After a week off, it’s time to get back to the business of trying to rank the top girls basketball teams in Class 4A and 3A.
It’s not getting any easier, especially in 3A.
But let me start with 4A, where there is only some minor shuffling — and one newcomer in Gonzaga Prep, which replaces Lewis and Clark. L-C is the defending state champion and started the season ranked No. 1, but has struggled since losing star Devyn Galland to an early knee injury.
Gonzaga’s lone loss has been to top-ranked Central Valley back on Dec. 9.
Unbeaten Mount Rainier and Lake Stevens remain 2-3, and Woodinville moves up a spot to No. 4 after going 3-1 and finishing third in the 32-team Nike Interstate Shootout. Along the way, the Falcons came from behind to beat Skyview, which was 2-2 in the tourney and falls from No. 4 to No. 8.
Federal Way stays in at No. 10, despite dropping its second game of the season (to a very good Coeur d’Alene team). Auburn Riverside, which owes its only loss to Mount Rainier, is still knocking on the door.
In Class 3A, Prairie and Kamiakin still hold down the top two spots. Prairie, which lost to Skyview to start the season, won the West Coast Jamboree in Antioch, Calif., over the holidays, becoming the first out-of-state team to capture the Gold Division crown.
Holy Names, the defending champ, jumps from No. 5 to No. 3 and is followed by University and Lakes.
I thought I’d be moving Cleveland well up in the rankings after the Eagles’ impressive victory over Potter’s House Christian of Florida week before last. But then the lost to Seattle Prep in the championship game of the Slolam Slam Tournament at Seattle Prep.
Seattle Prep has played very well since an opening loss to Lakeside, falling only to Gonzaga Prep since.
So, in my mind, I had to find a way to get the Panthers in this week’s rankings. I did, putting them at No. 8, just ahead of Cleveland.
I plan to be at Seattle Prep Wednesday when the two teams meet again, this time in a Metro League showdown. It’ll be a telling week for Prep, which plays Holy Names Friday.
Wilson and Auburn Mountainview both fall a bit, to sixth and seventh, after losing to out-of-state teams (Wilson dropped two and Mountainview three). Both are unbeaten against Washington teams.
To make room for Seattle Prep, I dropped Liberty back to the watch list. The Patriots lost twice to a pair of good 4A teams, Jackson and Kamiak. That often wouldn’t be enough to move a team out of my rankings — especially since Liberty has beaten Juanita, which stays at No. 10 despite losing to Issaquah (another quality 4A squad). But I’m going with Cleveland this week, and gave consideration to the fact that Juanita beat Kamiak by 33.
The most difficult decision was not finding a spot for Glacier Peak and/or Shorecrest, each with 9-1 records. Both are deserving and next in line. I very well may be missing the boat on them and expect to hear more about it from WesCo followers.
Glacier Peak and Shorecrest play each other Friday and I’m pretty sure the winner will crack the top-10 next week. We’ll have someone at that game, while I plan to cover the showdown between Lakes and Mountainview.
Another game of significance this week finds Stanwood at Jackson Thursday.
It should be a dynamite week, and an exciting second half of the regular season.
1. Central Valley (Spokane Valley) (7-0)
2. Mount Rainier (Des Moines) (11-0)
3. Lake Stevens (10-0)
4. Woodinville (8-1)
5. Emerald Ridge (Puyallup) (9-0)
6. Stanwood (9-1)
7. Jackson (Mill Creek) (9-1)
8. Skyview (Vancouver) (7-2)
9. Gonzaga Prep (Spokane) (6-1)
10. Federal Way (7-2)
Others to watch (alphabetically) — Auburn Riverside, Bellarmine Prep (Tacoma), Bethel (Graham), Chiawana (Pasco), Central Kitsap (Silverdale), Eastlake (Sammamish), Edmonds-Woodway, Garfield, Inglemoor (Kenmore), Issaquah, Kamiak, Kentwood (Covington), Roosevelt (Seattle), Skyline (Sammamish), South Kitsap (Port Orchard), Spanaway Lake, Walla Walla, Wenatchee.
1. Prairie (Brush Prairie) (9-1)
2. Kamiakin (Kennewick) (7-0)
3. Holy Names (Seattle) (7-0)
4. University (Spokane) (6-1)
5. Lakes (Lakewood) (8-1)
6. Wilson (Tacoma) (5-2)
7. Auburn Mountainview (8-3)
8. Seattle Prep (7-2)
9. Cleveland (Seattle) (7-1)
10. Juanita (Kirkland) (8-2)
Others to watch (alphabetically) — Camas, Eastmont, Everett, Glacier Peak (Snohomish), Franklin (Seattle), Lake Washington (Kirkland), Lakeside (Seattle), Liberty (Renton), Lynnwood, Meadowdale (Lynnwood), Shadle Park (Spokane), Shorecrest (Shoreline), Timberline (Lacey), Yelm.