Since Cheryl Holden has been the Columbia Basin College women’s basketball coach since 2001, she has presided over her share of Media Classics.
That means she has more than a few amusing stories about the players who have come through the annual battle between players from the Tri-City Herald readership and players from the Yakima Herald-Republic readership.
That battle will continue for the 20th time today at Pasco High School. The girls game begins at 2 p.m., followed by the boys game at 4:30 p.m. Admission to the event is $5, and children 5 and under are free. Proceeds for the event will be split between the Boys and Girls Club of Benton and Franklin County as well as the YMCA of Greater Tri-Cities.
One of Holden’s memories involves Shoni Schimmel, the former Hermiston star who now leads the 16th-ranked Louisville Cardinals.
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“Shoni had just finished her freshman year (at Hermiston), and I remember how she played schoolyard ball so well. I also remember her firing up a 3 the first time she touched the ball,” Holden said. “I looked at one of my (CBC) players, who was helping me coach the team, and I told her, ‘You might want to tell (Schimmel) if she wants to play the rest of the time, she might want to share the ball.’ ”
Holden laughed at the memory, but she and Rolando Garcia — the CBC men’s coach who will guide the Tri-City side — both know that any of the players from both sides could fill up the stat sheet in the Media Classic.
“I’m not going to lie to you. I’m still thinking, ‘Who am I going to start?’ ” Garcia said. “When you bring in that second and third team, you don’t lose much at all. When you think about it, every kid could be in that first five.”
The Yakima teams will no doubt be looking for some payback after being swept the last two seasons. The Yakima boys lead the overall series 18-5, but Tri-Cities has posted back-to-back wins for the first time in series history.
Joe Douglas scored 17 points to lead Tri-Cities to an 82-80 win in Yakima last year. The Hanford senior will return to anchor this year’s Tri-Cities squad to a possible third consecutive win.
“It means a lot to represent the Tri-Cities and show how much talent we have,” said Douglas, who averaged 19 points and over nine rebounds for the Falcons this year. “Last year was pretty light-hearted at first, but by the third quarter, it was pretty intense.”
The Tri-Cities girls are looking to extend a five-game winning streak. They lead the overall series 15-8.
Holden said there is a tendency for guards to get most of the touches in such a fast-paced environment. But she warned her guards not to ignore their bigs.
“I told them to let the post touch the ball every once in a while so they’ll rebound for you,” Holden said. “I just gave them some guidance. We don’t put in any plays. We run a motion offense — pass and screen away, and move without the ball.”
Delaney Hodgins, a Chiawana junior, scored seven points for Tri-Cities last year in a 103-87 win over Yakima. She said some players look for the hot hand while others may want to become the hot hand.
“It’s both. Some players feel they can do it by themselves. I’m just going to give (the ball) up,” Hodgins said. “I think it’s all just for fun. We just need to try and win.”
Kennedy Corrigan, Richland; Madi Doepker, Walla Walla; Kody Easterday, Connell; Mikayla Ferenz, Walla Walla; Colette Gall, Hanford; Bianca Gonzales, Chiawana; Delaney Hodgins, Chiawana; Harley McBride, Columbia-Burbank; Courtney Nelson, Kamiakin; Britney Pringle, Richland; Melissa Rodriguez, Pasco; Lindsey Schauble, Kamiakin; Bailey Schroeder, Kiona-Benton; Panisesi Taimani, Kennewick; Sira Toure, Kamiakin.
Coach — Cheryl Holden, CBC.
Vanessa Alvarez, Sunnyside; Marissa Caballero, Grandview; Briana Cordova, Wapato; Darian Gasseling, Wapato; Alexis Gratton, Davis; Ashley Gray, West Valley-Yakima; Cierra Juarez, Davis; Sydney Mercer, Prosser; Lyndsay Oswalt, Granger; Payton Parrish, Grandview; Alexis Perez, Davis; Jordan Rodriguez, Sunnyside; Stormee Van Belle, Sunnyside Christian; Monica Villegas, Zillah; Kailee Wood, Selah.
Coach — Greg Oldham, YVC.
Cristian Aguilar, Kiona-Benton; Terran Brown, River View; Cooper Clyde, Kamiakin; Joe Douglas, Hanford; Julian Figueroa, Pasco; Wesley Henderson, Chiawana; Mason Hilty, Richland; Austin Molt, Southridge; Mitchel Mueller, Kennewick; Mick Phelps, Kiona-Benton; Payton Radliff, Richland; Kylle Robertson, Kamiakin; Chris Ryckman, Columbia-Burbank; Nate Streufert, Richland; Jalen Watson, Hanford.
Coach — Rolando Garcia, CBC.
Brandon Broersma, Sunnyside Christian; Esau Cervantes, Granger; Shawn Craig, Wapato; Drew Dyer, Selah; Garrett Hull, Ellensburg; Max Jones, Davis; Nikhil Lizotte, Davis; Jalen Peake, West Valley-Yakima; Isaiah Ruiz, Grandview; Trey Serl, Sunnyside; Andy Soto, Eisenhower; Austin Strock, West Valley-Yakima; Carlos Vijarro, Davis; Cameron Walker, Naches Valley; Brady Widner, Zillah.
Coach — Ray Funk, YVC.