Its 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.
Ive learned to let it go, I guess, said Hodgins, the Tri-City Heralds girls basketball player of the year. You cant 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 Richlands 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 didnt 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 couldnt 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.
Im a big sports fan, so I hate to use the term best ever because other teams dont play each other, Puente said at the state tournament. But record-wise we are. Place we are. Well hang our hat on that for awhile.
Because of Sunnysides tremendous season, Puente is the Heralds 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.
Toures 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 Im able to play at the next level, because I worked really hard to get where Im 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 MCCs MVP award and defensive player of the year award.
Player of the year: Delaney Hodgins, senior, guard, Chiawana
Coach of the year: Rick Puente, Sunnyside
Sira Toure, senior, guard, Kamiakin
Colette Gall, senior, post, Hanford
Mikayla Ferenz, junior, guard, Walla Walla
Jordan Rodriguez, junior, guard, Sunnyside
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
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; firstname.lastname@example.org