Cheney Free Press -

By PAUL DELANEY
Staff Reporter 

2017 Medical Lake Winter All NEA

 

Medical Lake athletics

Medical Lake's winter 2016-17 All-Northeast A League selections included (back row L-R) Nizhole Sherman, Makayla Geiger, Lexie Redell, Jayda Noble and Trenten Garza from boys' and girls' basketball. In addition, Kyle Lundberg (front), was named the girls' NEA Coach of the Year. Medical Lake basketball teams retraced history from 30 years ago as each qualified for the postseason and the state tournament.

During the 2016-17 season, Medical Lake boys' and girls' basketball teams did something that had not been accomplished in 30 years. Both teams qualified for the state tournament for the first time since 1987.

For their efforts, each team was rewarded with postseason honors that included first-team All-Northeast A League selections for both Trenten Garza and Nizhole Sherman for the boys. On the girls' side, Makayla Geiger and Jayda Noble earned first-team berths, while Lexi Redell landed on the second team.

Perhaps the best part is that each of these players has more time in an ML uniform - particularly Noble and Redell who are both just freshmen.

The league also recognized the Cardinals' Kyle Lundberg as the girls' coach of the year after guiding the team, to a 20-3 record. The ML boys' first-year head coach, Noel Hachtel, finished with a 16-9 mark.

Boys' basketball:

"Whether during a game or practice, Trent provided the guidance and stability our young players needed," Hachtel said of senior point guard Garza. "It was paramount from the first day of practice who our players trusted and because of that reason, he was selected as our team captains, which was handed out at season's end."

Garza's ability to control players on the defensive end during the game made it extremely difficult to take him out," Hachtel said. "Although undersized and at times outmatched, he was a difficult player to guard. His decision making abilities made each player better."

"What an incredible work ethic," Hachtel said of senior forward Sherman. From the start of practice to the finish, Sherman did everything with the mentality of getting better. "No matter how small the task, he always offered a huge effort," Hachtel added.

Since Hachtel first began coaching in 1994, Sherman is the only player he has had the opportunity to work with that is never satisfied with his effort and ability. "He did whatever it took to be the absolute best player he could be in practice and that reflected in his performance during his games."

In addition to the league honors, Sherman was unanimously selected as the team's most valuable player by his coaches.

Although senior post Joey Jasmer wasn't placed on any All-League team, he earned the Cardinals' most inspirational award, Hachtel said.

"Our coaching staff unanimously selected Joey for this award because of the way he accepted and executed his roles this past season," Hachtel said of the four-year basketball letterman.

Jasmer was asked to put aside his strengths as an outside shooter for the team and do the tough work in the post, Hachtel said. "He did an amazing job with his rebounding and without his post play, I don't think we would have been as successful as we were," Hachtel added.

Girls' basketball:

Geiger, a junior, is a three-year letter winner for Medical Lake. "Each year she has gotten better and continues to be a valuable player," Lundberg said. Geiger was a team captain and provided great leadership averaging eight points per game.

"Jayda Noble had a great season for us," Lundberg said. After missing the first five games due to an injury suffered in soccer, Noble made an immediate impact for her team on both sides of the ball. "She lead our team in every statistical category averaging a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds per game," Lundberg said, adding five steals per game.

Redell had a notable year for Medical Lake. "She was able to hit many key shots to get us going," Lundberg said. "It seemed like when we needed a big shot, Lexie was there to knock it down," he added of the newcomer who also averaged nine points per game.

According to Medical Lake athletics director, Justin Blayne, the league's top coach, Lundberg, "Helped mold and manage the talent that allowed the Cardinals to win the Northeast A League regular season title."

"The interesting thing is that Kyle really didn't change much this year," Blayne added. "He simply had a team that outworked their opponents and he was able to establish high expectations that the team consistently met."

Medical Lake had a predominantly young team. "Lundberg and his staff did a great job preparing them for varsity level basketball," Blayne said.

Paul Delaney can be reached at pdelaney@cheneyfreepress.com.

 

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