Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Nike TOC: Anna Wins MVP

Bob Corwin,, December 28, 2015

Bellevue (Washington) High School defeated Oaks Christian High School of Westlake Village, California, to take Nike Tournament of Champions Anderson Division.

The John Anderson Division saw Bellevue (Washington) High School defeat Oaks Christian High School of Westlake Village, California, by a score of 44-39.  The Anderson was seeded as the second strongest division in the 2015 Nike Tournament of Champions.

Anna Wilson (division MVP) led Bellevue with 17 in final.

Team placement for Nike Tournament of Champions

When you can only put 16 teams in a division and have 30 or more quality teams, obviously not every team can get placed in the top (Smith) division of an event.  The top finishing Anderson teams certainly have arguments that they should have been in the Smith.
With the quality as high as it has been in recent years, the Nike Tournament of Champions bracketing committee had to agonize over whom to place where.  While in hindsight mistakes were made, the overall placement of teams was well done.  Again (like the Smith Division discussed in part 1), the event was held in Gilbert, Arizona, from December 18-22.

Nike Tournament of Champions 2015
John Anderson Division All-Tournament Team
Anna Wilson, 5-9, point guard, 2016, Bellevue High School (Bellevue, Washington) MVP
Christmas came early for Bellevue Coach Leah Krautter when the Wilson family decided to move west from Virginia for Anna's senior season.  The word was that they wanted to be geographically closer to her brother Russell (Seattle Seahawks quarterback).  Anyone who doubts this close relationship, please see Russell's recent tweets with almost same pictures as in this article.
Russell Wilson
I see you MVP!!!  Love you so much sis!  
A Stanford signee, Anna was a constant in handling the ball for Bellevue.  Her value to maintaining offensive flow quickly became evident when she left the game.  Offensively, she led her team in scoring in multiple games via drives and three-point setters.  Her combined efforts garnered her Anderson Division MVP honors.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Russell Wilson Talks about Anna

Eric Mandel,, December 22, 2015

Russell Wilson's conversation with "Danny, Dave, and Moore" on Monday wasn't all about his recent record-setting play. Here's a look at what the Seahawks quarterback talked about with the 710 ESPN Seattle show on Monday:
He's a proud brother. Wilson's sister Anna, who attends Bellevue High School, recently received a basketball scholarship to Stanford, and big brother couldn't be more proud. "Talk about no time to sleep – that girl, she gets it in. She's ready to go, she's ready to go to work every day and practice. She's always working on her game. I believe she's a little Steph Curry, just the girl version... She's a point guard but she'll shoot it from 10 feet behind the 3-point line. She doesn't care; she's relentless."

Anna's last week, December 21, 2015
Bellevue girls basketball team.The undefeated Wolverines scored 112 points against Sammamish, which is the most number of points the Bellevue girls team has scored in a single-game in at least 10 years. Six players scored in double digits against the Totems, led by point guard Anna Wilson, who scored 24 points and dished out 10 assists.

Brett, December 17, 2015
Bellevue's dominant first quarter had the Lake Washington Kangaroos playing catch up all game en route to a 74-44 Wolverine victory.
One night after scoring 112 points, the Bellevue offense picked up right where they left off. The Wolverines outscored the Kangaroos in three of four quarters, including 21-3 in the first quarter. Six players scored at least seven points for Bellevue, including 10 for Anna Wilson.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Fingall Receives All Sports Female Scholastic Award

Choctawhatchee High School's Nadia Fingall was surprised Monday by members of the All Sports Association who honored her with the association's Scholastic Award.

Seth Stringer,, December 14, 2015
A tie? Really?
That was the All Sports Association’s reaction when, twice, 80-plus members failed to come to a consensus on the Female Scholastic Award voting.
With no quantifiable formula to decide the split between athletics and academics – leadership, a strong GPA and athletic success serving as the only prerequisites – one half sided with Choctaw’s Nadia Fingall, a 6-foot-4 forward on the Indians basketball team. 
After the second tie, the solution seemed obvious: Just give the award to both.
For Fingall, there was no drum line. Just beakers and lab equipment, her IB Biology III class serving as the perfect backdrop as her sister, basketball team, school administration and the All Sports Association surprised her with the honor.
“It was fitting that I found out in the classroom,” Fingall said. “I didn’t know anything about it. But when my team walked in and I saw everyone, I was like, ‘Oh, OK. I get it now.’ It was a complete surprise.”
The tie is not unprecedented. 
Fingall, who is set to accept the award at the 47th annual banquet on Feb. 12 in Fort Walton Beach, co-champions.
“Both ladies are outstanding,” ASA President Bill Kuhn said. “We don’t like the word ‘co-’ or ‘dual.’ They’re winners, plain and simple.”
Stacked next to each other, the seniors’ résumé’s are tantamount.
Fingall has a 4.5 GPA, easily top 10 in her class.
“Academics have always been first,” added Fingall. “When I was little, that’s what I was always good at. Academics were my first passion, and athletics followed.”
Fingall is the two-time reigning Female Basketball Player of the Year, her 20-point, 15-rebound double-doubles becoming routine.
Fingall has helped led the Indians to back-to-back Elite Eights, a Final Four in 2014 and a 37-3 record since transferring in her junior year.
Meanwhile Fingall is bound for Stanford University on a full basketball scholarship.Of course both still have time to add to their decorated résumés.“State’s always been the goal,” Fingall has said on numerous occasions, the Indians’ 11-1 record this season portending postseason suc-cess.

Sunday, December 13, 2015


Susie Arth,, December 11, 2015

Anna Wilson has been back and forth across the country to watch her brother play football. Now Russell Wilson is returning the favor.Anna, a Stanford signee and USA Basketball gold medalist who transferred from Collegiate School (Richmond, Virginia) to Bellevue (Washington) for her senior season, put on a show for her big brother and his girlfriend, Ciara, scoring 18 points with seven assists and five rebounds in a win 104-56 win over Juanita on Wednesday.
Remember that time the Seahawks' Super Bowl-winning quarterback said his sister beats him at one-on-one? We have no doubts.

Saturday, December 05, 2015

Mikaela accepts basketball scholarship to U.S. school

A pair of Innisdale Secondary School students have accepted scholarships to NCAA Division-I schools in the United States. Mikaela Brewer, left, is heading to Stanford University

Stephen Sweet,, December 4, 2015

Six years ago, Mikaela Brewer was playing low-level basketball as relative newbies.
Now headed to the United States with Division-I hoops scholarships.
The pair of Innisdale Invaders committed to their schools – Brewer to Stanford – two weeks ago as they take the next steps in their careers.
“There were a few schools that I was very serious about, and ultimately, Stanford was my number one choice for a long time,” Brewer said. “I had to wait on admissions to get into the school first, but they were the number one choice for a while.”
Brewer, who has played with the Cadet National Team, was highly sought after, but the combination of athletic and academic clout that Stanford carried was too much to pass up.
“It's an outstanding place,” Brewer said. “It's such an amazing opportunity just that I could never turn down.
“The coaching staff is outstanding in how much they look out for the players, not only from a basketball standpoint to help to make them better basketball players, but as a person too.”
Stanford is ranked 13th in the most recent NCAA rankings as provided by the Associated Press, so Brewer knows it won't be easy to get minutes there.
“There's going to be a lot of seniors on the team next year and it's going to be tough to compete for minutes, but I think that's what makes it more fun and makes it more competitive,” Brewer said. “You've got to work for what you want to do.
“I think being able to play with those players who have all that experience and have been through the process and played for so many years can only benefit me, regardless of how many minutes I may get," she added.
Brewer will be going into the sciences, possibly looking at a pre-med designation within a couple of years.
She knows what a Stanford degree could do for her.
“Very much so,” Brewer said. “I take my academics very seriously, and outside basketball, as soon as I'm done university and playing university basketball, I think the next step for me is to pursue something academically.”
Brewer is quick to credit her parents, Bryan and Lynlee, with helping her get to this stage.
“I owe a lot to them,” Brewer said. “My mom drives me to all of my practices and my dad does a lot of recruiting, co-ordinating, that kind of stuff with the coaches, and I wouldn't be here without them.”
Brewer had the idea that she was going to go to Stanford for a few weeks.
During their high-school basketball days, Brewer reunited with Joe Denes, their coach from six years ago as they started out with the Barrie Royals Tier-II team.
He's seen their growth and is amazed by it.
“I think what I'm most proud of is that when they started their careers in rep basketball in Barrie, they weren't the kids picked for our travel team,” Denes said. “They were passed over, they both played with me on a 'B' team at the Grade 6 age level, and to see where they've gone from there to where they are today, signing Division-I scholarships, is quite remarkable.
“It speaks a lot about their commitment, probably second to none in terms of their discipline, because trust me when I tell you that many of these kids in the gym right now want to get scholarships,” Denes added. “But very few are able to achieve what these kids have been able to.”
He began helping them at the earliest stage, even when the hoop seemed a mile away.
“Well, I always give Joe Denes the most credit in the world,” Richards said. “He was my first coach ever to coach me.
“He taught me how to shoot my first free-throw when I was crying at the lines saying, ‘oh, it's too far, I can't do it,’ and he just helped me get through there.”
These days, the girls are learning individual skills that are beyond what Denes is used to, but he's still there for them.
“In terms of the technical advancements that they've made, I think I haven't had a hand in helping development that much, technically, in the last couple years,” Denes said. “Other coaches have had probably a bigger impact on them.”
Denes is the one, though, who opens up the gym nice and early every morning for them to get their training in.
“For them, it was about creating the opportunity,” Denes said. “I loved opening the gym for them at 6:30 in the morning and helping them through their workouts.
“I think I was more of the vehicle of opportunity.”
The girls credited a number of coaches in the area and beyond with helping them get to this point, including Paul Hopper, Scott Seeley, Amanda Lauzon, Mike Dodig, Todd Smith and many more.
But both girls mentioned Denes right away when giving praise, something that greatly touched the coach.
“Mikaela (told me she committed) the hour that she knew, Denes said. “I feel privileged to be in that in-crowd, if you will.
“When I found out about it I was very happy for them, and it's always nice to see someone that you've worked with find success, especially at that level.”
They've come a long way from a point where neither of them could have even imagined that they would be hotly recruited Division-I players.
“I was just starting out playing basketball and just thinking that, you know, it was something I was doing for fun, and that I would work hard and see how far it would get me,” Brewer said. “You never know.
“I ended up playing on national teams, provincial teams, and just having incredible experiences that I've been able to have through basketball and through working hard.”

Friday, December 04, 2015

Anna and Bellevue girls basketball routs Beamer with Russell Wilson in attendance

Doug Drowley,, December 3, 2015

Yes, it’s the first week of December.
Yes, Thursday night’s season-opening girls basketball game was just a nonleague contest between Bellevue and Todd Beamer.
The Wolverines, new and returning, had more going on than that, however.
A packed Bellevue High gymnasium watched the home team roll to a 92-58 victory over the visiting Titans, expected to be one of the premier teams in 4A come next March.
“We wanted to get revenge from last year,”  “We kind of got our butts kicked.”
A year ago at Todd Beamer, the Titans did a little racing away of their own in a 64-40 season-opening win.
“This was an important rematch for us,” Bellevue coach Leah Krautter said. “The score was kind of opposite last year. We wanted to make a statement.”
Bellevue made statements all game long.
The first came from new point guard Anna Wilson — sister of Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson — who transferred into Bellevue for her senior year. Wilson scored the first basket of the season for the Wolverines with 6:57 to play in the first quarter.
The 5-foot-9 guard softly banked a short shot off the glass and in, getting bumped in the process. She reacted to the Bellevue student side with a yell and a pump of her fist. Her brother jumped up and cheered the play.
After the free throw, Bellevue had its first lead, 3-2.
It wasn’t until a 13-0 run that all but ended the first quarter and staked the Wolverines to a 21-12 lead after the first eight minutes that Bellevue started to pull away.
By the half, Bellevue led it 44-25, and the lead grew to as much as 34 .
While Wilson, who had just those three in the first quarter, wound up with 15 in her first effort.
“Talent comes from how hard you work,” Krautter said. “And they are the hardest workers I’ve ever seen. It’s about chemistry. And this is the right group.”

Fingall, Indians too strong for Crestview

Crestview's player tries to get past Choctaw's Nadia Fingall during Thursday's girls basketball game between the Bulldogs and Indians.

Randy Dickson,, December 3, 2015

Early season injuries and defections have left Crestview High School’s girls basketball team searching for answers.
Fortunately the season is still young and veteran Coach Kathy Combest knows how to get the most out of a team.
“We’ve had some things we’ve had to overcome, but we will get there,” she said after Thursday’s District 2-6A game with Choctawhatchee.
Indian senior Nadia Fingall was one of the things the Bulldogs couldn’t overcome.
Fingall, a 6-foot, 2-inch post player who has signed with Stanford University, is ranked the number 17 prospect in the country.
Fingall was a good as advertised as she scored a game-high 29 points to lead the Indians to a 53-39 win.
Choctaw Coach Don Brown was pleased with the win, but he stressed he saw some areas of concern.

“It’s always good to get a win, but we still have to go back and do a lot of work,” he said. “A lot of things looked sloppy tonight.
“There are a lot of people double teaming and triple teaming Nadia. We have to have other kids step up (and score), but that will happen.”
Fingall got off to a hot start scoring 10 points in the first quarter and 19 in the first half.
She scored the game’s first basket with 15 seconds off the clock.
Fingall scored eight of the next 10 points for Choctaw.

The Bulldogs had no answer for Fingall as the Indians led 16-9 at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter was more of the same song. Choctaw (9-1, 1-0) went to Fingall as the primary offensive threat and Crestview (1-5, 0-2) tried to stay in the game with balanced scoring.
The Indians led 31-17 at the half and kept the game will in hand the rest of the way.
Fingall sat a large part of the fourth quarter, but by that time the Indians had a comfortable lead.
Fingall was the only Choctaw player in double figures.

Anna Named to ALL-USA Western Washington Preseason Girls Basketball Team, December 5, 2015

Below are the American Family Insurance ALL-USA Western Washington Preseason Girls Basketball Teams. Please keep in mind that players were selected based on skill and ability, regardless of player position.
Best of luck to all the girls basketball programs this season, and be sure to check back each week for our ALL-USA Performers of the Week.
First Team
PG Anna Wilson, Bellevue, Sr., 5-foot-7. She’s the little sister to Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, but Anna shouldn’t have any trouble making headlines of her own. The Stanford commit transferred to Bellevue from Virginia, where she made the All-State team and averaged 20.6 points, 5.7 steals, and 4.6 assists.

Fingall stops Dolphins

PAT McCANN,, December 1, 2015
Mosley was giving as good as it was getting for two quarters against Choctawhatchee Tuesday night in the Jim Redfern Gymnasium.
Then the Indians unveiled a weapon the Dolphins had no answer for and cruised to a 44-27 victory in girls high school basketball.
Stanford recruit Nadia Fingall, at 6-foot-4 one of the most prolific female post players to come out of the Panhandle, scored 12 of her game-high 20 points in the third quarter alone as Choctawhatchee took full control.
Just as critical, Fingall spearheaded the Indians’ zone with five of her seven blocks after halftime, and added seven rebounds for the game and two steals.
What was a 19-18 Mosley lead at halftime became a 36-24 deficit after three quarters and Mosley was doomed. The Dolphins scored only eight points the entire second half.
“They forced us into man-to-man and caught us in some switches and Nadia got some easy baskets,” Mosley coach Jon Mason said. “They didn’t do that much different defensively, she just took away the lane.
“In the first half I thought we made her work hard for her points, but once she got going sometimes that’s all a good player needs.”

Fingall foreshadowed what was to come by scoring the final points of the second quarter. When she took three adept passes from teammate to score inside in the third quarter Mosley had no response.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Choctaw's Fingall earns tourney MVP, Athlete of the Week honor

Choctaw senior Nadia Fingall, left, talks during her signing ceremony two weeks ago when she officially committed to the Stanford women's basketball team.

DEVIN GOLDEN,, November 30, 2015

Recognition is nothing new for Nadia Fingall.

In fact, winning any tournament or weekly award is probably just an appetizer -- or dessert -- to two consecutive All-Area Girls Basketball Player of the Year awards or Division I scholarship offers or district championships.

Yet, being the MVP of Choctaw's Thanksgiving tournament brings a two-fer for her collection. Fingall, the Indians' senior who committed to Stanford two weeks ago, is the Athlete of the Week.
Choctaw defeated Niceville in Wednesday's tournament championships, and Fingall's double-double efforts propelled the Indians to another victory in their own holiday event.
What does your Twitter handle, "35-degrees Nad," stand for?
"It was just for the Fort Walton Beach rivalry week. There is a thing where if you roast someone, you turn your hand a certain way at a 35-degree angle. So it was a thing with my friends and I. It was sort of a dumb thing but it was also cool. I'll be changing it soon."
You worked out on a Sunday, when most athletes are resting. How long are your workouts and do you prefer working out alone or with teammates or a trainer?
"On the weekends, we try going as long as possible. Maybe two or three hours, as long as my dad wants. Two or three hours is the range on weekends. I invite my team. We just started inviting some of the boys down. Jessie came down a couple times and some Navarre people came down, too."
Since you committed to Stanford, are you now a huge Stanford football fan? What was your reaction to last night's thrilling win against Notre Dame?
"That game was pretty amazing. I didn't know they'd be able to pull it off. I didn't think they'd call a touchdown, but that's beside the point. I didn't think they'd win but I was running around the house."
Should Stanford make the college football playoff if it wins the Pac 12 Championship game?
"They have two losses this season. One was to an unranked team and one was to Oregon. I think the top four they have at this point will probably stay the way it is."
What other schools were you considering along with Stanford?
My top five ended up being Stanford, Oklahoma, Penn State, Florida State and Florida. That's in no particular order."
Say you're playing a game of "HORSE" and both you and your opponent are one letter from losing. What is your go-to shot to win?
"A bank shot from the right elbow. ... (The bank shot) is an art."
What is your favorite thing to do when not playing basketball or training?
"Probably reading. I'm a nerd."
You are 6 feet, 3 inches. You'd probably be a pretty good wide receiver in flag football. Have you ever considered, like other area basketball players, playing the new sport for Okaloosa County schools?
"I wanted to last year but it ran into club basketball season and now it will run into my preparations for college so it never worked out."
You're a talented basketball player, and it'd be tough for anyone to find a weakness with your game. However, that probably wasn't the case your entire basketball-playing days. What did you have to work on the most?
"Ball handling and just overall confidence just handling the ball. I was trained primarily to be a post player so working on ball handling and my outside game was the next step in my development. It is something I had to work on really hard."
What came naturally? What was the easiest basketball skill for you?
"I wasn't really athletic when I was a kid. I was more of a nerd so nothing about it really came easy."
What accomplishment do you take the most pride in?
"Getting the (Daily News) All-Area Player of the Year two straight years was pretty cool."