The Lewis and Clark girls’ string of three straight State 4A championships was snapped last year, but the Tigers earned a trophy for a fifth straight year (fifth place). The Tigers, who return two starters and seven lettermen, have been given the nod as a slight favorite. Mead, which upset LC in the district final, and Central Valley should challenge. Mead brings back three starters and CV returns four. … Three 4A teams advance to regionals where four state berths are available. … Shadle Park, a 3A state runner-up last year, is heavily favored to be the best out of a light 3A league lot. Four teams qualify for regionals where two state berths are available.
The reigning league most valuable player, Mead senior guard Jazmine Redmon, is back. The only other all-league first-team returner is Gonzaga Prep junior wing Tia Presley. Four second-team players are back in sophomore forward Brooke Gallaway of CV, senior guard Zoe Scott of University and senior guard Chenise Pakootas, who transferred from University to Mead.
There are three new coaches. They are Melissa Allen (Mt. Spokane), Rob Coulter (Ferris) and Gabe Medrano (North Central).
What the coaches think
Per usual, league play should make the teams battle tested come postseason. “This is the best league in the state,” LC coach Jim Redmon said. “We have eight kids that have played at the highest level. We will see how we compete night after night being challenged for 32 minutes.” CV, which finished fourth last year, is poised to make a big jump this year. “This should be a very challenging season with a tremendous amount of balance within the league,” CV coach Freddie Rehkow said. “If we continue to improve each day and continue to work toward our team’s goals, the sky could be the limit for this group.” Mead coach Regan Drew believes league will be a meat-grinder. “We’re going to beat up on each other for sure,” Drew said. “(LC) tends to reload. The bull’s-eye is on their back, and until that changes they’ve earned it.” G-Prep brings back four starters. “If our strengths of fullcourt pressure and the ability to transition the floor are utilized, we will be good,” G-Prep coach Mike Arte said. Shadle will be in the thick of things. “We may start out a little slow due to injuries and sickness of key players, but if we get healthy and get others some valuable experience, we should steadily improve toward playoff time,” Shadle coach Chad Dezellem said. Although EV is picked in the lower half, coach Robert Collins is optimistic. “We will play hard every night and I think that we will surprise some teams again this year,” he said.