Senior Imani Tustison dribbles Friday during Yelm’s game against Emerald Ridge. The Tornados won 51-33.

Yelm went 2-1 last weekend during the 23rd Annual Yelm Girl’s High School Basketball Shootout, finishing out a successful summer tournament tour with a record of 10-5 and bringing some new faces up to the varsity level. 

The Tornados won against Emerald Ridge, 51-33, to start the tourney off and found a close win against Sumner, 52-42, before their streak came to an end at the hands of Moses Lake, 49-42, in the quarterfinal round. 


Junior Bayleigh Harder goes in under the net for 2 points.

Moses Lake went on to lose to White River in the semifinal game of the shootout. More than 50 games were played by 16 varsity and junior varsity teams. 

“I was just really pleased with how our kids played all weekend long,” head Yelm coach and event organizer Russ Riches said. “It was really a good event and I had a lot of positive feedback from the coaches.”

Because the team is beginning to work in a more collaborative fashion, Riches said his girls have seen some solid results this summer. The girls found success at two other tournaments as well. Yelm went 4-2 at the River Ridge Classic Girls Basketball tournament and 4-2 at White River Lady Hornet Summer Classic. 

Riches said he got some excellent hustle out of senior Maddie Plevyak, junior My’Kel Jones, junior Bayleigh Harder and junior Samantha Rohwedder, just to name a few. Plevyak and Jones worked hard on offense, Harder played tough in the middle and Rohwedder made some impressive breakaways for 2-pointers, the coach said.  


The Tornados work on defense during the second-half of their home tournament game against Emerald Ridge.

“She’s typically outsized by 3 or 4 inches … and she just continually owns the board when we play and she has an incredible knack for doing that,” Riches said of Rohwedder. 

The Yelm head coach also substituted four junior varsity players into the varsity spotlight this summer. Sophomores Alexia Zumek, Gabi Jordan, Jaelynn Carrier and junior Sophia Wigren got minutes on the Tornado varsity team. 

“I thought those players did a great job in coming up,” Riches said. “I like what’s happening with our kids. They’re playing well.”


Senior Maddie Plevyak passes the ball during the Tornados’ Friday game against Emerald Ridge.

Senior Gracie Cebula was also back on the court this summer after she took the 2018-2019 season off because of an injury. Riches said she is showing some significant improvements despite being away from the varsity team for a whole year. 

“She’s really starting to come into her own,” Riches said. “The whole group has really clicked together better.”

Now that summer tournaments are finished up, 15 Yelm athletes will head to Gonzaga July 5 through July 8 for a 10-game summer camp. When they get back, they’ll start on summer fundraising for their next season. 

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