Every time Sasha Weber donned her No. 43 jersey in all of the 91 games she played throughout her illustrious basketball career at Timberline High School, she carried out her late mother’s memory.
The 5-foot-11 point guard, who is bound for New Mexico State, has worn No. 43 since age 8 in honor of her mom, Sheri, also a star basketball player who wore the same number.
Sheri passed away from heart failure due to kidney complications three days before Sasha’s second birthday in February 1996. Sasha admits she has few memories of her mom, but their unity is shared through basketball.
“I’m living through her,” Weber said. “She should have had the life that I’m living out.”
Weber, The Olympian’s all-area girls basketball player of the year, added another record-breaking season to her four-year career. When she signed to play for the Aggies of New Mexico State in November, she became the third girls basketball player from South Sound to play basketball at a Division I program in the past two seasons.
Weber leaves Timberline as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 1,503 career points. She also set two school records during her senior season – single-season points (490) and single-game scoring (33 vs. Lincoln on Feb. 1) while earning her second consecutive 3A Narrows League first-team honor. Weber had a well-balanced stat line: 20.4 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.6 steals and 2.8 assists.
This year more than ever, she dealt with the pressure of being a go-to player, but also had a keen eye for finding the open teammate. Night in and night out, Weber was the player to stop. She faced anything from a box-and-one to a double-team trap at half-court. She had six games with at least four assists, including a career-high nine in a 58-54 nonleague win over Kennedy on Dec. 30, showing that she’s just as productive dishing the ball as she is scoring.
“I figured out (how to) stay aggressive and play my game without having to think about everything,” Weber said. “I grew a lot mentally.”
Timberline coach Zandrea Edenstrom knew instantly the impact Weber would have on her program before she entered high school. In summer 2007, Weber joined Timberline for its team camp at Eastern Washington University as an incoming eighth-grader and quickly gained notice from players, high school coaches – and even Eastern’s coaches – at only 13.
But it’s her growth and development that’s helped set her apart, and turned her into a natural floor leader.
“She’s embraced her role this year as a team leader and trying to teach the freshmen something,” Edenstrom said. “Her overall leadership and maturity on the court has been huge for her. Since her freshman year, she’s come a long way.”
Expectations for this season were somewhat unknown in the beginning, given what the 2010-11 Blazers had accomplished – a 23-2 record, a 3A Narrows League title and making it to the 3A regional round of the state tournament. All of those accomplishments were a first for Timberline basketball.
Weber also was the lone returning starter from that record-setting season, but fresh faces stepped up, helping the program to another 3A regional berth. A 51-47 loss to Shorecrest on Feb. 25 in the 3A regional ended the Blazers’ season at 15-9 and kept them from reaching the Tacoma Dome for the final eight of the 3A state tournament, which would’ve been a first for the school.
One thing that eluded Weber during her high school career was playing basketball at the Tacoma Dome, a place she visited quite frequently as a fan of her friends’ teams.
Still, Weber couldn’t be more proud of what she and her teammates have accomplished by helping put Timberline on the map for girls basketball. With Weber on the floor, the Blazers went 60-33 in four seasons.
“It took a lot of baby steps to get to where we’re at,” Weber said. “(Coach Edenstrom) kept us motivated and reminded us where we had come from and wanted to make sure the goals we had for ourselves were reachable. We accomplished a lot, and achieved a lot.”
Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473 firstname.lastname@example.org
THE OLYMPIAN’S ALL-AREA GIRLS BASKETBALL TEAM
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
PG Sasha Weber, sr., Timberline
Weber, The Olympian’s all-area player of the year, took the Blazers on her shoulders, helping the team to its second consecutive 3A regional. Averaged 20.4 points, 7 rebounds, 3.6 steals and 2.9 assists per game. Also set school records for single-game points (33) and single-season (490) in addition to her school-record 1,503 career points. Will play basketball at New Mexico State.
COACH OF THE YEAR
Wanda Blanksma, Tenino
Under Blanksma’s helm, the Beavers more than doubled their wins from a season ago (8 wins to 18 wins) and had their best season since 2003 – a second-place finish in the Southwest Washington 1A Evergreen Division and a spot in the 1A District IV title game.
F Carly McIsaac, sr., Tumwater
Whether it was offense or defense, McIsaac was the T-Birds’ well-oiled machine and a consistent player night in and night out. She shot better than 50 percent from the floor, averaging an EvCo-best 18.5 points per game. Will play basketball at Oregon Tech.
PG Catie Mets, sr., North Thurston
Whether it was scoring or finding the open teammate, Mets was the Rams’ sparkplug. She helped the program to its best season (17 wins) since the mid-1990s, putting up 13.4 points and almost three assists per contest.
C Carly Meister, sr., Elma
The unanimous SWW 1A Evergreen MVP was a double-double machine, averaging 24 points and 15 rebounds per game before a season-ending knee injury in the 1A District IV tournament. Will play basketball at Southern Oregon.
F Riah Thomas, sr., W.F. West
The 2A Evergreen Conference MVP was the engine that kept the Bearcats running, helping the co-EvCo champions earn consecutive state berths (2011-’12) for the first time since the mid-1990s. Averaged 10 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists per game.
G/W Necy Wade, sr., River Ridge
The defending 100-meter state champion in track and field proved to be a matchup problem on the hardwood. As one of the top steals-per-game performers in the EvCo (3 per game), she helped set the tone for the Hawks’ fast-paced tempo. Also averaged 14.7 points, 7.1 rebounds and 4 assists per game.
PG Kyahri Adams, sr., River Ridge
G Alex Bassett, sr., Olympia
G Kami Bates, sr., NW Christian
G Jaynani Cababat, sr., Yelm
F Nike McClure, so., Tenino
C Jamika Parker, jr., W.F. West
Meg Wochnick, staff writer