4A/3A (2020 record and finish)
Central Valley (23-3, 12-2; first): Not a bad way to start. Coach Felice Orrell stepped in late in preseason last season an guided the Bears to a State 4A title and GSL Coach of the Year award in her first season. Though point guard and vocal team leader Peyton Howard has graduated to the college ranks, there’s plenty left and the Bears would have been ranked in the top three in the state again. All-state players MJ Bruno and Chloe Williams and versatile forward Grace Geldien all return for their senior seasons.
Cheney (8-13, 4-5; fourth Great Northern): Seven letter-winners and three starters return for third-year coach Roxie Smith, including two-time all-league guard Emma Evans, guard Lexi Deatherage and post Avery Stark – all seniors. “We will be fast, scrappy and deep,” Smith said. “We have great shooters and some length inside. The transition to the GSL will be a big one for us.”
Ferris (7-13, 4-10; eighth): Eight letter-winners and all five starters are back for Scott Ward, entering his third season with the Saxons. Second-team all-league senior guard Laney Erickson is the physical and spiritual leader of the team, while juniors Kacey Spink and Elliot Hencz and sophomore Kendall Omlin can lead scorers on any given night. “To be competitive we need to take care of the ball and rebound well,” Ward said.
Gonzaga Prep (15-8, 9-5; third): Mike Arte returns for his 33rd season at G-Prep coming off a league 4A runner-up finish last year. Six letter-winners return, including senior point guard Addie Derzay and senior wing Lydia Myers. Sophomore wing Lucy Lynn was a spark in the Bullpups’ opening win over Mt. Spokane. “We knew that she’s going to be a great player,” Arte said. “She just has good basketball skills, good basketball instincts.”
Lewis and Clark (9-11, 7-7; sixth): Seven letter-winners and four starters return for fourth-year coach Gabe Medrano, including second-team all-league guard Andie Zylak and fellow senior guards Macey Grant and Hannah Peters. Sophomore guard Ashlee Everstine is a spark. “We return a good core with varsity experience and know how tough the league is, with a mix of young players who will need to help and grow up quick,” Medrano said.
Mead (15-9, 8-6; fourth): Quantae Anderson returns for his 10th season as coach. Though he lost five to graduation, there are seven letter-winners and three starters back, including senior guards Olivia Moore and Alicia Suggs. Ninth-grader Teryn Gardner will look to make an immediate impact. “Varsity experience, along with the exuberance of youth, will bring a fun dynamic to a team that played for the district championship last season,” Anderson said.
Mt. Spokane (21-4, 12-0; first): The Wildcats finished fourth at state last season and have five letter-winners and three starters back. That’s the good news for fifth-year coach David Pratt. The bad? A varsity roster of just seven players, as several others off last year’s didn’t come out. Senior forwards Gracey Neal and Jaimyn Sides are both college-bound players. “We will rely on our two seniors for leadership and production,” Pratt said.
University (12-12, 8-6; fourth): Former Gonzaga star and pro player Jazmine Redmon takes over as coach with an almost completely new roster to work with after losing four starters to the college ranks. “This is a new era for University girls basketball,” she said. “This season we’re looking to rebuild our program and be competitive.”
Clarkston (19-7, 7-5; third GNL): Ashlyn Wallace might not get as much ink as some of her peers across the state, but her resume is impeccable. The three-time GNL MVP and two-time all-state guard is headed to Moscow next year to play for the Idaho Vandals. Wallace will get help from post Samantha Chatfield, the third of three siblings to star for the Bantams, who signed with Puget Sound.
East Valley (17-5, 9-3; second GNL): Coach Rob Collins, in his 12th year, said the program had low turnout numbers and will probably be only able to field one team this season. Despite that, a solid nucleus returns at the varsity level with starting senior posts Ellie Stowell and Mataya Green and junior guard Ellie Syverson. “We aren’t going to have much depth,” Collins said. “We can’t afford to get into foul trouble.”
North Central (7-14, 4-8; seventh): Third-year coach Timothy Lamanna lost eight letter-winners off last season’s competitive squad, but will rely on sophomore forward Hannah Hamilton, an honorable mention pick last year, and seniors Sara Patrick and Justine Tonasket for leadership. “We are athletic and if we play hard we have a chance to do good things,” Lamanna said. “Our strength this year will be defense. We have a group that will work hard and compete on every possession.”
Othello (1-19; Central Washington Athletic): Adolpho Coronado takes over as coach of the Huskies and has four starters back from a team that took its lumps last season. Second-team all CWAC guard Annalee Coronado is just a sophomore, and senior guard Maciah Tovar is a leader. “We have a good core, but will need our bench to step up and contribute for us to be successful,” he said.
Pullman (3-18, 0-12; fifth GNL): Coach Angie Barbour enters her first season with eight letter-winners back from a team that went though a learning process last season. “We have quite a bit of varsity experience,” she said. “First-year coach with a new system to learn – we need to buy into the system and have confidence in our ability to run it.” Returning senior starters Meghan McSweeney and Hailey Talbot are leaders.
Rogers (1-17, 0-12; 10th): Third-year coach Lindsay Hernandez is looking to the future. “We are extremely young and inexperienced,” she said. “The girls we have are great kids. They are dedicated, they work hard, and they are constantly getting better. If we can get them to stay committed we will have a very competitive team in a couple years.” Senior Dyani Sijohn Pascal and junior Sydney Vining are leaders for the young crew.
Shadle Park (6-15, 2-10; ninth): Multisport star Kyleigh Archer and Josey Lawrence will be counted on to lead the Highlanders in scoring this season for coach Scott Kelley.
West Valley (21-6, 10-2, first GNL): Rick Jones, an 18-year coaching veteran, is back for his fourth at WV after last year’s state runner-up finish. Jones has five letter-winners and two starters back: first-team all-leaguer junior Nevaeh Sherwood and junior post Aliyah Henry. “We will need contributions from our returning players to fill the roles left by our strong graduating class from last season’s state-tourney run,” he said.
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