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Tuesday, October 20, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Area high school girls basketball preview

Greater Spokane League

Gonzaga Prep is given the nod to defend its league championship. The Bullpups return four starters: Otiona Gildon (senior, post), Laura Stockton (sr., guard), Oona Harrington (sr., wing) and Lauren Weir (sr., wing). “We all go in with high hopes, but we have to get to that point in February where we’re playing our best basketball,” G-Prep coach Mike Arte said. … Central Valley is considered the team with the best chance to challenge G-Prep. The Bears bring back three starters – Madison Hovren (sr., p), Megan Dimmler (sr., g) and Courtney Carolan (sophomore, g). CV will feature the two best freshmen, twins Lacie and Lexie Hull, both 6-foot guards. Hovren has led the league in scoring the last two years. “I’m as excited as I’ve ever been with this team,” CV coach Freddie Rehkow said. “We are a very hard working group where pretty much every player has the goal to play at the college level.” … In any other year, Lewis and Clark and Mead would challenge for the league title. They’re considered long shots. LC returns three starters: Riley Lupfer (junior, g), Michaela Kay (sr., g) and Janieva Bates (sr., g). “I would like to believe in time we can be a competitive team,” LC first-year coach George Pfeifer said. … Mead also returns three starters – Coreen Labish (sr., p), Sue Winger (sr., w) and Payton Douglass (jr., g). “We are a very hard working and resilient team that is learning to play together,” Mead coach Quantae Anderson said. “We have a good mix of experience and youth.” … University has four players with experience led by returning starters Emma Kennedy (sr., g) and Kaiti Pannell. Junior Brooke Bailey and Pannell missed most of last year with injuries. “Even though we have a bunch of juniors we lack experience,” U-Hi coach Mark Stinson said. “We basically only have four girls who have played varsity. The rest played (junior varsity) last year so we have a steep learning curve.” … Ferris must replace four starters. Bria Bowton (jr., g) is the Saxons’ returning starter. “We are going to be a young team learning a new system, but we are going to get after our opponents and make them work and by the end of the season we hope to surprise some teams with our defense and transition game,” first-year coach Rob Servine said. … Shadle Park also must replace four starters. Shyla Carr (sr., g) represents the Highlanders’ experience. “Our girls really get along and are for each other,” first-year coach Tom Emory said. “In today’s day and age that’s a hard thing to find. We have set a realistic goal to win the 3A districts and make it out of regionals to state.” … Rogers snapped a 129-game league losing streak last year. It was the first time in coach Tyrone Hoard’s seven-year term at Rogers that his team won a league game. The Pirates return three starters. They are: Talia Felice (sr., g), Sarah Guertin (sr., g) and Lorretta Guertin (sr., g). The Pirates have raised their expectations. “Most experienced team that I’ve ever had,” Hoard said. “They are not intimidated by any team. They will compete all game every game.” … Mt. Spokane brings back two starters – Jaidyn Lyman (soph., g) and Arianna Newcomb (sr., forward) – and eight lettermen. “This group of girls has a positive energy and chemistry,” Wildcats coach Melissa Allen said. “They have worked hard in the offseason and have the potential to compete with anyone.” … Jake Martyn takes over at North Central. The Indians return one starter, Megan Dean (jr., f). “We have some very coachable girls who want to improve as players,” Martyn said. “We will struggle early on, but I really do see us improving by leaps and bounds as the season goes on.”

Great Northern League

East Valley is heavily favored to defend its league title. Clarkston is expected to challenge the Knights. … West Valley returns two starters in Erin Higbie (sr., p) and Rachel McGlothlen (jr., p). Eagles coach Lorin Carlon begins his 10th season and expects to have another good year. … Pullman returns Emily Drake (sr., g), the league MVP two years ago. She has signed to play at Weber State. “We are excited to coach a group of hard-working athletes,” first-year coach Alison Hewa said. “We do not know at this time who the potential starters will be.” … Clarkston brings back four starters. They are: Jaclyn Meyers (jr., w), Brooke Morrow (sr., w), Charlie Dimke (jr., g) and Riley Denton (soph., g). “For the first time since coaching at Clarkston, I can say experience is a strength for us,” Bantams coach Debbie Sobotta said. “We also have more speed and depth in all positions.” … EV returns three starters: Hannah Burland (jr., g), Jordan Phelan (jr., p) and Elle Burland (soph., g). “We will have a good season,” said EV coach Rob Collins, whose team is coming off a 17-3 year. “We need a few young ones to step up and play some important roles throughout the year.”

Northeast A League

Lakeside is heavily favored to capture the league title. Chewelah and Colville are expected to battle for second while Freeman, Newport and Riverside will jockey for fourth through sixth. Colville and Deer Park drop down from 2A. … Lakeside brings back four starters. They are: Jocelyn Cook-Cox (sr., f), the league’s lone returning first-team selection, Kelsey Jones (sr., g/f), Stefanie Marikus (sr., g/f) and Shaye Swannack (jr., g). “This team has played a lot together and has good on-court chemistry,” Lakeside coach Jeff Pietz said. “I have six seniors, all returning varsity kids, that have played together for many years.” … Freeman must replace four starters. The Scotties bring back Sydney Sather (jr., g). “We are definitely in a transition phase, as we look to replace great players and leaders from last year’s squad,” Freeman coach Chad Kimberley said. … Riverside returns two starters in Julianna Trepanier (jr., g) and Haley Pace (sr., g). “We are a well-balanced team that will receive contributions from various players,” Rams coach Buddy Wood said. “Our goal is to compete in every game … and to get better as the season progresses for a chance to make a run in the playoffs.” … Newport brings back three starters. They are: Elise Cunningham, Emily Lewis and Hadley Stratton. They also have six other lettermen. “We’re excited by a our large turnout in the program (41) and early enthusiasm,” Newport coach Mike Frederick said. … Deer Park has one starter back in Savana Sitton. “It’s the hardest working team I have ever coached,” said DP coach Ken Ryan, who takes over after seven years as the Stags boys coach. “We will compete with teams in our league.”

Northeast 2B

With 11 teams with the addition of Wilbur-Creston, Kettle Falls and the newly combined Tekoa-Rosalia, the NE 2B decided to divide into two divisions, North and South. The North will have six teams – Northwest Christian, Davenport, W-C, Kettle Falls, Springdale and Reardan. The South will have five teams – Colfax, St. George’s, Liberty, Tekoa-Rosalia and Lind-Ritzville/Sprague. Each team will play teams in their respective division twice and each team in the other division once with all games counting in the league standings. … Kettle Falls returns two starters. They are Erin Johnson (jr., g) and Makayla Hall (jr., g). “We have a solid core of returners that can compete in the (league),” KF coach Tyler Edwards said. “Consistency will determine where we fall.” … Liberty returns three starters – Kaitlyn Rambo (jr., f), Christine Denny (soph., g) and Abby Karlis (soph., f). The Lancers will feature one of the youngest teams with no seniors. They list three juniors and five sophomores on their roster. … No other information was returned by coaches.

Northeast 1B

Defending champ Republic is favored to repeat in the North division. The Tigers return all their starters. They are: Shanie Graham (soph., g), the league’s MVP a year ago, all-leaguers Demi Jo Vaughn (jr., w) and Savanah Bowe (jr., g), Haley McCrea (jr., g) and Sierra McQuay (sr., p). Sophomore posts Lily Beckwith and Kina Keopke also saw time off the bench. The Tigers’ goal is a deep run in the playoffs. … Selkirk brings back four starters – Hannah Rick (jr., g), Anna Kotzian (sr., g), Hannah Jensen (jr., g) and Lexy Ellsworth (soph., f). The Rangers finished second to Republic last year and are projected for a similar finish this season. “We proved to be a very good defensive team last season,” Selkirk coach Jack Couch said. “We’re striving to become a great defensive team. We run an extensive summer program, which has contributed to an improved basketball IQ.” … With Wilbur-Creston now in 2B, the South division appears wide open. Odessa-Harrington brings back three starters. They are: Jordyn Tanke (sr., g), Casey Schlomer (jr., p) and Katie DeWulf (jr., f). O-H also benefits from five other letterwinners back. “We should be getting better every year as the girls are getting to know my program a little better,” O-H coach Kim Kruger said.

Southeast 1B

Until proven otherwise, Colton is not only heavily favored to win league but state as well. The Wildcats have won six straight state titles, going 149-4 in that stretch. They return two starters off their 26-0 team. They are: Zoe Moser (jr., g) and Savvanah Chadwick (sr., g). The Wildcats bring back more experience in sixth other letterwinners. “We have quite a bit of experience back,” Colton coach Clark Vining said. “We have pretty good depth which we hope to utilize throughout the season.” … St. John-Endicott and Pomeroy, which tied for third, Oakesdale and Touchet are expected to challenge for upper-division places. … Garfield-Palouse returns just one starter in Bri Brown (sr., g). The Vikings will be young overall. “The younger girls who are coming in are improving our overall athleticism,” first-year coach Garrett Parrish said. Gar-Pal has four freshmen and three eighth graders. “We do not talk about finishing in a certain place (standings). We just talk about competing as hard as we can day in and day out.” … Oakesdale returns no starters after splitting from Tekoa. “I’m expecting all 10 on varsity to contribute,” said Oakesdale coach Ken Lindgren, whose school’s enrollment is 29. “They have a great attitude and big hearts. They do whatever is asked of them.”

Inland Empire League

Lewiston is heavily favored to win the 5A league title while the chase for the 4A title is leaning heavily toward Sandpoint. … It appears Coeur d’Alene’s 10 trips to state in 10 years under coach Dale Poffenroth could come to an end. The Vikings return no starters and three lettermen, two of whom were injured most of last season. The two injured players, Emily Callahan (jr., g) and Maddy Scholwinski (jr., p), will be counted on to lead a highly inexperienced team. “We hope to improve game by game,” Poffenroth said. … Former Lewiston boys coach Dave Cornelia takes over the Bengal girls. In his final year coaching the boys, Lewiston won a state title. The Bengals are favored to replace CdA atop the state heap. They return eight of their top 11 players from a year ago led by returning starters Emilee Schlader (sr., p), Lynzee Wilson (sr., g) and Halle White (sr., p). Several players have the ability to lead Lewiston in scoring any game. They possess much athleticism. … Lake City and Post Falls are expected to challenge for second. Lake City brings back three starters – Natalie Wheelock (sr., g), Clarissa Smith (sr., g) and Whitney Meier (jr., g). The Timberwolves expect big contributions from 6-4 sophomore post Lauren Rewers, who returns from a knee injury. “We have some size we hope to get some mismatches with and utilize,” LC coach Bryan Kelly said. “We have several good outside shooters and we hope to create a good inside/outside game.” … Post Falls returns three starters. They are: Shayna Allert (sr., g), Sam Runkle (sr., p) and Olivia Ellison (sr., p). A key newcomer is 6-0 freshman post Melody Kempton. … In 4A, senior Kaidan Kelsey of Lakeland and sophomore Jada Simpson of Moscow are the returning all-leaguers. … At Lakeland, Kelsey is joined by returning starters Haley Rotchford and Emily Vanderhoof. The Hawks expect to improve after going 4-18 last year under coach Steve Seymour, who is in his 20th season. … Sandpoint, a state qualifier last year, will be led by junior Madi Schoening and Grace Kirscher.

Intermountain League

It should be a much improved league – perhaps the most competitive in years. Timberlake the 2013-14 3A state runner-up, is favored. The Tigers return three starters – Payten Rhodes (jr., w), Allison Kirby (soph., g) and Keelie Lawler (soph., g). Lawler was a first-team All-Idaho pick and Kirby was a second-team All-Idaho selection last year. “It’s one of the most athletic teams I have ever had,” Timberlake coach Matt Miller said. “The potential for this team is very high, but we will have to improve throughout the season.” … Four starters return at Bonners Ferry. They all didn’t play for various reasons last year. They are: Abby Skeen (sr., g), Jasmine Hill (sr., g), Savannah Woods (sr., w/p) and Kerstin Oxford (jr., g/w). “We have multiple players who can put up big numbers,” BF coach Chris Chatburn said. “Offensively, we have what it takes to get to state and make a run. If we can pick it up on the other end and get stops when we need them and play through all situations we should have a successful season.” … Priest River returns two starters in Katlyn Summers (sr., p), the league MVP a year ago, and Angel Clark (sr., g). The Spartans were league and district champs last year. “We have better overall speed than previous years and the expectation of winning,” PR coach Gary Stewart said. “We have enough talent and returners to vie for a league title, but do we have the fight in us to stay in games when things aren’t going our way. To be continued.” … Kellogg returns no starters and three lettermen. “Our team is gritty,” Wildcats coach Eli Bourgard said. “If we can focus on improving every day, we could be a surprise by season’s end.”

North Star League

Mullan and Lakeside hope to challenge defending champ Wallace. … Lakeside brings back two starters in Cailyn Dohrman and Talia Hendrickx. “We should have a good inside/outside game,” said Lakeside coach Chris Dohrman, who was the NSL boys coach of the year in one season as head coach last year. “We hope to be tops in our league.” … Mullan returns three starters. They are: Charli Sadler (jr., g), Robbyn Togden (sr., g) and Bree Ploharz (sr., g). “Most of the girls have been playing together for several years, so they know each other well and what each can contribute,” Mullan coach Sherry Leitz said. “There is talent here. We just have to capitalize on it.”

Central Idaho League

Coeur d’Alene Charter Academy returns three starters. They are: Sarah Haman (sr., p), Anna Verhaeghe (sr., g) and Jacklyn Jensen (jr., p). “If we stay healthy, we can compete with St. Maries and Grangeville,” Charter coach Doug Grant said. Charter has just eight players on its roster. … St. Maries lost four key players to graduation. The Lumberjacks return one starter, Kelsey Auer (soph., p). Several players will have to step up in first-time varsity action.

GNL predicted finish2. Clarkston4. Pullman
1. East Valley3. West Valley5. Cheney
NEA 3. Colville6. Riverside
1. Lakeside4. Freeman7. Deer Park
2. Chewelah5. Newport8. Medical Lake
NE 2B North
1. NW Christian3. Kettle Falls5. Reardan
2. Wilbur-Creston4. Davenport6. Springdale
NE 2B South
1. Colfax3. LRS5. Tekoa-Rosalia
2. St. George’s4. Liberty
NE 1B North
1. Republic3. Curlew5. Inchelium
2. Selkirk4. Cusick6. Northport
NE 1B South2. Wellpinit4. Columbia
1. ACH3. Odessa-Harrington5. Valley Christian
SE 1B3. Pomeroy6. Garfield-Palouse
1. Colton4. St. John-Endicott7. Liberty Christian
2. Touchet5. Oakesdale8. LWK
5A IEL2. Lake City4. Coeur d’Alene
1. Lewiston3. Post Falls
1. Sandpoint2. Lakeland3. Moscow
IML2. Priest River4. Kellogg
1. Timberlake3. Bonners Ferry
North Star2. Lakeside4. Mullan
1. Wallace3. Kootenai5. Clark Fork
Central Idaho2. St. Maries4. Orofino
1. Grangeville3. CDA Charter
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