There’s a reason Brooke Hare’s teammates and coach call her “Tarantula Arms.”
She’s a 6-foot junior with a 5-foot-10-inch wingspan.
She’s leading Tumwater High School’s girls basketball team in blocks, rebounds and deflections.
And she fluidly gravitates toward the basketball.
“We’ll be doing a drill, then, all of a sudden, I’m seeing this arm reach across out of nowhere,” Tumwater coach Alyssa Vogt said. “Of course you’re ‘Daddy Long Legs,’ you’re ‘Tarantula Arms,’ because they come out of nowhere and it’s just great.”
Hare will swat away a seemingly easy layup, or pull down a rebound.
“I’m just kind of reading the defender and seeing if they’re going to shot fake, or if they’re attacking full speed,” Hare said. “If they get by me, sometimes it’s easier to block from behind because they’re extending, and it’s easier for me to extend over them without fouling or being in front of them.
“So, sometimes I go for that type of block.”
Hare broke Tumwater’s career shot-blocking record at Black Hills last Friday. The five she recorded in that game pushed her total to 187.
That’s two more than the previous record held by LeAnn Teeple (née Sheets). Teeple led Tumwater to its first state tournament appearance in 1997 before playing at the University of Washington and professionally in South Korea.
“I didn’t pay attention to the record until this year,” Hare said. “And I was like, ‘Oh, I’m kind of close to that. I should try to get that record.’ I’m blessed and honored to be able to do that at Tumwater.”
The season record? Hare has that one, too.
She passed Haley VandenHazel’s mark of 60 blocks during the first meeting against Black Hills in January. Hare’s at 80 through the 18 games she’s played this season (4.4 per game), and has grabbed 108 rebounds (6.0 per game) and scored 101 points (5.6 per game).
“Her body control is amazing — her anticipation, her reaction to get there without fouling, then tipping it,” Vogt said. “And, usually, she tips it to herself.”
Said Thunderbirds guard Sierra Snyder: “She’s the one who grabs it, looks up court and throws it for the easy layin or the fast break — that’s her.”
Hare is, quite appropriately, considered a defensive role player for Tumwater. Vogt said she anchors the defense because of her communication and rotation toward the ball.
She’s also conditioned, and sharp in transition for point-scorers like Snyder.
“She’s a kind of matter-of-fact analytical,” Snyder said. “She’ll get you going, she knows what to do and where to be. She’s really smart. She’s definitely a student of the game.”
The other game Hare studies helps, too.
She started on Tumwater’s state championship volleyball team in 2014, and again on last season’s fifth-place team.
“It kind of translates to basketball,” said Hare, who is a right-side hitter. “I just think it helps a lot with technique.”
It helps Hare straighten up to stymie offenses, which keeps her out of foul trouble.
“A lot of times when you’re blocking, you’re up against the net,” Vogt said. “You can’t touch the net, so you have to have your arms straight up, you have to have your body straight up, and then you use your hands. That’s a lot of times what she’s able to do.”
And what she’ll likely continue to do for one more season.
From here, Hare can only build on the 19-year record already in the rearview mirror.
“She’s going to blow that out of the water,” Vogt said. “She’s only going to get better. For her, she’s that anchor, she’s good at everything.”