No team could beat the Central Valley girls basketball team in 2015-16.
The task will be much more difficult for opponents when the 2016-17 season begins Tuesday.
The Bears return their starting lineup.
The Bears return Courtney Carolan, who up until she tore an anterior cruiciate ligament in a preseason practice last year was going to be a starter.
The Bears will have a much deeper bench than a season ago.
And the Bears’ best two players, twins Lexie and Lacie Hull, rid their plates of all distractions when they made oral commitments this fall to Stanford.
After trying to use the “these are teen-agers” justification, even coach Freddie Rehkow admitted his team should be better this season.
The Bears were ranked 25th last week in the CBS MaxPreps Xcellent 25 preseason rankings.
CV averaged 60.4 points per game last year. That will likely go up measurably. Not because the Bears will run it up on opponents; because they have more scorers than a year ago.
The Bears limited to opponents to 34.6 points per game last year. They should lower that this season.
And in 28 games, they held opponents to fewer than 40 points 21 times.
So if the opposition can’t, well, pose much opposition this year, the Bears will need to give themselves some artificial goals like the ones stated above.
Don’t expect the Bears to rest on their laurels. They’re not like that.
And Rehkow won’t allow it.
“I already told them ‘you were state champions. You must now become state champs again’,” Rehkow said. “It’s the present that matters. It’s always easy to look at the past, but it’s the present we live in.”
The Hulls put up impressive numbers last year. Lexie averaged 18.9 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists while Lacie averaged 9.4 points, 6.6 rebounds and 4.5 assists.
Those numbers could go up but it’s likely they’ll stay about the same or even go down a tad. They’re unselfish and they’ll work to get their teammates more involved.
CV won’t enjoy the increased depth right away. Rehkow brought up freshmen Tomekia Whitman and Kate Sams last year for the postseason so they could see courtside what it will take to contribute.
Whitman is recovering from a broken leg and Sams also broke a leg, requiring two surgeries.
“We’re hoping to get them back near the end of December or early January,” Rehkow said.
Rehkow started freshmen Camryn Skaife and Mady Simmelink at guard last year along with Hailey Christopher, now a junior, in the post.
If Carolan doesn’t work her way into the starting lineup, she’ll be the first player off the bench. Not far behind will be role players Katie Hawkins, a post, and Kalle Crouch, both juniors.
“Courtney (Carolan) will be fun to watch,” Rehkow said. “She’s giving me every sign she wants to be (a starter).”
Whitman and Sams will get fewer minutes than the others but will see time just because most of CV’s games will be out of hand by early in the second half.
Rehkow sees Hawkins as able to provide 8-10 points and 5-6 rebounds backing up Christopher.
Greater Spokane League coaches were asked which players around the league would make an impact. Both North Central coach Jake Martyn and Gonzaga Prep coach Mike Arte said CV’s entire roster.
During a recent practice, Rehkow was wowed by what he saw.
“If we play the way we’re supposed to, this group is really dialed in,” he said. “If we play like we did in practice the other day, nobody is going to touch us. Everybody has improved. I’m pleasantly surprised.”
Rehkow asked just two things from his players going into the summer.
“I wanted them to come back hungry and healthy,” he said. “We’re hungry. Once we’re at full strength we’ll be one of the deepest teams in the state for sure.”
And likely untouchable.
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