PULLMAN, Wash. - The Washington State University men's and women's basketball teams made their public debuts on the court at Bohler Gym, Friday, for ZZUMania II.
The event kicked off with a number of raffle prizes for the audience. The women’s team was up first, as all 12 members of the team were introduced. Cougar head coach June Daugherty took the microphone and got the crowd fired up, congratulating the soccer and volleyball teams that were both victorious earlier in the day. Daugherty gave a special introduction of the three seniors, Brandi Thomas, Hana Potter and Sage Romberg.
During the team’s warm up, the event host, Jamie Patrick, spoke with Daugherty. She listed the team goals as; play hard as a team, play together and play at the highest level. She ended with a promise that the team would make a postseason appearance this season. The women put on a show in their 3-minute shooting drill, hot shot, where the team did full-court, fast-break shooting. The team compiled 143 points in 3 minutes..
Next up, one lucky fan, Adam, a sophomore, had the opportunity to make a half-court shot for $500 to the Bookie. He drained his first shot and won the $500 as the crowd, including both men’s and women’s teams, went crazy.
Head coach Ken Bone introduced the men’s team, first addressing the crowd. He also gave shout outs to the soccer and volleyball teams for their victories earlier in the day. He joked about having a scholarship for Adam, the half-court shot winner, making the entire crowd laugh. Royce Woolridge, one of this year’s captains, took the mic to introduce the team. He got the crowd laughing with some of his nicknames for his teammates.
Dexter Kernich-Drew, Brett Boese, Que Johnson and DaVonté Lacy competed for the 3-point crown, each getting 30 seconds to make as many shots as possible. Kernich-Drew started off, beginning a bit show, before finding his rhythm at the end and finishing with 8 made shots. Boese followed, also getting off to a slow start. With encouragement from the crowd, he found his stroke and finished with 4 made 3-pointers. Que Johnson took to the ball rack next, giving Cougar fans their first glimpse of him. He shot at the top of the arc, making his first two. He finished with six. Lacy finished off the competition, also shooting from the top of the arc. Needing six or more to advance to the championship round, the junior got off to a slow start. He hit his rhythm at the end, finishing with six, tying Johnson to force a shoot-off.
In the shoot-off, Johnson, shooting first, made seven shots. Lacy followed by making his first four, he made 8 to pass Johnson and move on to the final. In the championship round, Lacy and Kernich-Drew shot at the same time. Lacy caught fire midway through the time, edging out his classmate, 8 shots to 7.
The men’s team concluded the event with the slam dunk competition, featuring four judges, including last year’s slam dunk champion, Royce Woolridge and three women’s basketball student-athletes, acting as one judge; Mariah Cooks, Taylor Edmondson and Lia Galdeira.
The first dunker of the evening was freshman Ike Iroegbu with 30 seconds to complete his dunk. He came out with Lacy sitting in a chair holding a basketball. His first attempt was a miss but he followed it up with a make, grabbing the ball from out of the air tossed by Lacy and converting the dunk. Iroegbu got 39 out of 40 points.
Next up was junior Keaton Hayenga. He started on the left side of the arc and threw down a half windmill dunk, also scoring 39 points to tie for the lead.
The third dunker was senior D.J. Shelton. Shelton put the ball halfway between his legs and made the dunk for 35 points. The final dunker was Kernich-Drew, who won the competition as both a freshman and redshirt freshman. Kernich-Drew brought out Butch to stand in front of the hoop and dunked over the mascot for a perfect score of 40. Iroegbu, Hayenga and Kernich-Drew moved on to the next round.
Up first was Iroegbu who did a windmill dunk and nailed his first try for 38 points. Hayenga missed his first dunk attempt, but followed with a make off a bounce to himself from across the court, scoring 35 points. Finally it was Kernich-Drew’s turn. He hit a 360 dunk for another perfect score of 40, moving on to the final against Iroegbu.
In his first attempt, Iroegbu missed his reverse windmill. He slipped the second one in and scored 36 points in the final round. After two-straight perfect scores, Kernich-Drew returned to the floor. The Australian went between his legs and missed his first and second attempts. He missed again on his third attempt for no score, making Iroegbu the champion.
The women's team will hold its exhibition game Wednesday, Oct. 30 at 7 p.m. against Master’s College at Beasley Coliseum, while the men will host Central Washington in exhibition action two days later, Friday, Nov. 1 at 8 p.m.