Annual event draws hundreds of Islanders
By Matt Phelps
Mercer Island Reporter
The 2008 Hoopfest in Spokane, Wash., again played host to many Islander basketball teams, families and fans. The annual 3-on-3 basketball tournaments, held on the streets of downtown Spokane, garnered 25,000 players, 3,000 volunteers and 175,000 fans.
The Islanders, comprised of Matt Schut, Paul Morse, Evan Zahniser and Sam Rasmussen, won the championship in the adult 18-and-over bracket. The team won the finals of its bracket, 17-14. This was the sixth time in the past seven years when these four Islanders have participated and the fifth time they had won their respective bracket. The team’s all-time Hoopfest record stands at 28-2. All four boys graduated from Mercer Island High School in June and played for the varsity team that finished the 3A KingCo regular season undefeated.
The Island team Cloud Nine (girls) won its bracket as well. The team is made up of four third-grade girls: Rachel Silke, Jessica Stenberg, Claire Mansfield and Melanie Bantle.
Another team named Cloud Nine (boys) won its bracket. Sam Pugel, Josh Stenberg, Michael Petrie and Peter Lopes teamed up to post a record of 5-0. All four boys are in the fifth grade.
The Ball Thieves placed second in their fifth-grade girls bracket, going 5-2. The team narrowly lost in overtime during the championship game. Team members include: Taylor Krause, Jessica Blakeslee, Liza Watson and Annie Milderberger.
Brandon Lawler, David Emanuels, William Mansfield and Nick Taylor teamed up to form the MI Bus Drivers and won the sixth-grade boys bracket.
The Mercer Island Heat won the fourth-grade boys bracket. The team was comprised of Alex Brown, Jack Delay, David Sims and Jack Stefanchik.
Andrew Pickles, Eric Kim, Jesse Fulp and Sam Nordale competed under the team name Mercer Islanders and finished second with a 4-1 record.
The team of Islanders Lightning, Christopher Lawler, Daniel Marinello, Daniel Sims and Steven Huber, finished with a record of 4-1 to take second in their bracket.
The Mercer Island Average Joes went 1-2 during the tournament. The team was made up of Aaron Hanah, Cameron Ogard, Quinn Snell and Stzlen Peterson.
The MI Chess Club, Ben Angel, Jonny Kuhn, Keoni Ogawa and Leim Tu, finished with a 2-2 record.
The Mercer Island Hoopsters, Connor King-Goldman, Drew Christofferson, Nick Umlauf and Peter Ernst finished 3-2.
Danger Island finished fourth overall with team members Kelly Behrbaum, Maive Akins, Macy Mounger and Fiona.
Alex Emanuels, Brian Higgins, Matt Delman and Sean Casey all played for the team Mercer Island Hoopster and finished 0-2.
The Mercer Island Dragons, Sam Bender, Spencer Dillon, Will Bassetti and Zac Stickney, finished with a record of 2-2.
Cash Flow Squad played with just three players, Ben Shoemaker, Drew Sexton and Will Hansen, and finished third in their bracket.
Brent Tsang, Chandler Briscoe, Charlie Meyers and Shawn Sprinkle teamed up to form the Mercer Island Gypsy Magic and finished 1-2.
The Mercer Island Black Shots third-grade boys team won the consolation bracket for their age division. Team members are Zach Gottesman, Dawson Burger, Spencer Luce and Malcom Davis. The team was coached by Nate Luce.
Island Force took third place with players Brooke Behrbaum, Stephanie Silke, Jamie Mounger and Kathryn Vetter.
Ali Marinello, Anna Luce, Josie Blakeslee and Sperry McQuade formed the team Mercer Island Hot Shots and earned a record of 2-2.
The Mercer Island Lucky Charms finished 2-2 and was comprised of Boo Williams, Brooke Fitzwilson, Kayla Tsang and Nalani Ogawa.
Arianna Moscatel, Kianna Chang, Mary Wingerson and Sara Lindquist formed the team the Mercer Island Rim Rockers, winning their first two games but finishing with a 2-2 record.
The Mercer Island Riot, Bennett Dammeir, Calvin Pugel, Cray Bryan and Danno Mayer finished 2-2.
The Mercer Island Rock finished 3-2 and was comprised of Ciaran Murphy, Nick Nordale, Zach Bucklin and Zach Taylor.
Andrew Smith, Derek Newhof, Jared Thomas and Quinn Sterling, created Mercer Island Street Heat, which finished 2-2.
Team MI took second place with team members Kyle Huber, Marlo Carfarelli, Matt Orehek and Molly Delay.
The Mercer Island Thunder, comprised of Nate Schuler, Peter Welch, Keegan Ogard and Jacob Stenberg, recovered from a first-round loss to finish 2-2.
Amanda Tsang, Ashlyn Reid, Claire Wendle and Shelby Cansler competed under the team name Bellevue Islanders and finished 1-2.
Other teams that competed were — Flash Lightning: Bligh Bjarnason, Gage Meadows, Kyle Stolzman and Michael Taylor; Bears: Blake Swanson, Michael Litzow, Thomas Krause and Will Krause; Backyard Shooters: Caden Conder, Michael Sedlacek, Mitchell Jensen and Nicholas Delman; Street Dogs: Abby Olson, Candace Rawson, Grace Thomas and Leah Akins; Island Monsoon: Charlie Sylvetsky, Charlie Williams, Luke Mounger and Peter Williams; Leaping Lizards: Derek Sims, Jack Counihan, Patrick Nielson and Ryan Hill; Snails: Ian Schneiderman, Michael Hall, Michael Krebs and Mitch Stickney; Island Girls: Gretchen Peterson, Megan Diamond, Molly Bucklin and Olivia Snell; Orange Crush: Nick Panelli, Jens Dolmseth, Nate Wehner and Brendan Long; Stinging Sisters: Caroline Dillon, Dani Grainger, Mckenzie Krause and Riley McCaulay; Hot Shots Two: Joe Rasmussen, Luke Lattanzio, Nikhil Misra and Riley Hering; Sting: Connor Gullstad, Kalen Wasihun, Nate Umlauf and Will Taylor; Elite All-Stars: Alec Ernst, Joshua Lee, Karsten Sherman and Rayjaun Stelly; Rocket Power: Connor Creswell, Eric Stefanchik, Jason Hatch and Jeff Lindquist; Wildcats: Adam Jelenik, Jeremy Chow, Michael Diamond and Michael Lewis.