By the CUJ
JaLay Harris-Burns and Muriel Jones-Hoisington, cousins along with teammate Lindsey Littlesky (Pendleton, Bucks High School) & Iliana Moran (Hanford, Falcons High School) made waves in Salem the weekend of Aug. 7-8, going undefeated in the annual Hoopla 3-on-3 basketball tournament.
Burns and Hoisington are both stand out players for their high school teams. They started their careers out playing together by the age of four in 3-on-3s, mostly without a fourth player. JaLay’s mom, CTUIR member Julia Burns, would register the girls in hopes of picking up a fourth player only to have tournament weekends come and each time she’d have to utilize time outs wisely giving the girls breaks as they played without finding that fourth player to help for a substitute.
Each summer as the girls enjoyment for basketball grew more, they looked forward to those summer weekend get-aways. Summers would continue to come with each year still being difficult as Julia coached them in finding a committed fourth player for their 3-on-3 adventures. Family friend, Tribal member Elsie McKay, was always their solid third player that never backed down from the challenge, saying yes to every invite to each tournament allowing the girls to compete.
By the age of eight, teams started to recognize the girls’ missing fourth player. During a Prosser, Wash. 3-on-3 tournament, competition started to get physically aggressive towards them, resulting in a head injury. Girls had to drop out giving up their opportunity moving forward into the championship game. JaLay’s immediate family lived off the reservation so basketball was how her mother brought the girls together for bonding time between cousins. Spending weekends away together it gave a girls trip vibe, as they learned to develop their skills.
Iliana Moran, also stand out player for her school, isn’t Native American but she’s no stranger to the UIR. Julia started adding her to BAAD team roster by the age of 9 where Iliana quickly adjusted enjoying the run and gun, Native style of basketball play.
Today, still miles apart with busy schedules, the girls continue to find a way each summer on their own putting team together reuniting with each other over basketball.
JaLay Harris-Burns, a senior at 6A Westview High School in Portland, transferred from 3A Irrigon, where she notably had a career high 34 points, 7 steals, 2 assists and 5 rebounds against Dayton-Waitsburg High School. She was named to the Eastern Oregon 3A All League First Team and All-East Oregonian Girls Basketball Second Team Honors after averaging 14.7 points and three steals per game in season playing for the Lady Knights. Transferring her junior year, transitioning into 6A Westview High, she was new to big city life and a larger school, making adjustments during mid-season — earning herself a starting position once again as point guard in her high school basketball career.
Muriel Jones-Hoisington, a senior at 5A Pendleton High School, led the Bucks with an average of 10 points a game last season. She also had 51 steals, 42 assists and 35 rebounds. Hoisington made career high 17 points in Intermountain Conference play on June 15 and earned Intermountain Conference All-League First Team and All-EO Girls Basketball First Team Honors.
Lindsey Pasena-Littlesky, a senior, is also a standout athlete for 5A Pendleton High School. She was recently named IMC Goalie of the Year for Soccer. On June 23, in the Intermountain Conference District Championship, she scored a career-high 20 points.
Iliana Moran, a senior for Hanford High School, was selected to play on Tri-Cities SWX All Star Classic Team and has been voted for the WaFd Bank Washington High School Athlete of the week.