High School Basketball

She’s a big deal on Tri-City’s basketball scene. Now she’s headed to the Big East

Kamiakin standout Oumou Toure, one of the top basketball players in the area since she was a freshman, will be playing college ball at Butler University in Indiana.
Kamiakin standout Oumou Toure, one of the top basketball players in the area since she was a freshman, will be playing college ball at Butler University in Indiana. Tri-City Herald

Oumou Toure fell in love with Butler University on her first and only visit.

“I love Indiana,” said the Kamiakin senior. “I love Indianapolis. And they really love their basketball there.”

So Toure, Kamiakin’s all-time leading scorer in girls basketball, made the decision to verbally commit to the Big East Conference basketball school on Sept. 10.

“I wanted to go where I felt I fit in,” she said.

Basketball-wise, that meant a team that plays a lot of man-to-man defense, and an open offensive system.

“The offensive system is free flowing,” said Toure. “I’m liking their freedom in the offense.”

Toure said she considered some schools in the West and Northwest.

Those included Arizona State, Washington State and Boise State.

But the academics part of Butler also fit her plan.

“We’ve been talking,” said Kamiakin girls coach Lane Schumacher. “She’s buying into the academics at Butler. Her sisters, Khadidja and Sira, graduated from Kamiakin with their two-year degree at CBC (Running Start). Oumou will too. They’re all interested in the engineering field. Their mom teaches physics here at CBC.”

Khadidja played for Oregon State and then East Carolina, while Sira was at Weber State before transferring and finishing up at Auburn.

Another draw for Butler is proximity to Khadidja ... relative to the Tri-Cities, anyway.

“She lives in Philadelphia,” said Oumou.

Oumou wasn’t in a hurry to commit too early, said Schumacher.

“I was almost too worried,” he said. “I almost thought she had a lack of concern. She was being offered scholarships. So I asked her if she wanted to sit down and make a list of pros and cons on each school.

“She said ‘I’m gonna wait. I’m going to take some campus visits and play some summer (AAU) ball,’ ” Schumacher added.

Toure said it wasn’t like she was waiting for a deadline.

“I felt bad because I thought I’d make a decision before school started,” she said. “I decided a day or two after I visited Butler. My parents said if I liked it so much I should go there.”

What it does is take the pressure off of her senior season at Kamiakin, a place where she has scored 1,686 points in three seasons.

Her teammate, Symone Brown, has already committed to play for Central Washington University for next year. Brown started for Kamiakin as a freshman and sophomore, but tore her ACL her junior year.

And don’t forget about Alexa Hazel, a sharp-shooting guard.

“Alexa has had some NAIA and (NCAA) Division 3 interest,” said Schumacher. 

All of this likely means the Kamiakin girls should be a big favorite for the Class 3A state title in March.

“We will likely have a target on our backs,” Schumacher admitted.

Hydroplane Notes

Andrew Tate finished the season strongly Sunday when he drove the U-9 Les Schwab Tires hydroplane to victory in the San Diego Bayfair final. Tate and the U-9 had already clinched the national high-points title before the race even began, winning five of the H1 Unlimited six events this season (including the HAPO Columbia Cup here in the Tri-Cities).

Jimmy Shane and the U-1 Miss HomeStreet Bank, the 2017 H1 champs, finished off a rough season when the boat failed to leave the dock for the final in San Diego.

In some sad news, U-99.9 owner Stacey Briseno was killed Thursday night – the night before qualifying in San Diego – when she was struck by some cars on Interstate 5 in San Diego. The team voted to continue to race for the weekend.

Briseno was Fred Leland’s girlfriend when Leland passed away in 2012 due to lung cancer. Briseno kept the Leland team running since his death.

High school sports

Chiawana’s McKenna Kaelber has verbally committed to playing volleyball next year at Montana Tech. …. Richland’s volleyball team is good. We know that. But the Bombers pulled out a big victory on Saturday by winning the prestigious SunDome Volleyball Festival. … Four Mid-Columbia Conference schools – Chiawana, Hermiston, Pasco and Walla Walla – begin play this week in slowpitch softball, another sport option for high school girls. ... One Thursday night football game this week: Hanford vs. Southridge, Lampson Stadium, 7 p.m. The Falcons will look to get back on track after last Friday’s 28-14 loss to Kamiakin. Hanford QB Garrett Horner passed for 394 yards against the Braves. Meanwhile, Aaron Sonnichsen’s Suns are coming off a 48-6 loss last Friday to Pasco – the Bulldogs’ first win since 2015 and Pasco head coach Leon Wright Jackson’s first win ever as a head coach. Southridge has had a rough start to the season, dropping its first three games. … According to Dyestat.com, the Kamiakin boys cross country team, coached by Matt Rexus and which won the Class 3A team state title last November at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco, is ranked 10th in the nation. The next poll comes out later this week.

Bodner leads Eagles

Pasco High grad Chad Bodnar has developed a winner in the Eastern Washington University women’s soccer team. And he’s done it in such a short time frame.

Bodnar was hired by EWU from Walla Walla Community College in December of 2013, with his first season starting in August of 2014.

Earlier this month, Bodnar was honored at the EWU football game for already reaching 50 wins at Eastern as a coach. EWU has won the Big Sky Conference title the past two seasons.

This year, the Eagles are off to a 4-3-2 start against some tough competition as Big Sky play begins Friday.

Bodnar has also used his Tri-City connections to get players onto the Cheney campus.

Sophomore McKaley Goffard (Southridge grad), sophomore Taylor Matheny (Hanford), redshirt freshman Kendall Pope (Southridge), senior Alexis Stephenson (Chiawana), and sophomore Kelsee Winston (Hanford) are all on the roster.

Winston, a keeper, was just named the Big Sky Defensive Player of the Week for her two shutouts last week.