Thursday, March 01, 2018

Hull sisters have CV headed back to state

Steve Christilaw,, February 28, 2018

It’s state tournament week. If there are any games over the course of a season, even over the course of a career, that out-sized, it is this slate of games. These are the big games on the big stage in the big arena.
How big?
Put it this way: when practicing jump shots in the backyard, no one ever imagines hitting the game-winner in a nonleague game in late November.
It’s State.
Central Valley girls basketball coach Freddie Rehkow talked earlier this season about how his team has had a three-year run of incredible success. The numbers could almost be described as gaudy. As they head to the state Class 4A tournament the number of wins this group of players have collected totals around 80. With one loss.
And the one game that eats at them most?
The loss.
Last year. State quarterfinal round. Bellarmine Prep 56, Central Valley 55.
It still hurts the way a pebble in your shoe hurts, only no matter how hard you shake that sneaker, no pebble falls out. It’s just there until it finally goes away at some later date – usually after you do something to make amends. Something, like, win another state title.
The pressure to win a second-straight state title rode on the backs of CV all last year. Some of that pressure, of course, they put there themselves. But when the then-sophomore-dominated team won it all with an undefeated season as sophomores, the natural extension for their friends and family was to expect a second straight state title. Some went so far as to predict a three-peat.
It’s what we do. We expect a lot more and, sometimes, we forget to enjoy the ride.
CV is back at state as seniors. They are once again undefeated and no lesser West Side rooter than the Seattle Times has all-but crowned the Bears this year’s state championship.
And my prescription for the week? Take a few minutes and reflect on just how incredible this three-year run has been.
How many identical twins have we seen be so dominant for so long?
Lacie and Lexie Hull would be remarkable in any other context. But the fact that you need to look at the number they wear to tell them apart makes them extraordinary.
They are the latest in a long line of outstanding basketball players we’ve produced here. Emily Westerburg. Angie Bjorklund. Jami Bjorklund. Shaniqua Nilles. Lisa Comstock-Schultz. Andrea Lloyd-Curry.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg of great players.
Lacie and Lexie take their game to Stanford next year.
Let that sink in for a moment.
Stanford. It’s like getting a full-ride to Harvard, only with much, much better women’s basketball.
They will play college basketball under a legendary coach: Tara VanDeveer. It’s like sending your son off to play basketball for Mike Krzyzewski, only you don’t have to use Google to spell it correctly. Or maybe you do. I keep forgetting to capitalize the D.
I’m excited to watch the evolution.
I will not be surprised to see them become much more of a supporting player in the Stanford system. Nor will I be surprised to see their already well-rounded games take on new dimensions.
Remember how Angie Bjorklund became an exceptional supporting player under the late Pat Summitt at Tennessee.
We will remember these past three years.
I must admit that I don’t have the fond memories of those great teams Westerberg played on. I was living on the other side of the state at that time. But I watched both Bjorklund sisters and Shaniqua Nilles grow up with basketballs in their hands. It was tremendously satisfying to watch their careers.
And I have terrific memories of Lisa Comstock’s career, first at West Valley and then as an All-America at Eastern Washington. And then as the coach of state championship teams at Lakeside.
And there is nothing more soul-filling than seeing someone you watched as an outstanding high school basketball player go off to win a national championship for a legendary college program and then represent her country as an Olympic gold medalist.
Andrea Lloyd was an amazing player who had a marvelous playing career. You can still catch her as a color commentator on Minnesota Lynx WNBA games.
We will be talking about these last three years as we watch the Hull sisters in their future careers. We will read stories about their recollections of growing up in Veradale and representing dear old CV.
And we will be proud.

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