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Central Valley's Hailey Christopher, right, works on cutting down the net as teammates hug in the background after winning the Championship game of the 4A Girls State Basketball Tournament Saturday, March 3, 2018, at the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Wash. (Patrick Hagerty / For The Spokesman-Review)

Prep notebook: Central Valley recognized as No. 1 girls basketball by MaxPreps

The Central Valley girls basketball team has finished No. 1 nationally for the 2017-18 season in MaxPreps’ Xcellent 25 poll of its sportswriters. The Bears edged out once-beaten Riverdale (36-1) of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

“Each fall, nearly forty thousand varsity basketball teams take the court with the dream of winning a state title. Nationwide, the best-of-the-best qualify for recognition on The MaxPreps Tour of Champions. Together, with the Army National Guard, MaxPreps honors the most outstanding teams in the nation for their state championship performance and elite national level ranking,” said Andy Beal, president and founder of MaxPreps. “Congratulations to the Central Valley Bears players, coaches and fans for an amazing year and for earning the Army National Guard’s national ranking trophy.”

Central Valley (29-0), which completed its second unbeaten season over the past three years, topped Woodinville 70-39 on March 3 to capture the State 4A championship.

The Bears, who are 83-1 over the past three campaigns, have won two state titles and five championships overall during that time. Central Valley is one of 10 girls teams being honored on the MaxPreps Tour of Champions.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to receive this award,” said Central Valley head basketball coach Freddie Rehkow, who completed his 11th season.

“It’s great for the Pacific Northwest to be recognized with this honor and accomplishment. This team was a great group of kids.”

Washington Army National Guard Sergeant Ismael Perez presented Rehkow and the team with the Army National Guard national ranking trophy on Monday afternoon at a school assembly. The team also received a banner for their accomplishment.

LC standout Smith signs

Naje Smith, who led Lewis and Clark to a third-place finish at the State 4A basketball tournament, signed a letter of intent with Cochise Junior College in Arizona.

Smith scored 27 points in LC’s 76-70 win over Richland in the state third-place game and averaged 25.5 points in the tournament.

It was LC’s second trip to a state tournament since 1964 and highest finish since 1958.

Coaching changes

There have been a handful of area coaching changes in recent weeks.

Ferris baseball coach Scott Ward accepted the girls basketball head coaching job that became vacant when Rob Servine resigned. Ferris girls went 3-17 this season.

Shadle Park is looking for a new boys basketball coach. Elijah Gurash, who replaced long-time coach Tim Gaebe this season, stepped down. Shadle went 6-14 last season.

There have been several notable changes to the Rogers coaching roster.

Football coach Ben Cochran resigned to take another position and defensive coordinator David Chambless was promoted to replace Cochran. Rogers football went 2-7 last season. Boys basketball coach Joel Soter resigned and junior varsity coach Karim Scott was hired as head coach. Rogers boys basketball went 9-14 in 2017-18.

Rogers’ new girls basketball head coach is Lindsey Hernandez, replaces Randy Hunt, who resigned. Rogers’ girls tennis coaching position is open because of the retirement of Barb Silvey.

Sites for feeder games picked

Rogers High School is hosting two all-state baseball feeders games at Shadle Park’s AK Jackson Field on May 31 at 4 and 7 p.m. The purpose of the doubleheader is to evaluate and nominate 10 Eastern Washington players to the all-state games, June 9-10 in Yakima.

The top three players nominated make it automatically through to the state games.

More than 40 area schools will be eligible to nominate players for the Spokane feeder games. The two games will feature 4A and 3A players against 2A, 1A and B players.

Recruiting expert at Mead

High school student-athletes serious about continuing to play sports in college can never start too early, nor get too much help. Most students, however, don’t know the recruiting game.

Student-athletes and their parents will get an introduction to the world of college recruiting from national keynote speaker Jack Renkens in a presentation at the Mead HS theater on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Renkens will share with the audience the lessons he has learned during many years as a high school and college coach, athletic director and parent of a high school athlete. He founded Recruiting Realities to debunk myths and present facts about athletic recruiting for student-athletes, their families, coaches and school counselors.