As Clark Fork girls basketball head coach Jordan Adams watched combo guard Brooke Stevens play under the lights of North Idaho college’s Rolly Williams Court, everything was in its right place.
Amongst the state’s best basketball players at the Idaho High School Game, Stevens jetted around NIC’s crimson-and-black hardwood, picking up defensive assignments for the full 94 feet and flat-out competed against Idaho’s top talent. The small-school star held her own against future Division I athletes. She belonged.
Or, as Adams would later recall, Stevens looked like she was at home.
Sure enough, Stevens felt the same way. Her highly decorated career in basketball, volleyball and golf — all of which she fielded offers for at the collegiate level culminated with a National Letter of Intent to play basketball at North Idaho College next winter.
“I’m really excited to be on a team with girls that are also doing what they love,” Stevens said. “At a small school like Clark Fork, you get what you get, so I think it’s going to be a lot different [at NIC].”
A three-sport all-state athlete in basketball, volleyball and golf, Stevens has been in a league of her own since her freshman year thanks her competitive drive, which stood out to Adams started coaching her in 2015.
“I’m excited to see her play with girls who are competitive and want to pursue greatness on that level,” Adams said. “In high school, [basketball] is fun and winning is kind of secondary to a lot of girls. But in college it’s a little bit different. It’s still fun — don’t get me wrong — but there’s a lot more drive on an individual level. And she has that. I’ve seen it on our floor.”
Playing basketball in college was always one of Stevens’ goals, yet Clark Fork volleyball’s sixth-place finish in the 1A State Tournament in her junior year was enough to shift her priorities. When Stevens told Adams she wanted to pursue volleyball in college, Adams encouraged her to compete at the collegiate level no matter the sport. But Adams still kept in touch with a list of basketball coaches because, in her words “you never know.”
All it took was one season for Stevens to set her sights back on basketball.
Led by a veteran starting five and a stingy defense, Clark Fork finished the season above .500 for the first time in Adams’ head coaching tenure. Stevens led the team with 15.3 points, 4.5 assists and 6.9 steals per game during the regular season. Even though the basketball team couldn’t punch their tickets to state like their volleyball counterparts often do, Stevens’ senior season inspired her to compete in college.
“I was more into volleyball because we weren’t as successful in basketball,” Stevens said. “But then my senior year in basketball I was like, ‘Okay, this is how it should be.’”
Stevens’ eye-popping statistics and stellar defense were enough to earn her not only 1A Division II MVP honors, but also spots in both the District 1 All-Star Game in Mullan, then the aforementioned 16th-annual Idaho High School All Star Game. From there, the recruiting circuit began, and her excitement to play college basketball grew with every visit she took.
“When I took my visit to Columbia Basin, I knew I could definitely see myself playing college basketball and I was getting pretty excited about it,” Stevens said. “Then I went to Lower Columbia and I really liked the atmosphere, the team and everything. And then I watched NIC and I knew that was it.”
Stevens fielded offers from a bevy of Division II, III and community colleges throughout the Pacific Northwest, including 2018 NWAC champions Walla Walla, a school Stevens will square off against next winter. Days after Stevens’ commitment, Walla Walla head coach Bobbi Hazeltine left a voicemail for Adams, saying she wanted Stevens to be her point guard next season. But Stevens stayed true to her commitment to NIC, citing its proximity to her large support system of family, relatives and friends in Clark Fork.
Although Stevens’ supporters might have to swap Clark Fork royal blue for NIC’s maroon and gray, they have already made plans to watch her compete.
“We’ll definitely be skipping practice to watch her play,” Adams said.
Over the past five years, NIC has sent 20 players to four-year programs — including Division I schools Gonzaga, University of Idaho and Detroit Mercy. Stevens is one of five members in the Cardinals’ freshman class.