It should be another great season of high-school girls basketball in the area, and state-wide.
I’ve devoted a ton of time trying to shape The Seattle Times’ preseason rankings for Class 4A, 3A and 2A. Am I satisfied? No, never. Because I’d love to be able to ask a dozen more coaches, at least.
But it’s time to make some tough cuts, and we all know the only real rankings that count are the ones at the end of the season, when the state tournaments are complete.
And I guess we’re fudging a bit by calling these preseason rankings, since most teams have already played. That actually helps the process some, but it’s also difficult sometimes to gauge the quality of wins and losses.
There are some really good teams that didn’t make the opening top-10s and I’m sure we’ll have lots of changes during the course of the season. For me, the biggest struggle was in 4A, deciding between Lynnwood, Mount Rainier and Gonzaga Prep — all are worthy.
But one has to start at No. 1, and it’s Lynnwood.
Cleveland gets the nod in 3A as defending champs (and the Eagles have almost everyone back). But I’ve heard great things about Kamiakin and Juanita as well, for starters.
Mark Morris is the clear favorite to repeat in 2A.
The rankings will be revised and updated each Monday the rest of the way, and next week I’ll have more time to talk about some other teams that deserved (and got) long hard looks.
And check back later for the preseason girls all-state teams.
But for now, here is the way I see things:
Special group has loads of talent and extra incentive after last year’s early exit
2. Mount Rainier (Des Moines)
McPhee twins are double-trouble and have one last shot to take Rams to the top
3. Gonzaga Prep (Spokane)
Great guard (Stockton) + great post (Gildon) = potential for a state championship
4. Beamer (Federal Way)
Young Titans made noise last year, and now are more battle-tested
5. Skyview (Vancouver)
Storm (2012 champ) might have what it takes to brew up another run to the top
6. Chiawana (Pasco)
Hodgins sisters can fill it up and fuel Riverhawks trophy hopes
7. Jackson (Mill Creek)
Kingma and Anderson make a classic combo for title-hungry Timberwolves
8. Kentwood (Covington)
Conquerors’ credentials start with Sarah Toeaina, but don’t stop there
9. Inglemoor (Kenmore)
Vikings feature UW-commit Deja’ Strother and more
10. Mead (Spokane)
Defending state champs might start slowly, but don’t sleep on them
1. Cleveland (Seattle)
Roper and Ladd are primed to held Eagles add to their trophy case
2. Kamiakin (Kennewick)
Toure tops list of four returning starters – and Braves add two key transfers
3. Juanita (Kirkland)
This should be the start of something really good for young, loaded Rebels
Really – Rielly sisters are that good and Seagulls have other weapons, too
5. Glacier Peak (Snohomish)
Grizzlies got to Tacoma last year and return eight players (three starters)
It’s can-do for Wolverines with Shelby Cansler, reigning league MVP
7. University (Spokane)
Early injuries are troublesome, but Titans are just plain trouble in the end
8. Holy Names (Seattle)
Cougars should be fast and furious and in the Metro mix as usual
9. Shadle Park (Spokane)
When Highlanders hit their threes, they can shoot their way into any game
10. Mountlake Terrace
Hawks poised for a break-out campaign with a seasoned team
1. Mark Morris (Longview)
Eaton sisters are just two key cogs back for defending champions
All five starters return from a team that stubbed its toe late
3. W.F. West (Chehalis)
Adding Nike McClure (WSU) to last year’s mix makes for great potential
4. White River (Buckley)
You can pencil Chris Gibson’s group into the top-10 year after year
5. River Ridge (Lacey)
Dynamic Jazzlynn Brewster leads veteran squad that reached 2013 semifinals
Taylor Farris is a handful and led last year’s team to a third-place finish
7. Lake Washington (Kirkland)
Tall Kangs should hold their own in KingCo 3A/2A, then watch out
8. Black Hills
Sarah McGee gives Wolves a chance every night, and she’s got help
Greyhounds graduated last year’s MVP, but have plenty of offense left
With Stephanie Somers (Idaho), Lions deserve a strong look