Class 2A state girls' basketball preview

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDMarch 5, 2014 

EAST VALLEY SPOKANE KNIGHTS (20--3)

Enrollment: 849

League: 2A Great Northern (finished fourth)

District: 7 (won district title)

State appearances: Three (3-6)

State titles: None

Coach: Rob Collins

Scouting the Knights: No. 7-ranked Spokane East Valley beat No. 6 Yakima West Valley 45-42 during last weekend's regional thanks to a last-second layup from Knights guard Hannah Burland. East Valley used a 1-2-2 zone defense and scored plenty in transition. Burland scored a team-high 12 points and added 10 rebounds for a double-double. East Valley leading scorer Alex Rankin scored nine points, and Jordan Phelan chipped in eight. The Knights start a young group, featuring one senior (Rankin), a junior, two sophomores and one freshman.

Player to watch: Alex Rankin is averaging 15.1 points and gives East Valley a true on-court, veteran presence. She also is relied on to rebound, as the Knights don't start a player over 5-foot-9.

Scoring average: 53.7

Opp average: 41.4

Projected Starting Lineup

Player Pos Yr Ht PPG

Elle Burland G Fr. 5-3 6.9

Hannah Burland G So. 5-9 10.1

Alex Rankin G Sr. 5-8 15.1

Taylor Morscheck P Jr. 5-7 5.7

Jordan Phelan P So. 5-9 7.1

W.F. WEST BEARCATS (22-2)

Enrollment: 649

League: 2A Evergreen

District: 4 (won district title)

State appearances: Nine (15-15)

State titles: None

Coach: Henri Weeks

Scouting the Bearcats: No. 2-ranked W.F. West struggled early but pulled away late to earn a 69-51 win over Bellingham during last weekend's regional round of state. The Bearcats' perimeter players shot well from deep in the first half, and W.F. West's bigs dominated the second half against an undersized group of Red Raiders. Senior 6-foot-3 post Nike McClure scored a game-high 21 points, and Tori Weeks chipped in 12 points with three 3s. W.F. West outrebounded Bellingham 33-12 and is loaded with height throughout its roster, including McClure, 6-foot-2 Julie Spencer, 6-foot-2 Tiana Parker and 6-foot Katie Hankins.

Player to watch: Nike McClure has already committed to play at Division I Washington State next winter. She has a strong post game and is good for double-digit rebounds every time out.

Scoring average: 55.3

Opp average: 36.7

Projected Starting Lineup

Player Pos Yr Ht PPG

Tori Weeks G Sr. 5-7 6.1

Raegan Nelson G Sr. 5-7 3.0

Julie Spencer G/F Jr. 6-2 9.8

Katie Hankins F/P Sr. 6-0 8.4

Nike McClure P Sr. 6-3 12.2

PORT ANGELES ROUGHRIDERS (18-5)

Enrollment: 939

League: Olympic 1A/2A (finished first)

District: 3 (placed fourth)

State appearances: 19 (15-30)

State titles: None

Coach: Michael Poindexter

Scouting the Roughriders: Port Angeles beat Burlington-Edison for the second time this season in the regional round with a 54-46 victory at Mount Vernon last week. The senior-laden Roughriders get most of their points from guards Maddy Hinrichs and Krista Johnson, who were both all-league selections, but it was post Bailee Jones that led the way with 16 points on Saturday. Like Jones, Kylee Jeffers was an honorable mention all-league selection. Port Angeles would love nothing more than to pay back Lynden for a 46-43 state quarterfinal loss in 2012.

Player to watch: Hinrichs is a player that can do it all for the Roughriders. She scored 14 in the win over Burlington-Edison to go with her seven rebounds and four assists.

Scoring average: 50.6

Opp average: 37.7

Projected Starting Lineup

Player Pos Yr Ht PPG

Maddy Hinrichs G Sr. 5-7 13.3

Krista Johnson G Sr. 5-4 13.6

Kylee Jeffers G/P Sr. 5-8 3.9

Bailee Jones P Sr. 5-11 6.2

Nizhoni Wheeler P Fr. 6-0 4.4

LYNDEN LIONS (18-6)

Enrollment: 592

League: Northwest Conference (finished third)

District: 1/2 (Won district title)

State appearances: 11 (15-16)

State titles: One (2009)

Coach: Rob Adams

Scouting the Lions: Lynden, which enters on a nine-game win streak, advanced to Yakima with an impressive 63-47 victory over Olympic on Saturday at Mount Vernon. Coach Rob Adams is known for going to his bench often, and that was again key in the regional round, when he went eight deep. Idaho State-bound senior Stephanie Somers and freshman standout Elisa Kooiman get a lot of the attention, but it is a wealth of other players that come off the bench and allow the Lions to play the up-tempo, high-pressure defense that they love to frustrate opponents with.

Player to watch: Ashlyn Morgan is a gritty player who fills a number of different roles for the Lions. She scored eight points in the regional victory over Olympic.

Scoring average: 53.1

Opp average: 40.1

Projected Starting Lineup

Player Pos Yr Ht PPG

Amanda Warner G Jr. 5-5 4.6

Elisa Kooiman G Fr. 5-10 14.2

Kaitlyn Mark G Jr. 5-10 7.1

Stephanie Somers G Sr. 5-11 12.7

Ashlyn Morgan P Sr. 5-10 5.9

LAKE WASHINGTON KANGAROOS (12-13)

Enrollment: 1,080

League: 2A/3A Kingco (finished fifth)

District: 1/2 (placed third)

State appearances: 10 (19-16)

State titles: None

Coach: Corey Shepard

Scouting the Kangaroos: Lake Washington beat No. 6 Sumner 51-44 last week in the regional round. The Kangaroos are the long shots of the final eight that made it to Yakima, making a run in the playoffs after going 6-8 in conference this season. If Lake Washington embraces the underdog role, it might be a tough out. The Kangs do have size and strength across their starting lineup with three players standing at least 6 feet tall, led by Carly Rataushk and her 11.6 points per game. Rataushk and Hanna Brender each scored 14 points in the regional victory, while Sydney Shepard had 12.

Player to watch: Sydney Shepard is the offense's heart and soul. She runs the point while also being an aggressive driver to the basket.

Scoring avg: 50.4

Opp avg: 49.4

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP

Player Pos. Yr. Ht. PPG

Carly Rataushk F Jr. 6-1 11.6

Hanna Brender F So. 6-1 8.4

Johnna Jahnke G So. 5-7 6.8

Sydney Shepard G Jr. 6-0 14

Madison Shepard F Sr. 5-9 2.8

ELLENSBURG BULLDOGS (21-2)

Enrollment: 695

League: CWAC (finished first)

District: 5 (won the district title)

State appearances: 13 (25-18)

State titles: None

Coach: Craig Faire

Scouting the Bulldogs: Ellensburg beat Colville 51-36 in last week's regional round. The Bulldogs aren't particularly tall across any one position, and don't have one dominant scorer, but they do have several players who will play significant minutes off the bench. Madison Moffat has been the Bulldogs' most reliable scorer, leading the team with 14 points in their win over Colville, while Gese Gruber came off the bench to score 12 and Lexie Bland scored 11. Ellensburg's depth will wear down teams, and that could carry them deep into the bracket.

Key to the game: Can the depth of Ellensburg wear down the short Lake Washington team? The Bulldogs don't have the size the Kangaroos do, but they do have the bodies to outlast them if the game becomes a running affair.

Player to watch: Alexa Orcutt: Behind Moffat, she's been the team's second go-to option. If she gets going offensively, Ellensburg will being looking at a semifnal berth.

Scoring avg: 56.8

Opp avg: 33.4

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP

Player Pos. Yr. Ht. PPG

Alexa Orcutt P So. 5-9 N/A

Madison Moffat G Jr. 5-9 N/A

Karly Malcolm G Jr. 5-9 N/A

Kassidy Malcolm P So. 5-10 N/A

Lexie Bland G So. 5-5 N/A

MARK MORRIS MONARCHS (22-2)

Enrollment: 783

League: Great St. Helens 2A (finished first)

District: 4 (placed second)

State appearances: 10 (7-13)

State titles: One (2013)

Coach: Steve Rooklidge

Scouting the Monarchs: The defending state champions returned to Yakima with a 67-29 dismantling of Renton in the regional round last week. Their only two losses this year came to Class 4A Skyview and Chehalis W.F. West in the district championship game. The Monarchs have plenty of size with four starters 5-10 or taller and have the ability to score plenty of points with three starters averaging in double figures. But it was their defense that stood up in the regional round, as they forced Renton into 17 turnovers and 2 for 19 shooting in the first and held the Indians scoreless for a 16-minute stretch.

Player to watch: Kourtney Eaton led the way for the Monarchs in the regional with 26 points and six steals, while sister Karley had 19 points and four steals.

Scoring average: 63.8

Opp average: 34.2

Projected Starting Lineup

Player Pos Yr Ht PPG

Kourtney Eaton G Jr. 5-10 14.8

Karley Eaton W/P Jr. 5-10 13.9

Breanna DuBois P/W Sr. 5-11 7.5

Ashley Coons W Jr. 5-10 16.8

Tayler Teeters W Jr. 5-6 5.4

WHITE RIVER HORNETS (22-5)

Enrollment: 857

League: SPSL 2A (finished second)

District: 3 (won district title)

State appearances: 19 (19-29)

State titles: None

Coach: Chris Gibson

Scouting the Hornets: White River beat Black Hills 71-63 in the regional round to win its sixth straight game. During that time, the Hornets have three wins over teams ranked among the top 10 in the state. White River did a good job of shutting down NCAA Division-I recruit Sarah McGee in the second half of their regional, holding her without a field goal until only 20 seconds remained in the game after she logged 18 points and 15 rebounds in the first half. With four players averaging more than seven points a game, that kind of defense could take the Hornets a long ways.

Player to watch: Though only a freshman, Kendall Bird has been a force for the Hornets. She scored a career-high 25 points against Black Hills, including nine in the fourth quarter.

Scoring average: 54.0

Opp average: 34.3

Projected Starting Lineup

Player Pos Yr Ht PPG

Amanda Lance G Jr. 5-7 14.0

Mackenzie Breeden G So. 5-5 11.0

Kristin Sturdivan G Jr. 5-11 8.6

Kendall Bird F Fr. 6-0 11.1

Darian Gore F So. 6-2 7.2

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