By Nathan Joyce
Melvin Jones wasn't even originally on the Class 3A roster of the 33rd annual Washington Interscholastic Basketball Coaches Association All-State games.
But he went on to be a star.
Jones scored 13 points, one of six players on the team to score in double figures, as the Class 3A team beat the Class 4A squad 99-94.
Jones, the Chief Sealth star who is going to North Idaho College, a junior college in Coeur d'Alene, was late replacement for O'Dea's Chris Banchero, who missed the game because of a concussion suffered in the state title game the previous Saturday.
"I wasn't really expecting to play," Jones told the Seattle Times. "They called me [Friday] and I said, 'Sure, I'll play.'"
Even his coach, Ferris' Don Van Lierop, who guided the Saxons to the Class 4A state title two weeks ago, didn't know he would play until the day of the game.
"It worked out pretty well," Van Lierop told the Seattle Times. "He's going to be a real steal for North Idaho. That's right in my neck of the woods. I'm looking forward to watching him."
Luke Sikma, the son of the former NBA star Jack Sikma, was the game MVP after he recorded 14 points, eight rebounds and five blocks. Sikma is a Portland recruit.
Venoy Overton, a Washington recruit who scored a game-high 18, was named WIBCA Mr. Basketball for the season.
In the other games, Nooksack Valley's Chris Mitchell, a Western Washington recruit, earned MVP honors after he scored 14 points to lead the Class 1A team past the Class 2A team 79-68. Morton's Travis Merriman scored 17 as the Class 2B team beat the Class 1B team 90-70.
Basketball: Gray Leaves His Mark
Bainbridge basketball star Steven Gray left his name on the record book. The 6-foot-4 Gonzaga-bound player led the Spartans to the Class 3A state title game this season, where they lost to O'Dea.
Gray finished his career with 2,415 career points, which is No. 3 on the state's all-time scoring list. No. 1 on the list is Lance DenBoer (1999-2003) of Sunnyside Christian with 2,851 points. No. 2 is Curlew's Jeremy Groth (1996-2000) with 2,447.
During the state tournament, Gray jumped from fifth to third on the list, passing Blaine's Luke Ridnour (1996-2000). The Seattle Sonics point guard has 2,372 career points.
Gray finishes with an impressive list of accolades. Later this month, Gray will be named to the Associated Press All-State team for the fourth time. He could be the state player of the year for the second time. He was named Class 2A state player of the year after his sophomore season when he led Chimacum to the Class 2A state semifinals. This season, Gray was also named Metro League and state tournament MVP.
Basketball: Another MVP for Vandersloot
Kentwood basketball star Courtney Vandersloot was named MVP of the 3A/4A Washington State Coaches Association All-State girls basketball game. Vandersloot, the Gonzaga-recruit who earned league and state tournament MVP honors, had 17 points, four rebounds and four steals as the West beat the East 50-45.
Vandersloot had seven in the fourth quarter.
"I think Courtney really stepped up in the second half," West coach Al Gleich told the Seattle Times. "She willed us to win. She wasn't going to lose this game."
In the other games, Kia Gibson of Lakeside (Nine Mall Falls) 14 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks to earn MVP honors as the East beat the West 68-61 in the Class 2A/1A game. In the Class 2B/1B game, Ellen Miller scored 10 points to earn MVP honors as the East won 64-59.
Baseball: Paulter Wins 300
The spring sports season is a busy on around Washington. Six sports play begin Washington Interscholastic Activities Association-certified seasons (baseball, fastpitch, boys soccer, track and field, tennis and golf), and two other sports (lacrosse and water polo) play club seasons.
One coach started the busy season with a milestone. Seattle Prep baseball coach Ed Paulter won his 300th career game as his Panthers beat Skyline 9-5 in its season opener.
Paulter has been the baseball coach at Prep for 22 years.