When Toledo senior Kal Schaplow won the 2B state girls javelin title last spring as a junior, she remembers the excitement, the glory of rising to the top of her field and the feeling that all of her hard work was finally paying off.
She also remembers a feeling of dissatisfaction. Sure, winning a state title had its perks, and few athletes ever get close to earning that distinction. And she won while being coached by her dad, Don Schaplow, the Indians track and field coach, and she wouldn’t trade that time with him for anything.
But she found her mind drifting back to her one, true love: basketball.
“It was so special. It was amazing, the feeling was,” Schaplow said. “I remember thinking, ‘This feels great, but just being able to play on the floor in Spokane would be the world to me.
“I’ve grown up watching it my whole life. My brother (Duke) was the ball boy when the Toledo boys won the state title (in 2013). I’ve always dreamed of being there myself and being a part of it.”
That dream came true this March as Schaplow led the Indians to a Central 2B League title, a 23-6 record and a No. 4 seed at the state basketball tournament in Spokane, Toledo’s first trip to state in a decade. Toledo went 1-2 at the state tourney, falling one game short of trophy day, but were the final 2B team left standing from Lewis County. Despite coming home trophy-less, the experience alone was worth the trip, Schaplow said.
“I’m glad we got the time we did with (state) basketball,” Schaplow said. “If it had been a week later, I don’t know if we would have gotten that experience. Everyone in Washington who got to play in the state tournament is really lucky.”
Schaplow established herself as one of the top 2B girls in the state this season, racking up season averages of 17 points, five rebounds, 2.3 assists, two steals and one block per game.
It earned her the Central 2B MVP honor at the end of the regular season. And now she can add The Chronicle’s 2020 All-Area Girls Basketball MVP to her awards.
The 5-foot-10 guard can and did play all five positions and do just about anything on the court; knock down 3s, post up in the paint, sink mid-range jumpers. But her knockout punch is power-drives to the paint, capped by either tough finishes in traffic or a patented floater that drops in over an opposing team’s post players.
She credits her abilities to coaches Brian Layton and Randy Wood, along with her father and younger brother, Duke, who plays for the Indians’ boys team, and, of course, her teammates.
“This is a really great area with a lot of great basketball players,” Schaplow said. “It helped that my team had success this year. The fact that we won league and went to state helped a lot with that. With the group of girls we’ve got, I feel so lucky.”
She was invited to the Washington Interscholastic Basketball Association all-star game that was schedule for March 21, but is unable to attend due to state-wide shutdowns from novel coronavirus. With no school and no spring sports to fill her time, she’s narrowing down on a decision of where to play basketball this fall. She has plenty of options but has yet to sign and isn’t revealing who her top picks are, so far. Wherever she ends up going, it’s easy to believe she’ll succeed there, too.
“My dream my whole life has been to play college basketball,” Schaplow said. “Having that love and drive for high school basketball has made me want to put in thousands of hours of shots. It’s been my biggest motivator. That’s that feeling I’m still going to drive for. I’m not satisfied yet with this.”
The Chronicle’s All-Area Girls Basketball Team
P/W Addison Hall, Winlock, 5-foot-10, So.
Winlock girls basketball coach Tori Nelson preaches one key aspect of the game that has been drilled into Cardinals star Addison Hall: block out.
Well, it worked. Hall became the only Lewis County player, girl or boy, to register a double-double average this season, posting 18.6 points and 11.3 rebounds per game.
“She would mark us down if we got a missed blockout,” Hall said. “I made sure I got those blockouts and got the ball. Scoring is fun, but getting rebounds, blocking out and really going for it, that really helped
Hall’s 18.6 points per game was also the highest scoring average in the county and she added 2.3 steals and 1.1 blocks per game to her resume, as well. The 5-foot-10 post/wing combo did a little of everything for a Cardinals team that went 7-13 and fell one game short of a district playoff berth.
It helps that she’s been playing competitively since second or third grade, and was in Little Dribblers even before that.
“When I was little, it was just something fun to do,” Hall said. “It was my favorite thing, getting with the group of girls I had, and going and playing against all these other teams in my league, which now I still play against.
It’s turned her into a first-team all-C2BL selection and one of the top girls in Lewis County as just a sophomore. Adding an All-Area pick to her list of accolades makes it that much better, she said.
“I’ve kind of been dreaming about this since middle school,” Hall said. “It’s been something to always go on the websites and see stars and their pictures. It’s kind of crazy. It feels really cool to be picked. It’s surreal.”
G Payton Aselton, Adna, 5-foot-10, Sr.
Anyone who didn’t know Aselton that watched her play basketball this past fall would never likely never guess that basketball isn’t even her best sport, or her favorite.
After averaging 14.7 points and 7.2 rebounds per game this year while earning first-team all-league honors and leading the 21-7 Pirates to a state tournament appearance, who could blame them?
But it’s true. The now two-time All-Area girls basketball selection is even better at soccer, her favorite sport.
“Some people are like, ‘Why don’t you go to college for that?’ And I’m like, ‘I just don’t love it quite as much.’ It’s really fun, but soccer is just what I love the most,” Aselton said. “It’s my best sport and I’ve played it since forever. I can’t remember a time I didn’t. But I do like basketball a lot, it’s my second (favorite).”
The three-time All-Area Girls Soccer MVP signed with Saint Martin’s University after scoring 16 goals and earning the C2BL Offensive Player of the Year award. But, she’s ‘pretty good’ at basketball, too, and was planning to play softball for the defending 2B state champion Pirates this spring as the starting shortstop after a two-year hiatus, before spring sports were canceled.
On the hardwood, Aselton was the undisputed leader and the floor general in tight games, often taking over ball-handling duties while setting the tone on both ends of the court. She shined offensively in coach Chris Bannish’s uptempo attack that was predicated on a staunch defensive effort. It’s that style of play that she loves.
“The speed of it, the intensity,” Aselton said. “I love to keep going, and going and going. I love being with all the girls. I love how much of a team sport it is. It can’t be just one person. Everyone has to put in effort for it.”
F Drea Brumfield, W.F. West, 6-foot-2, So.
Drea Brumfield has been playing against older competition since she was a little kid, so it’s no surprise she dominated in the 2A Evergreen Conference this year.
Brumfield began playing competitively as a second grader, joining her older sister Erika’s travel team that their dad, Taj, coached. Facing off against fifth-graders, kids three years older than her, is what fueled her rise to becoming a two-time All-Area girls basketball pick and a top baller in the county.
Seeing Erika chose as an all-area pick a few years ago made Drea’s selection that much sweeter, she said.
“I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s so cool.’ I had seen it all on Twitter. So it’s kind of cool to be able to follow her and what she did.”
Drea is perhaps the most talented girl in the county, a 6-foot-2 forward who can post up anyone, control the boards, dribble the ball down court and knock down 3-pointers at will. Think Kevin Durant. The fact that she’s only a sophomore means she’s destined to be a Division I signee in the near future.
“I just put a lot of time in,” Brumfield said. “My dad pushed me pretty hard because he knows how good I can be. I’ve been playing basketball forever, which is why I love it so much.”
Brumfield averaged 12.3 points, seven rebounds, 2.7 blocks and 2.4 assists per game for a Bearcats team that went 18-8 and finished second in the 2A EvCO. That included an upset over undefeated Ellensburg at regionals and a state appearance. With Brumfield returning for two more years, and dropping volleyball to focus solely on basketball, the Bearcats will be in the hunt for a trophy.
F Paige Winter, Rochester, 6-foot, Sr.
Paige Winter proved she can score in bunches, averaging 16.3 points per game this season while finishing her career with 1,200-plus points. But perhaps her most valuable asset to the Warriors was her leadership on and off the court. She excels at helping her teammates know where they need to be at any given time, and her leadership is something that’s grown to be her favorite part of her game at Rochester.
“At first it was scoring,” Winter said. “Not going to lie, that was my favorite part. But as you get older, you realize that hard work pays off and you do get better. I think that’s really rewarding. Along with some of my other teammates, we were able to come together and improve so much together. Just being a leader.”
Winter does more than just knock down mid-range jumpers, employ crafty moves in the paint and lead her team to a winning record this season. She also was just shy of averaging a double-double for the season, pulling down nine boards a game and dishing out an average of two assists per match. It helped her lead the Warriors to an 11-10 record a district playoff berth.
The first-team all-EvCo selection and two-time All-Area pick said it’s rewarding to be chosen two years in a row after spending countless hours honing her craft, often against her younger sister after team practice.
“I’ve been playing since forever and I have a passion for it, so I just play it all the time,” Winter said. “It’s just a part of my life. You’ve put in all these hours and all this work, and having it be recognized feels really good.”
F Annika Waring, W.F. West, 5-foot-10, Sr.
Waring was born to play basketball. Before she can even remember her parents were taking her to watch her brothers play when she was just a baby. That led to her starting out at 4 years old, and later playing competitively in fourth grade.
Now she’s a two-time All-Area pick and an all-league forward for the Bearcats, averaging 10.8 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game this season. Even so, it’s hard for her to say basketball is her favorite sport. In fact, she has two favorites: basketball and softball.
“During basketball season, basketball is my favorite sport. Then sometimes during softball season, softball’s my favorite sport,” Waring said. “But I’ve definitely put a lot more hours into basketball. That’s a tough one. I like them both.”
An All-Area selection in softball last season, put Waring in just about any contest and she’ll excel. But this All-Area selection has two sides to it, Waring said.
“It’s feels cool, but it’s also definitely wrapping things up,” Waring said. “It’s like the official closure that basketball season’s over. It’s kind of bittersweet.”
And the ending of her high school basketball career is going to hit harder than fastpitch will, she said. What she’ll miss most is the camaraderie of her Bearcat basketball teammates.
“Basketball is more like blood, sweat and tears,” Waring said. “Your body goes through a lot more in basketball. It’s like the longest season and you’re with your teammates the most.”