The Stars of Summer

A look at the summer season of arguably the Northwest's most successful high school select team, the Spokane Stars.

It was 8 p.m. and the gym still was unbearably hot, but the audience did not seem to notice. Parents, fans and onlookers were intently watching the fast-paced game between the Spokane Stars Blue and the Pacific Pistols. There was one electric fan in the whole gymnasium, but this single appliance did little to cool off the heated players as they scored one basket after another in their 30-point dominance over the Pistols that summer evening.

The Spokane Stars have a strong charisma and stamina that is apparent on the court. The five starters - Briann January, Jami and Angie Bjorklund, Angela Hartill, and Heather Bowman - have a strong connection forged by years of playing together and demonstrate a powerhouse energy.

Jami Bjorklund
Seniors-to-be January, Jami Bjorklund and Hartill are all being watched closely by recruiters. This month especially is a busy period for the scouts to contact players, because recruiters and coaches are now given the permission to get in touch with the players. Gonzaga, which has been watching Jami Bjorklund closely at many of her games, is heavily recruiting her. Bjorklund is one of the strongest rebounders and adds to the team her secure, solid shooting skills.

All three seniors have been offered scholarships. Many college coaches are competitively recruiting January. The University of Oregon and Arizona State University seem to be leading the pack. The other top schools in January's recruitment are Washington State University, University of Nevada Las Vegas, Pepperdine, University of Missouri, and quite a few smaller private schools as well. January is still looking at all of her options and is currently undecided over what school she would like to play for. Her high school coach at Lewis and Clark, James Redmon, said: "The team has lost three top senior starters, but they were 35-4 this summer, so next season looks to be very strong." Heather Bowman and January will be returning as seniors in the fall, which should add to the team's cohesion.

Angie Bjorklund
Jami Bjorklund and Hartill are both being recruited by Pac-10 and East Coast schools as well. Another top starter, Angie Bjorklund, stands out among the team, because she is going to be only a sophomore in the fall, but in two years should be among the most heavily recruited and sought out players in her age group. She has high confidence, as she overtakes the older girls, who have more experience. Bjorklund has a unique power for her age and size, is a solid passer, very determined, and has strong ball handling skills. Bowman will be a junior in the fall and adds to the team with solid rebounding skills and dependable defense.

The Stars, coached by Ron Adams, won all three major tournaments during the July evaluation period - End of the Trail in Oregon City and the MidSummer Nights Tournaments in Seattle and Tempe. January said the team was surprised by its victory in the End of the Trail Tournament, but was very excited because they felt very connected throughout this tournament. January consistently blows away audiences with her quick, aggressive moves and uniquely jumps higher than players that exceed her height of 5-foot-7. She is one of the most valuable players and sets the table well for her teammates.

Throughout the month of July, the Stars continued to prove their critics wrong. The month ended, appropriately, in the sweltering heat of Arizona. The team's cohesiveness was fully tested in the final championship game of the evaluation period.

They won by two.

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