrows League 4A season at 14-0 and a fourth consecutive trip to state. With all of these abilities, she also found time to average 16 points a game. She is our most valuable player of the all city team for 2011. Next fall Hartwell will head to Cincinnati to attend college and play for the Xavier Musketeers of Conference USA.
Simonne Potts, Hartwell’s teammate at Bellarmine, was a terror in the paint for the Lions averaging 12 points a game. She took some of the scoring load off of Hartwell in the process. The senior forward was also very versatile as she can handle the ball well against a full-court trap.
Youth will be served on this team. Sophomores Kaysha Fox and Tia Briggs, both from Wilson, were important pieces in the Rams’ trip to the West Central District, finishing one game away from state. Fox has a great ability to find the open player or bury a three pointer when the Rams need it most. Her 11 points a game helps lead a talented group of under-classmen that should propel Wilson to a state berth next year and beyond. Briggs gives the Rams plenty of scoring and rebounding in the low post, averaging 11 points per game, and she was very instrumental in getting Wilson to within one game of Tacoma Dome this year.
Rounding out the all city team is Mount Tahoma senior Deborah Anderson, who kept the Thunderbirds in almost every game they played while pouring in an average of 31 points per game, and could beat opponents off the dribble by getting to the hoop.
Our coach of the year is Meines from Bellarmine, whose impressive resume was only enhanced with his fourth consecutive time placing at state with an awarding of a tournament trophy. (The last three times the awarding was for places one through eight, while this year with the tournament revisions, it was for places one through six). With several prominent girls back for next year, the future looks great for the Lions.
All-city boys team
The boys team is headed up by two-time Narrows league MVP Jordan Russell of the Lincoln Abes, whose 12 points per game does not tell the whole story of this guard’s complete game abilities on both ends of the court. The senior helped lead the Abes to two consecutive Narrows League and West Central District titles and is the unanimous choice for the Tacoma Weekly most valuable player for the 2010-11 season. Russell can break down defenses on the offensive end and set up teammates for easy hoops or score himself in the paint. He also can knock down three pointers when the Abes are in need of them late in the game. “Unselfish” is the one word coach Aubrey Shelton uses to describe this multi-talented guard.
Donald Gaddy from Bellarmine is another multi-talented guard who can beat you with either hand while driving the lane or can deliver the dagger with a key three pointer down the stretch. His presence on the court this year was the biggest reason the Lions went as far as they did before being eliminated by the Kentridge Chargers, two games away from a trip to Tacoma Dome.
Under-classmen are also a part of the boys team. Sophomore Dezmyn Trent gave the Foss Falcons a major presence both on the perimeter and from the inside, averaging 16 points per game. The Lincoln transfer carried Foss on his back and all the way to the state regional’s, were they fell to Chief Sealth from West Seattle, two games short of the state quarterfinals at the Dome.
Wilson junior point guard Phoenix Waters was the best pure point guard in the city while running an offense that was devoid of any starter from last year’s team, which finished sixth at state. He was adept at penetrating the lane and kicking it out to either Deondre Martin or Kevin Johnson as they buried many a three for the Rams.
Xavier Bazile was simply amazing for Mount Tahoma with his ability to score from anywhere on the court, literally. The University of Idaho commit has such a well rounded game that opponents rarely strayed from their double-teaming of him.
Our choice for coach of the year is Lincoln’s Aubrey Shelton from Lincoln, as he guided his Abes to two consecutive Narrows League and West Central District titles. His steady hand at guiding this very deep team and his past experience as a player on Tim Kelly’s 2001 state champion Abes says a lot about Shelton’s success.