With the first big day of high-school basketball coming Tuesday, I wanted to make sure I got my preseason rankings out there.
I polled a group of about 15 coaches from Class 4A and 3A and I also received input from several other reporters from around the state. After going to somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 games last season, I feel pretty good where these teams are slotted to start the year.
From those coaches polled, most agreed about which team earned the top spot in each classification.
Garfield was overwhelmingly listed at No. 1 in 4A. The Bulldogs, who played for the title in 2008, were without the services of Washington-bound point guard Tony Wroten Jr. last season. His absence through a tough schedule helped his supporting cast develop and they enter the year as the team to beat.
After Garfield, though, a strong case could be made for most of the teams rounding out the top 10.
Curtis brings back Washington State-bound guard DaVonte’ Lacy. Auburn returns a solid core, including Kevin Henderson, who will play for Montana. Jackson returns Brett Kingma (Oregon), who carried the Timberwolves to 4A title game. Federal Way lost two standouts, but gained several key contributors. Kentridge boasts Gonzaga-bound Gary Bell.
The list goes on. It will be interesting to see which of these teams separate themselves as the season goes on. I would expect to see a lot of movement between Nos. 2-10.
Don’t count out bubble teams like Inglemoor and Skyline, who could make some noise as the season goes on.
In 3A, the Metro League is going to be a talented as ever it seems with Rainier Beach taking the top spot in the preseason for the second year in a row.
O’Dea returns plenty of talent and new coach Al Hairston has a high-profile coaching staff to mold this Irish group. Franklin has a solid core, including junior Anrio Adams. Chief Sealth could also make some noise in the Metro.
Lincoln, Decatur and Lake Washington all dropped down to 3A this season and all three teams have plenty of talent.
Glacier Peak also brings back a strong core.
I debated between Bellevue and Mercer Island for the final spot in 3A. Despite losing Aaron Bright, coach Chris O’Connor said the Wolverines had a great summer and fall. The Islanders had a solid core that grew throughout last season and they should also have a great year as well, so they could crack the rankings at some point.
It should be a fun season. I’ll be covering Decatur at Jackson at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday in a rematch of last season’s 4A quarterfinals. It should be a good gauge of where those teams are at. The Timberwolves also play Glacier Peak right away, so there are some great early season games.
2. Curtis (University Place)
4. Jackson (Mill Creek)
5. Federal Way
7. Ferris (Spokane)
8. Union (Vancouver)
9. Gonzaga Prep (Spokane)
On the bubble: Bellarmine Prep, Davis, Gig Harbor, Inglemoor, Olympia, Puyallup, Richland, Skyline, Tahoma.
1. Rainier Beach
3. Lincoln (Tacoma)
4. Glacier Peak (Snohomish)
6. Decatur (Federal Way)
7. Lake Washington
8. Lakes (Lakewood)
9. Kamiakin (Kennewick)
On the bubble: Camas, Capital, Chief Sealth, Hazen, Hudson’s Bay, Mercer Island, North Central, Seattle Prep, Shadle Park, Wilson.