Even at 5 years old, Jamika Parker’s height was remarkable.
“I was almost as tall as my teacher,” she said.
Her height fooled people into thinking she was two grades more advanced in elementary school when she was in kindergarten.
But Parker hasn’t fooled anyone during her high school career at W.F. West. Her dominating presence on defense is the first thing opposing coaches in the 2A Evergreen Conference talk about, and a big reason why she was named The Olympian’s All-Area girls basketball Player of the Year.
“She has a tremendous combination of size and timing,” Tumwater coach Dave Weber said of Parker, who was a unanimous selection as the 2A EvCo MVP. “She has the ability to wait on the shot and time it on just about everything you bring in there.
“With her shot-blocking ability, there’s nothing you can do.”
At 6-foot-3 and with a wingspan made for blocking shots, Parker has done a lot of that.
After becoming the school’s all-time leader in blocked shots her junior season, Parker set the record for blocks in a game with 14 during the Bearcats’ 48-39 2A District IV semifinal win over Black Hills on Feb. 12.
She has 310 career blocks – including 129 this season to go along with averages of 12.5 points and 10 rebounds a game.
Blocking shots comes naturally for Parker. She describes it as “my thing.”
“I love to block shots,” Parker said. “I base my game off my blocks. Sometimes, it makes me happy. It does get me pumped up.”
Bearcats coach Henri Weeks said Parker has worked extensively with assistant coach Jack State, who is 6-foot-8, working on her hands, timing and learning how to keep the ball in play after a block.
“From a team perspective, that’s huge for us,” Weeks said. “That results in a possession and a takeaway. Especially in the last few years, she’s really become not only a good shot blocker, but taking the ball as well.”
Parker is part of a stacked Bearcats frontcourt that also features Julie Spencer (6-1), Olivia Erskine (5-11) and Katie Hankins (6-0). Defense has been the calling card all season for the second-ranked and EvCo-champion Bearcats (19-4 overall), who have held opponents to an average of 33.6 points a game.
College programs began showing interest in Parker early. Rated a three-star recruit by ESPN.com, she said she plans to take an official visit to Western Washington, which has already offered her a scholarship. The Vikings are ranked No. 8 in NCAA Division II.
But first on her list is getting W.F. West its first state title in school history, and that starts with a 2A regional game against Archbishop Murphy at 6 p.m. Friday at Tumwater High School. The winner advances to the final eight teams of the 2A state tournament at the Yakima SunDome next week.
“I feel we connect so well,” Parker said. “This is our year. We can feel it.”
THE OLYMPIAN’S ALL-AREA GIRLS BASKETBALL TEAM
CJamika ParkerseniorW.F. West
Known as a dominating force on defense, Parker, The Olympian’s All-Area girls Player of the Year, owns every record for blocked shots at W.F. West. The 2A Evergreen Conference MVP is a big reason why the Bearcats have held opponents to an average of 33.6 points a game.
P Anushka MaldonadoseniorYelm
Often faced with double-teams, Maldonado saved her best season for last. She averaged 12.6 points, nine rebounds and 2.5 steals per game for the 4A Narrows League champions. She had a career-high 28 points in a regional-seeding game against Union.
G Jazzlynn BrewsterjuniorRiver Ridge
As a first-year member of the Hawks, Brewster put the team on her back, leading them to a runner-up finish in the 2A EvCo and a regional berth. One of the area’s top defensive players, she averages 3.6 steals a game while scoring a team-high 15 points a game.
W/PSarah McGeejuniorBlack Hills
At 5-foot-11, McGee’s size and quickness make her be one of the more well-rounded players in the area. She plays the post, wing and, at times, point guard. She averaged a double-double (11.4 points, 11.2 rebounds) and also had 2.6 steals a game this season.
G Keeli DemerssophomoreRochester
The Warriors had one of their best seasons in school history, thanks in part to Demers, who averaged 15 points, five assists and four rebounds a game. She also helped the team to its first playoff victories since 2001, although Rochester came up one win short of a berth in the 1A regional.
Hope Mortensen, senior, Black Hills
Sarah McKee, senior, Timberline
Karli Shaw, senior, Yelm
Sarah Snodgrass, sophomore, Olympia
Megan Finger, senior, Elma
Coach of the year
Russ Riches, Yelm
As newcomers to the 4A Narrows League, Riches’ Tornados captured the program’s first league title in since 2008-09 and ended Bellarmine Prep’s reign of four straight league championships.Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473 firstname.lastname@example.org theolympian.com/southsoundsports @megwochnick email@example.com