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Experiencing the joy and pain of Hoopfest

Sports Writer | June 27, 2010 9:00 PM

SPOKANE — Saturday started with the goal of the “Grand Slam” for one Priest River High graduate.

“We won the Intermountain League, district and state title,” Jake Weimer said. “Now, I want a Hoopfest title.”

Unfortunately, they came up a little short.

Weimer, along with his “Crazy Animals” teammates Aaron Corsi and Zach Lehman of St. Maries, and Jordan Willig of Priest River, went 1-2 and were eliminated Saturday afternoon.

Corsi, a 2009 St. Maries High graduate, played last year at Walla Walla Community College.

“The competition is there,” Corsi said of Hoopfest. “Everyone is going hard. I got here late (Saturday) and we took advantage. I only get to play with these guys twice a year, so it’s special to come play with these guys.”

The foursome came together after Weimer, Willig and Lehman played on the same team last year, then added Corsi after developing a friendship with each over the past three years. Weimer plans to walk on at Montana State next year.

Lehman, who will be a senior at St. Maries, added that the rivalry with the Spartans and Lumberjacks doesn’t affect the squad.

“It’s fun to play on the same team,” Lehman said. “The whole us and them thing doesn’t bother me at all.”

• Lindsay Herbert, a former Lake City High and University of Utah standout, and a five-time Hoopfest champion, was looking to add another title on the “Sports Cellar” team, joined by former Post Falls High guard Megan Kane and former Gonzaga standouts Heather Bowman and Vivian Friesen.

Unfortunately, they came up short in their first game of the day, and Herbert went down with a knee injury midway through a game against the “Hot Mess Crew” on Spokane Falls Boulevard.

“I tore my ACL,” Herbert said. “It’s very disappointing, but I’m definitely done for this year.”

Sports Cellar won its second game of the day to advance in the losers bracket today against Shark Lightning and former Lake City High standout Jesi Metz.

Pure Advantage and former Lakeland High standout Ashley Jamison went 2-1 and remains alive in the losers bracket.

• Lines were common Saturday, with members of the Gonzaga men’s and women’s basketball team and the Idaho Vandal football team competing for fans less than 100 yards away during various autograph sessions.

During the 10 a.m. to noon session, fans lined Riverfront Park to receive autographs from Bulldogs Steven Gray and Robert Sacre.

Between noon and 2 p.m., the crowds were split between a group of Idaho football players and Gonzaga’s Courtney Vandersloot and Katelan Redmon.

• Apryl Brainard, an assistant girls basketball coach at Coeur d’Alene High, joined forces with Mead assistant coach Fred Redmon, along with Dexter Green and Mark Johnson to form the “Fredred Crew,” in the elite coed division.

Brainard, in her 13th year playing at Hoopfest, played basketball at Borah High in Boise, and also at Southern Utah and Whitworth.

“I’m done playing in the women’s elite division,” Brainard said. “It’s all coed for me now. I still play in the women’s leagues in Spokane, but for us older ladies — between them and Hoopfest, that’s what we get.”

Brainard was hoping to repeat the success of last year’s championship, but her team was eliminated after going 1-2 on Saturday.

• Former Wallace High standout Jared Bilaski hadn’t intended on playing at Hoopfest this season after winning a coed title at the high school level last year.

“I didn’t have the money,” Bilaski said. “But Jamere (Radford) called me and told me that we were going to get sponsored.”

On Saturday, the “Wallace Pizza Factory” went 2-0, advancing to today’s semifinals in their men’s bracket.

“It’s my first year with these guys,” Bilaski said. “I like a more competitive bracket. It’s more of a challenge.”

Radford, who is part-owner of the Pizza Factory, added that without having some of his usual teammates this year, he needed Bilaski to elevate his game.

“I thought it went good,” Radford said. “I told Jared he needed to be my Corey Miller today and step up. He pretty much did. Everyone did really well today. That’s what our goal was, to win the tournament and look good doing it.”

The Wallace Pizza Factory plays in a quarterfinal game today at 9:30 a.m.

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