The third annual Carly Stowell Invitational is set for tomorrow and Tuesday at Kentlake.
The four-team girls basketball event pairs Mount Si against Seattle Christian tomorrow at 5 p.m. and Kentlake against Puyallup at 7 p.m. The losers play Tuesday at 5 p.m. with the winners squaring off at 7 p.m.
This year’s tournament is special because this would have been Carly Stowell’s senior year at Kentlake. She showed tremendous potential as a basketball player and was a musical prodigy as a freshman, helping lead the Falcons to the Class 4A state tournament.
A few weeks later, while in North Carolina for a national AAU tournament, Carly died of arrhythmia, five days before her 15th birthday.
Her parents, Chuck and Elena Stowell, established the Carly Stowell Foundation later that year in an effort to perpetuation some of the ideals their daughter strived for. You can find information on the foundation here.
Kentlake coach Scott Simmons wanted to make sure Carly wasn’t forgotten either and started the Carly Stowell Invitational in 2007. The tournament had been around the Christmas holidays the first two years, but Simmons said he moved it up this season to avoid potential winter weather conflicts.
This is a pretty good field. Seattle Christian is the defending Class 1A state champion and has several key players back. Mount Si is usually a solid KingCo 3A/2A team and Puyallup is a generally one of the tougher teams in the SPSL 4A South Division.
Simmons is excited about this year’s Kentlake team, led by 6-3 Riley Butler (Seattle Pacific) and 6-1 Morganne Comstock (Eastern).
Of course the Falcons play in the same SPSL 4A North Division that includes three teams (Auburn Riverside, Federal Way and Kentwood) that will have prominent positions in The Seattle Times’ state 4A girls basketball rankings, which will be posted here tomorrow. Kentwood is the defending state champion. Federal Way placed third last year and Riverside was fourth.
I was fortunate enough to watch Carly Stowell play as a freshman in that 2007 state tournament. She had the makings of a special player. And from everything I’ve heard, she was already a very special person. You can read a story I wrote about her here.