Around the leagues
GNL: West Valley returns five starters, but coach Lorin Carlon said that doesn’t make his team the league favorite. “Pullman is the favorite,” Carlon said. “They have a lot of good kids back.” Carlon is high on his team, though. “We’ve got a chance to be better at guard than we’ve ever been,” he said. “Overall, we’re deeper than last year. I think we have a little better basketball IQ than we’ve had.” … Cheney graduated four starters. Coach Jennifer Harmer hopes that what her team lacks in experience it can make up for with speed. … Colville returns to the league and Indians coach Ray Clark doesn’t know what to expect, especially from a team without a senior. But he does bring back four juniors who started last year. “Everything is unknown for us,” Clark said. … Clarkston not only graduated the league’s most valuable player in Jamie Weisner, she very well could have been the best player in the state regardless of classification. She led the Bantams to a state title and 25-1 record. So what does first-year coach Debbie Sobotta inherit? A team with no returning starters. “The season should involve steep learning curves in all aspects of the game,” Sobotta said. … East Valley returns three starters. “We have some youth but they’ve played a lot of basketball,” coach Rob Collins said. “Speed will help this year.”
NEA: Riverside brings back four starters including Courtney Davis, the league’s lone returning first team all-league pick. … Chewelah also returns four starters, including senior guard Britany Wuestoff, who suffered a season-ending injury five games into the season last year. … One other team, Lakeside, brings back four starters and four other lettermen. Lakeside coach Jeff Pietz expects defense, chemistry and athleticism to be strengths. … Newport must replace four starters. “We lost to graduation our two leading scorers and all-league players,” Newport coach Mike Frederick said. “It will take a young team some time to adjust and fill new roles.” … Four coaches who returned questionnaires split their picks for league champ between defending state champ Freeman and Lakeside.
NE 2B: St. George’s returns four starters. “After improving with a set of junior starters last year, we look to challenge the top teams in our league for the top four spots into district and subregional playoffs,” Dragons coach Mark Rickard said. … With not only the league’s best player back in Kelsey Moos – and arguably the best player in the region – Reardan will seek a third straight state title. Moos, the State 2B player of the year last winter, was the key cog in a 27-0 season. The 6-0 Moos averaged 17 points, 9.6 rebounds and 3.8 steals. She has signed with Arizona State.
NE 1B North: Even though his team will be young overall, Republic coach Ted Torzewski believes the Tigers can make a deep run into the postseason. … With three starters back, Selkirk will challenge for a division title. “We graduated 30 plus points per game so we will have to find a way to replace productivity,” Selkirk coach Jack Couch said.
SE 1B: Colton has not only owned the league but the state in recent years. That’s unlikely to change anytime soon. “We have a lot of experience back,” Colton coach Clark Vining said. “We have a senior/junior group who have been playing varsity since they were freshmen.”
First-team picks returning from each league:
GNL: Erin Wallman (East Valley) and Emily Drake (Pullman). NEA: Courtney Davis (Riverside). NE 2B: Most valuable player Kelsey Moos (Reardan), Chantel Heath (Reardan), Amelie Bruya (Colfax) and Hannah Dietzen (Northwest Christian). NE 1B South: Brianna Brown (Republic), Elizabeth Larrew (Columbia) and Haley Adams (Cusick). SE 1B: Payton Meyer (Colton), Mackenzie Reddick (Rosalia), Paige Vincent (Colton), Alex Overton (Tekoa-Oakesdale), Jenna Moser (Colton), Taylor Redman (Garfield-Palouse) and Gretchen VanLith (St. John-Endicott).