Basketball: Delaney Hodgins tops area girls

March 25, 2014 

It’s been nearly a month since the season ended for the Chiawana girls basketball team.

Even with that separation, you can still hear a twinge of regret in Delaney Hodgins’ voice when you ask her about it.

The Riverhawks star may not have gotten to play in the state tournament as a senior, but she still put together a phenomenal season to cap a tremendous career.

“I’ve learned to let it go, I guess,” said Hodgins, the Tri-City Herald’s girls basketball player of the year. “You can’t always play your best game, and it just happened to be our last one.”

The Riverhawks (19-5) lost 65-55 to Kentwood in a Class 4A regional playoff game, ending Hodgins’ career in Richland’s Dawald Gym rather than in the Tacoma Dome.

“I felt like it was a really good season overall,” she said. “We had a really good team bond. We came together at the end, it just didn’t go the way we wanted it to.”

Hodgins helped Chiawana win the Mid-Columbia Conference title for a fifth time, and then the Riverhawks won the District 5 title as well. But they couldn’t get over that final hump into the state tournament.

The only area big school to advance to the state tournament was Sunnyside, which finished fourth in Class 3A. The finish was the best in program history, as the Grizzlies also won the most games in a season in program history.

“I’m a big sports fan, so I hate to use the term ‘best ever’ because other teams don’t play each other,” Puente said at the state tournament. “But record-wise we are. Place we are. We’ll hang our hat on that for awhile.”

Because of Sunnyside’s tremendous season, Puente is the Herald’s girls basketball coach of the year.

Joining Hodgins on the first team are Walla Walla junior Mikayla Ferenz, Hanford senior Colette Gall, Kamiakin senior Sira Toure and Sunnyside junior Jordan Rodriguez.

Gall became the all-time scoring leader at Hanford this year and took the Falcons to within two wins of the state tournament. She will play at NCAA Division II Northwest Nazarene in Idaho in the fall.

Toure’s career came to a surprising end in the Class 3A regional round, ending a run of three consecutive trips to Tacoma for the Braves. She will play at NCAA Division I Weber State in Utah in the fall.

Rodriguez led the Grizzlies to their state berth and crossed the 1,000-point mark while in Tacoma, helping earn her all-state tournament honors.

Ferenz continued her stellar improvement as a basketball player, adding strong defense to an already solid offensive base. She is getting interest from a variety of Northwest colleges already.

Hodgins will play at NCAA Division I Eastern Washington in the fall, following older sister Hayley Hodgins to Cheney.

“I feel like I grew as a player from freshman to senior year a lot,” Delaney Hodgins said. “That is the reason I’m able to play at the next level, because I worked really hard to get where I’m at right now.”

Hodgins went from being a tall, skinny wing who could score, and transformed into the best all-around player in the Mid-Columbia Conference. She added stellar defense to her resume this season, winning the MCC’s MVP award and defensive player of the year award.

Superlatives

Player of the year: Delaney Hodgins, senior, guard, Chiawana

Coach of the year: Rick Puente, Sunnyside

First team

Hodgins

Sira Toure, senior, guard, Kamiakin

Colette Gall, senior, post, Hanford

Mikayla Ferenz, junior, guard, Walla Walla

Jordan Rodriguez, junior, guard, Sunnyside

Second team

Braydey Hodgins, sophomore, guard, Chiawana

Madi Doepker, junior, post, Walla Walla

Holly Ellison, junior, guard, Kamiakin

Natalia Bazan, junior, forward, Sunnyside

Alyssa Nash, senior, guard, Mabton

Honorable mention

Emilee Maldonado, freshman, guard, Sunnyside

Amanda Miller, senior, post, Kamiakin

Kate Ferenz, junior, forward, Walla Walla

Kennedy Corrigan, senior, guard, Richland

Julie Mosqueda, senior, guard, Columbia (Burbank)

w Craig Craker: 582-1509; ccraker@tricityherald.com

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