I would love to spend an hour or so talking about these preseason rankings for girls basketball in Class 4A and 3A.
But I’m in the middle of trying to cover the 4A football semifinal between Bellarmine Prep and Ferris, so I’m going to have to keep this semi-short.
Just let me say that this should be an outstanding season for girls basketball in both classifications (actually, there are some really good 2A and 1A teams as well). I really wish we could start with top-15 rather than top-10, but will stick with tradition.
In 4A, I mentally started with Federal Way at No. 1 last week, then heard about injury problems the Eagles are suffering…again! I thought they deserved a break after all the ones they had last year, which cost them a state trophy. But they lost guard Chantel Dixon to a knee injury and Brittany Barrington had her knee checked today (Monday) after re-injurying it (but hopefully it’s not as serious as the one that forced her to have surgery last year).
And Ty Burgess is out at least temporarily with an ankle injury.
But everyone kept saying Federal Way is loaded, and they do have a healthy Talia Walton (UW). I nearly went with Lewis and Clark or Chiawana or Edmonds-Woodway. But in the end I went back to the Eagles.
I think there are several teams that could win it this year, including those mentioned above. And we can’t rule out the possibility of an Auburn Riverside repeat. They lost Mercedes Wetmore (UW), but still have the talented Kat Cooper (Boston College).
And here are three teams I really think should be in the rankings — Moses Lake, Garfield and Gonzaga Prep. But at whose expense? Moses Lake has Jordan Loera (Oregon) and she got them to Tacoma last year. Garfield could be back again, too, with the likes of Cora McManus (Pitt) and Rene Dillard-Brown (SU). But the Bulldogs lost guard Shaunice Robinson to an ACL, and that hurts. GPrep could give L-C a run for it over in the GSL.
In 3A, Holy Names has to be the clear favorite…again. Mind you, the Cougars didn’t win it last year. Cleveland is the defending champion, and the Eagles should contend again with Cheyenne Wilson (Utah) leading the way.
But Holy Names has Erika Johnson (Cal) and Claire Conricode (Pacific), who was injured and unable to play in the championship game last season. Pretty much every coach I spoke with listed the Cougars as their 3A favorite.
Shadle Park looks strong again and Prairie should contend now that Heather Corral is back from her knee injury. And don’t count out Kennedy Catholic, which won the title in 2009 and was seventh last year.
There are others who could win it all, too. And if I could go deeper with the rankings, I’d have Timberline, Shorecrest and Auburn Mountainview in there. I like all three of those teams, but there was simply no more room.
So, have a look and let me know what you think, then check back every Monday for new rankings.
Preseason girls basketball rankings (2009-10 record in parentheses)
1. Federal Way (22-8)
If they can get – and stay – healthy, Eagles have the talent to win it
2. Lewis and Clark (Spokane) (17-11)
Lack of depth is only concern for team with four D-1 prospects
3. Edmonds-Woodway (25-3)
Angela Woods leads seasoned team looking to better last season’s fifth-place finish
4. Chiawana (Pasco) (25-5)
Riverhawks took seventh as a first-year school with no seniors in 2009-10
5. Bellarmine Prep (Tacoma) (21-8)
With Sarah Hartwell and Simone Potts, Lions look like trophy contenders again
6. Kentwood (23-7)
Savvy Kylie Huerta and three other returning starters give Conks a chance any night
7. Issaquah (23-6)
With Maddey Pflaumer and Blaire Brady, Sabrina Norton could give Eagles a knockout punch
8. Auburn Riverside (29-0)
Defending champs lost 2009-10 player of the year to UW, but still have Kat Cooper
9. Woodinville (20-3)
Falcons have Ali Forde and bad taste after last year’s late collapse
10. Jackson (Mill Creek) 17-5
With another Kingma (Kristi’s sister Kelli), Timberwolves will contend again
Others to watch (alphabetically) — Bethel, Central Valley (Spokane), Eastlake, Emerald Ridge (Puyallup), Evergreen (Vancouver), Garfield, Gonzaga Prep (Spokane), Lake Stevens, Marysville-Pilchuck, Mead (Spokane) Monroe, Mount Rainier (Des Moines), Moses Lake, Mount Tahoma (Tacoma), Puyallup, Rogers (Puyallup), Skyview (Vancouver), Stanwood.
1. Holy Names (25-3)
Erika Johnson, Claire Conricode & Company get it done this year
2. Shadle Park (Spokane) (19-9)
Aleisha Hathaway leads talented, experience crew back to Tacoma
3. Prairie (Brush Prairie) (19-8)
With Heather Corral back, Falcons ready to return to their trophy ways
4. Kennedy Catholic (23-5)
2009 champs could win it all again with a talent like Aminah Williams
5. Cleveland (22-7)
Cheyenne Wilson gives last year’s Cinderella team a chance to repeat
6. Lakes (Tacoma) (19-9)
Lancers appear to have the athletes to play with anyone once again
7. Seattle Prep (19-10)
How many 40-point games will Kari Luttinen have this year?
8. Wilson (Tacoma) (12-12)
Young Rams fell just short of the 4A state tourney last season
9. Mercer Island (22-7)
Islanders return three starters from the team that reached semis
10. Lynnwood (14-14)
Look for a Royal return to state and keep an eye on the coach’s daughter
Others to watch — Auburn Mountainview, Capital (Olympia), Ferndale, Glacier Peak (Snohomish), Juanita, Kamiakin (Kennewick), Lake Washington, Lakeside, Liberty (Issaquah), Meadowdale (Lynnwood), Mount Spokane, North Central (Spokane), Sedro-Woolley, Shorecrest, Timberline (Lacey), University (Spokane), West Valley (Yakima), Yelm.
Information in this post, originally published Nov. 29, 2010, was corrected Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2010. A previous version of this post incorrectly identified the injured Federal Way player, who is Chantel Dixon, and Kari Luttinen’s last name was misspelled…