The Gonzaga Prep girls basketball team had a wonderful first one-third of the Greater Spokane League season.
The Bullpups, 8-0 overall, take a 6-0 record into 2013 with two-thirds of the league schedule remaining. Within that stretch, G-Prep must play second-place Mead (7-1, 5-1) twice.
And G-Prep must finish the season without one of its top players. Senior wing Madison Wright, who signed in November with Southern Utah, tore an anterior cruiciate ligament and medial collateral ligament. She is lost for the rest of the year. She was averaging 11.7 points and six rebounds per game.
“That’s going to hurt us a little bit,” G-Prep coach Mike Arte said. “We really liked her length (5-foot-11) and senior leadership. We’ve made some adjustments.”
G-Prep handled Seattle Prep 66-41 in Wright’s first game out.
“It was probably one of the best games we’ve played all year offensively and defensively,” Arte said. “I think we’ll be fine. It hurts our depth a little bit. But the kids are adjusting without her.”
Where Wright will be most missed is as a rebounder and a leader.
“We now lack a big person to guard a big person,” Arte said.
Senior Mary Hoffman will start in Wright’s absence.
Still wide open
That’s the way Arte and Lewis and Clark coach Jim Redmon see the league race even though the Bullpups are the lone remaining undefeated team.
“I was talking with a coach the other day and he still thinks whoever wins (the league) will have three losses minimum,” Redmon said. “With Madison’s injury it’s a big question mark for (G-Prep). We haven’t put things together with our injuries.”
University (5-3, 4-2), which upset Mead 43-42 last month, lost starter Cassie Shillam to a knee injury in a nonleague win over Richland. Her status is unknown.
“Some interesting things happened over the break,” Redmon said.
LC (4-3, 4-2) was without senior wing Taylor Howlett, who reinjured her knee. She’s expected back this week and will likely be wearing a brace, Redmon said.
14-0 and rolling along
If you had told Post Falls girls basketball coach Marc Allert at the start of the year that his team would be 14-0 going into 2013 he would have laughed.
“No way,” Allert said.
The Trojans, 2-0 in the 5A Inland Empire League and ranked No. 1 in the state, have benefited from many contributions including a bench that goes 10 deep.
Post Falls also received a nice present when former University standout Hallie Gennett, a first-team all-GSL pick last year, transferred. Gennett has had a big impact joining returning starters Dani Failor, Brooke Litalien and Katie King – all of whom she’s played AAU with over the years.
“Last year we relied heavily on Dani and Brooke,” Allert said. “If they didn’t score we were in trouble. This year it’s basically been a team effort. We haven’t had to rely on one person. Six different kids have led us in scoring. That’s what I’m most pleased about.”
Post Falls thumped two-time defending state champ Lewiston 65-32 in November. The Trojans have a rematch at Lewiston this month and must play Coeur d’Alene twice, beginning with a game at CdA on Tuesday.
Wrestlers ready to return
December is always a busy month for area wrestling teams, capped by the traditionally difficult Tri-State tournament.
But January begins the grind to the postseason. Two of the area’s best teams, Post Falls and Mead, are ready to get going.
Post Falls, state runner-up behind 5A state champ Lewiston last year, finished ninth at Tri-State, 7.5 points behind Lewiston. Then the Trojans went to the Best of the West tourney in Pasco and defeated Lewiston in the dual championship match. The next day the Trojans won a single-elimination team tourney.
“It was a nice way to go into Christmas,” PF coach Pete Reardon said. “Our kids wrestled well. The best way to describe it was it was a great team effort. Beating Lewiston was a real eye opener for the team. The sky’s the limit for this team.”
Post Falls heads to the Rollie Lane tourney in Nampa this weekend.
The following week Post Falls will host the River City Duals, which will include Tri-State champ Hermiston. PF will tangle with Hermiston in a pre-tourney dual.
Mead has been resting since Tri-State, but there won’t be much time for rest for the Panthers from this point on.
The Panthers participate for a second year in the Hall of Fame Duals at Moses Lake on Saturday. It pits the top four teams in the state – Lake Stevens, Mead, Tahoma and Graham Kapowsin – with Central Valley and Moses Lake.
Action picks up in Greater Spokane League duals beginning next Wednesday when Mead travels to University. And on Jan. 16, CV is at Mead. Both matches begin at 7.
Mead coach Phil McLean isn’t sure his team can challenge for a state title. At least not yet.
“If they can make a jump in the next month and believe, they could be right in the mix,” McLean said.