Yelm Girls Win First Postseason Game, Boys Eliminated

By Jacob Dimond /
Posted 2/15/22

The Yelm Tornados both played their first postseason games of the season last week on Friday, Feb. 11 and Saturday, Feb. 12.

For the ladies, they hosted Mount Tahoma on Friday evening, while the …

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Yelm Girls Win First Postseason Game, Boys Eliminated


The Yelm Tornados both played their first postseason games of the season last week on Friday, Feb. 11 and Saturday, Feb. 12.

For the ladies, they hosted Mount Tahoma on Friday evening, while the boys traveled to Mountain View High School in Vancouver on Saturday.

On Friday night in Yelm’s gymnasium, the student section was rocking, the band was loud, and the Lady Tornados were on point. The Mount Tahoma Thunderbirds arrived with their band and cheerleaders as well, making for a great game environment.

Once the game was underway, it appeared that both teams experienced some playoff nerves, as this game marked the first postseason basketball game during the pandemic for either team. But fortunately for Yelm, the nerves faded away quickly as they jumped out to a big lead in the first quarter, holding Mount Tahoma to just two points.

Lilli Williams was efficient all night, shooting 50% from the field and hitting seven 3-pointers throughout the contest. Williams was the spark that got the Tornados offense rolling and she was able to get going early.

The Tornados jumped out to a 32-8 lead at the half. They showed exactly why they belonged in the postseason with a very one-sided first half. The defense was crushing and dominant, and the offense was flowing. The ball movement the Tornados created in the first half resembled the San Antonio Spurs signature offense. The ladies were patient offensively, but very opportunistic.

The dominance continued for the ladies in the second half, allowing just 19 more points. The ladies fought hard and were able to come away with the win, 56-27.

As the final buzzer sounded, the student section emptied out onto the court to join the ladies in a well deserved celebration.

The ladies saw several different key contributors step up in the district game. Williams had a big night, scoring 23 points, adding five rebounds, and an additional five steals. Henlee Sherman scored nine points and collected six rebounds, all while being extremely active on the defensive side. Sadie Tanner scored nine points, and collected eight rebounds and five assists throughout the contest. Morgan Whited collected 10 hard fought rebounds during the game, and Angelica Askey scored seven, and added four assists.

“I was super proud of our ladies. None of them had ever played in a high school postseason game. Last year there wasn’t a district tournament due to COVID,” said coach Jen Sleeman. 

“The girls’ goals were to play as a team. We were able to do that with a balanced attack scoring, rebounding and doing all the ‘little’ stuff that the stats don’t show.  Everyone not only got in the game but played good minutes too,” said Sleeman.

Up next for the Tornados was Bonney Lake, who the ladies are familiar with. In the Tornados first contest of the season, they fell to Bonney Lake 53-28. The girls now have the experience to compete with the Panthers, in what Sleeman described as a “must-win” game for the Tornados.


Meanwhile, the boys traveled south to Vancouver to take on the Mountain View Thunder.

Yelm was without Jeshua Hardie, a senior who has scored in volume all season long. Early in the game, the Tornados experienced more adversity as Trevontay Smith, who had season highs of 32 and 27, fouled out early in the contest.

Ultimately for Yelm, they were able to keep the contest close without their two top scorers, but the team lost to Mountainview. Without Smith and Hardie, Yelm needed someone to step up. Sophomore guards Damian and Marius Aalona, who are twins, did just that. The two displayed their athleticism on offense and defense, and kept the Tornados in the game offensively.

Despite the effort, the Tornados still came up short. Mountain View won the game, 47-45.

The playoff loss goes down as the final game of the Yelm’s boys basketball season, but the future is bright for the Tornados as they return Smith and the Aalona twins next season.


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