Elma’s Jesus Torres, center, drives the lane while defended by Forks’ Tony Flores, left, and Iziah Morton, right during a 2018 game. The Forks Booster Club will raffle off a gift basket to benefit Torres, an Elma senior who is battling leukemia, at Friday’s game in Forks. (Hasani Grayson/Grays Harbor News Group)

Elma’s Jesus Torres, center, drives the lane while defended by Forks’ Tony Flores, left, and Iziah Morton, right during a 2018 game. The Forks Booster Club will raffle off a gift basket to benefit Torres, an Elma senior who is battling leukemia, at Friday’s game in Forks. (Hasani Grayson/Grays Harbor News Group)

MICHAEL CARMAN COLUMN: Spartans show their hearts

FORKS’ BOOSTER CLUB members will support an Elma opponent fighting leukemia by raffling off a gift basket at Friday’s Spartans-Eagles boys and girls basketball doubleheader.

Boys head coach Rick Gooding said that Torres, a senior at Elma, and a football and basketball player for the Eagles, has been diagnosed with the disease.

Jesus Torres began an eight-month long round of chemotherapy treatments in Seattle on Nov. 1.

Port Angeles’ Jaida Wood had her shot blocked by Sequim’s Jayla Julmist during their Class 2A state tournament matchup last season. The Port Angeles at Sequim boys and girls basketball doubleheader has been postponed to Saturday due to snowy weather. (Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Port Angeles’ Jaida Wood had her shot blocked by Sequim’s Jayla Julmist during their Class 2A state tournament matchup last season. The Port Angeles at Sequim boys and girls basketball doubleheader has been postponed to Saturday due to snowy weather. (Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

He and his family have been aided by fundraising efforts by booster clubs in Shelton, Aberdeen and league rival Montesano.

“Honestly, I’m just very thankful about how all these communities are coming together,” Torres told the [Aberdeen] Daily World last year. “It’s like the day after [I was diagnosed], they were already starting fundraisers for me, which is pretty amazing.

His father, who is staying with him in Seattle and shares the same name, also expressed his gratitude.

“I’m very thankful for anybody who is willing to help my son,” the elder Torres said. “I’m proud of him and all my other kids also. This guy here, he’s very strong and is already planning his life ahead. I think this is going to be a little bump in his life. The support will make him even stronger than he already is. We just want to thank everybody.

“Our goal is to get Jesus all better.”

An account for the benefit of Jesus Torres and his family has been set up at the Elma branch of Our Community Credit Union, 306 S. 7th Street. Interested parties can visit the branch to donate or call 360-426-9701 for more information.

RPI vs. AP Poll

Today’s scoreboard page would be the spot where readers could find the first Associated Press boys and girls basketball rankings of the season — rankings voted on by statewide media members and compiled by the Associated Press for release.

But not enough prep sports writers volunteered to vote in the poll — a somewhat laborious process for boys and girls basketball across six classifications.

Having voted in the AP’s prep football and basketball polls since 2016, I’m sad to see no basketball poll this season as I do feel it serves a valid purpose.

But times change and the Washington Interscholastic Activities’ Association’s Rating Percentage Index (RPI) is the likely driving factor behind this move.

The RPI ultimately serves as the arbiter of seeding for the state regional round, so why not go with it’s rankings moving forward?

And that’s exactly how the Peninsula Daily News will present basketball rankings this season.

When a team is mentioned as the “No. 10-ranked” squad in a game recap or an article, that will be a reference to their RPI ranking in their individual classification.

When prep basketball rankings run in the scoreboard section on page B2, those will be the most updated RPI rankings that we can find.

For purposes of space and time, the RPI rankings will be limited to Class 1B, 1A and 2A — the classifications of North Olympic Peninsula schools.

RPI rankings for all six classifications across boys and girls basketball are available at www.wiaa.com/rpi.

Snow impact

Prep basketball fans have only been waiting for the next Port Angeles-Sequim girls basketball game since the final seconds ticked off the clock of the two rivals’ last meeting at the Class 2A State Tournament at the Yakima SunDome last Feb. 27, a 57-47 Roughriders’ win that was much, much closer than the final score indicates.

And we will have to wait some more — at least until Saturday with Tuesday’s snow-caused school shutdowns postponing the Port Angeles at Sequim boys and girls hoops doubleheader to Saturday night.

The No. 10-ranked Wolves will host the No. 12 Roughrider girls at 5:45 p.m.

I’m interested to see if Sequim post Jayla Julmist can be as dominant as she was in that state tournament contest when she put up 19 points, grabbed 19 rebounds and blocked three shots.

Port Angeles doesn’t have that kind of size inside, but they receive exceptional effort from undersized post Eve Burke and contributions from reserve Myra Walker that can attempt to offset Julmist’s presence.

And I’m curious how Port Angeles guards Wolves’ senior forward Hope Glasser and three-point specialist Kalli Wiker.

In the boys game, I’ll be looking at a matchup of solid point guards in Sequim junior Dallin Despain and Port Angeles senior Gary Johnson as well as how a shorter pack of Wolves attempts to contain the tall and talented Roughriders.

I just wish the snow would stick where it belongs — up in the mountains — so we could get these games played.

Kobe visits Cashmere

Kobe Bryant was spotted at a girl’s basketball game in Cashmere last Saturday night, where he was showing support for Hailey Van Lith, the Bulldogs’ star and a University of Louisville commit.

Van Lith is a major player in women’s basketball, widely considered one of the top five prospects in the nation by various recruiting sites.

A point guard, Van Lith trained with Bryant over the summer.

Pictures of Bryant at the Cashmere game circulated widely on social media.

Bryant also posted pictures of his daughter Gigi posing with Van Lith, and of himself with the team on his personal Instagram.

Van Lith played on the women’s USA 2018 and 2019 World Cup teams at International Federation of Basketball competitions. She was the 3×3 World Cup MVP in 2019 and the National Championship MVP in 2018.

Van Lith also made appearances at the 2018 Latvia U17 International Invitational, the 2018 Spokane Hoopfest and the 2018 USA Basketball 3×3 National Championship.

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