GSL girls basketball preview
Mt. Spokane returns five starters, the most in the GSL, including three players who shared a spot. “We have eight seniors with seven having varsity experience,” Mt. Spokane coach Melissa Allen said. The Wildcats feature three athletes who have signed letters with NCAA Division I schools – Brooke Reilly (basketball, Idaho), Kennadie Clute (volleyball, Montana State) and Alyssa Lloyd (soccer, Idaho). “With our depth, athleticism and experience, we can make a run in 3A and compete with every team in the GSL,” Allen said. “The key will be our cohesiveness and chemistry. If we can build on the foundation set last year, we can play with anyone.” … Count U-Hi coach Mark Stinson as a believer that Mt. Spokane will challenge for an upper-division finish. “Mt. Spokane looks like a college team and could have the most talent in the league,” Stinson said. U-Hi returns two starters, led by Montana-bound Kayleigh Valley. “She can play all five positions and is a tremendous leader,” Stinson said. … Stinson sees the top of the league clogged by 4A teams. … LC and Mead return four starters each. Both lack proven post defenders. “My guard play is pretty darn good,” LC’s Redmon said. Redmon feared he had lost two-year senior starter Taylor Howlett, who suffered a displaced knee cap in October. But she’s slowly building up the strength and should round into form, Redmon said. … Along with four starters back, Mead coach Quantae Anderson brings back two others with experience. Mead started slowly last year, but played its best at the end when the Panthers fell 49-48 to league champ CV in an elimination game. “We have a sour taste in our mouth from last year,” Anderson said. “We want to win the league title.” … The GSL’s second-leading scorer returns in Ferris junior Brittney Johnson (16.1). She averaged 19.5 overall with seven rebounds and 3.8 steals. “We are small, fast, athletic and can shoot,” Saxons coach Rob Coulter said. “If we can play our style we will have success. We have to force tempo and shoot the ball well. I love our chemistry. We are young and will improve with experience.” … Rogers returns three starters but is young overall. “All 11 girls can run the floor and that will be a great asset for us,” Rogers coach Tyrone Hoard said. “It is definitely not out of our reach to get a couple of league wins this year.” … Shadle Park returns just one starter, senior wing/post Kaycee Hert. But the Highlanders welcome back six other letter winners. Coach Chad Dezellem likes his team’s speed and depth. “It may take time to get comfortable with roles,” Dezellem said. … CV coach Freddie Rehkow has arguably the two best inside players in the league in 6-1 junior Mariah Cunningham and 5-11 sophomore Madison Hovren. The Bears’ big question mark is at guard. “If our guards can learn quickly and take care of the ball on a consistent basis, it will only make our posts that much tougher to guard,” Rehkow said. “We are a very young program and will find the early part of the season very challenging. As our guards adapt to the speed and tenacity of the league, our weaknesses will dissipate and our overall team play will become much better.” … North Central will field one of the smallest lineups in the league. “It’s a close group of hard-working girls who will look to play great team defense while working on improving their rebounding as an undersized team,” coach Gabe Medrano said. “We only return two girls with real quality GSL varsity minutes. We will be looking for girls to step up and perform.”
First-team picks returning:
Jade Redmon (Mead) and Kayleigh Valley (University).