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Sunday, March 12, 2006 - Page updated at 12:19 AM

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Girls Basketball

Notes: Young guns light up state scoreboards

Special to The Seattle Times

TACOMA — Call them the young guns.

The wealth of talented underclassmen has been plain to see at this week's Class 4A state boys and girls basketball tournaments.

It could remain that way. There's a good chance for some of the best young players to return to the Tacoma Dome in the future. The girls ranks, in particular, boasts one of the best crops of freshmen, sophomores and juniors.

Leading the way was junior Angie Bjorklund from University of Spokane. The versatile 6-footer, who averaged 19 points, 8.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists and hit 11 of 19 three-pointers, has already committed to Tennessee.

The sophomore class seems the strongest on the girls side, with Prairie's Ashley Corral, Jackson's Kristi Kingma, Meadowdale's Eryn Jones, Lake Stevens' Mary Ochiltree, Puyallup's Tabitha Tomlinson and Mount Tahoma's Shauneice Samms.

"The talent in this state just keeps growing," said Auburn Riverside coach Adam Barrett. "There have been a lot of underclassmen step up and make big plays in this tournament. Most of the teams have some good freshmen and sophomores.

"In the last four or five years, the level of the freshman and sophomores in the tournament is as high as it's ever been."

As a team, Auburn Riverside might have the best collection of young talent. The Ravens took sixth with five sophomores and a freshman getting significant playing time.

On the girls side, Kingma and Kentwood junior Courtney Vandersloot were 1-2 in scoring at 23.0 and 22.0 points per game before the finals. Samms led the way with a 5.2 average for blocked shots.

Two-sport Woodinville star

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The buzz from college recruiters over Woodinville basketball player Amanda Fleischman has raised questions about her athletic future. But fastpitch softball remains her final answer.

Fleischman, a 5-foot-9 senior forward, has committed to play fastpitch next season at Washington. Some think she should reconsider, and at least one college recruiter believes she can play Division I basketball.

Fleischman helped the Falcons' fastpitch team to a Class 4A state title last spring and hopes to do the same again in May.

"Basketball's what I wanted to do growing up," said Fleischman, who averaged 9.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.5 assists at state. "The problem was I was doing fastpitch in the summers. If I wanted to get a scholarship in basketball, I had to play year-round.

"So, I decided to stick to softball."

Film gets thumbs up

"The Heart of the Game," Ward Serrill's documentary about the ride of the Roosevelt Roughriders through tumultuous seasons that culminated in the 2004 state championship, will make its premier in Seattle, Los Angeles and New York on June 14.

The film which features Darnellia Russell's fight to earn a fifth year of eligibility after giving birth to a daughter, has been getting rave reviews, according to Roosevelt coach Bill Resler — including "two thumbs up" from famed critic Roger Ebert. It earned the best documentary award at the Portland Film Festival.

Resler said trailers for the movie will be shown in theaters beginning in three weeks.

Meadowdale trophy

Meadowdale is back in familiar territory at the state tournament: trophy land. The Mavericks (23-4) finished eighth.

Many of the players set the goal of playing Saturday a year ago, when they lost two straight at state for the first time in school history, snapping a string of eight consecutive top-eight finishes.

"Since last year, we've been talking about getting back here and placing this year, making it past those first three days to Saturday," senior Caitlyn Rohrbach said.

Meadowdale's previous 10 trophies came at the 3A level.

Notes

• Total ticket sales for the boys and girls 4A tournaments were 30,212, a slight improvement from last year's 29,886. Championship-day attendance was down — 4,202 compared with 5,774 last year.

• Gate receipts this year were $498,689, an improvement from last year's $490,230, according to the WIAA.

• Mount Tahoma coach Calvin McHenry told his team to direct Meadowdale players toward Shauneice Samms in Saturday's game for fifth and eighth. Samms, a 5-foot-9 senior, broke the Class 4A tournament mark for total blocks with 21 after tying the mark of eight in one game.

"You just have to have good timing and you have to use your length," said Samms, who equaled the game record set by Enumclaw's Valerie Nater in 1997 and Inglemoor's Cori Enghusen in 1998. "They [blocks] give the team inspiration."

Samms eclipsed the tournament mark for total blocks of 18 by Enghusen in 1998.

• Woodinville set a tournament record with 28 three-pointers this week, eclipsing the mark of 24 set by Central Valley of Spokane and Foss of Tacoma in 1997. Woodinville hit 6 of 16 threes Saturday. The Falcons hit nine Friday.

Woodinville's Amanda Best temporarily rose to the top of the record book for most individual tournament three-pointers with 12 after hitting two Saturday. Kara Crisp from University of Spokane sank two threes in a later game Saturday to finish with 13 overall.

Seattle Times staff reporter Sandy Ringer

contributed to this notebook.

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