White River’s title-winning team: in back, from left, Emma Robbins, Taylor Schmidtke, Chloe Narolski, Megan Cash, Sam Fiedler, Taylee Goethals and Emma Cash; in front, Kara Marecle, Sofia Lavinder and Georgia Lavinder. Submitted photo.

WR squad takes title at San Diego tournament

San Diego has been kind to the girls of the White River High basketball program, but this summer was special. The Hornets won seven straight games to capture the 2A title during the four-day San Diego Classic basketball tournament.

The tourney began June 29 and was staged at a several sites, culminating in championship games July 2. Tournament games are played at the University of California-San Diego, Alliant International University and Canyon Crest Academy High School; White River competed at all three sites.

The Hornet girls, under the direction of varsity coach Chris Gibson, have traditionally fared well in Southern California, but this summer brought the first championship. Previous best showings came in 2014 and 2015, when the White River crew brought home third-place honors.

Gibson has taken a squad to the tournament the summer following each of the 20 seasons he has been in charge of the Hornet girls hoop program.

This year’s tourney experience started in relatively easy fashion, as the White River team won its first five games by an average of 22 points. Things kicked off with a 46-29 whipping of the St. Paul Lady Swordsmen, followed by a 55-29 victory over the Oxford Academy Patriots and a whopping 66-22 defeat of the El Capitan Vaqueros. A pair of July 1 games brought a 61-50 victory over the Hart Indians and a 36-23 defeat of the Seton Catholic Sentinels (the two-time defending champion from Arizona).

That set the stage for a pair of July 2 showdowns. White River slipped past the Arcadia Titans 63-30 and, in the title tilt, defeated the Bonita Vista Barons 55-48.

Gibson also took a junior varsity squad to San Diego. That team, competing in the 1A division, won three of five games.

Making up the JV roster were Ashley Buchholz, Lily Dixon, Dee Dee Forsman, Paidon Froemke, Kiana Harris, Rylie Lund, Emma McGregor, Payten Ryan and Maysen Westling. Forsman also played in one varsity game during the Southern California trip.