Class 1A girls' state tournament preview

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDMarch 5, 2014 

KALAMA CHINOOKS (20-4)

Enrollment: 208

League: Trico (finished second)

District: 4 (placed third)

State appearances: Four (2-6)

State titles: None

Coach: Kristy Wright

Scouting the Chinooks: Kalama beat Cascade Christian 58-42 in the regional round last week. The Chinooks may as well have the largest pair of freshmen posts in the state in 6-foot Kaelyn Shipley and Parker Esary. The two have combined for 24.6 points per game, and they stand as a testament to the fact that Kalama wants to work the ball inside. That may be the recipe for victory against a smaller Cashmere club, but the Chinooks aren't without other players. Senior guard Haley Bannister will play a key role, too. With three freshmen in the starting lineup, will the stage and opponent be too much for their inexperience?

Player to watch: Kaelyn Shipley is averaging 15 points per game, but she has yet to face a test like Cashmere.

Scoring avg: 57.8

Opp avg: 36.9

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP

Player Pos. Yr. Ht. PPG

Kaelyn Shipley P Fr. 6-0 15

Parker Esary P Fr. 6-0 9.6

Haley Bannister G Sr. 5-8 9.2

Khloe Clark G Jr. 5-6 6.9

McKenna LaRoy G Fr. 5-9 4.9

CASHMERE BULLDOGS (24-0)

Enrollment: 347

League: 1A Caribou Trail (finished first)

District: 6/7 (won district title)

State appearances: Six (9-8)

State titles: None

Coach: Chris Cloakey

Scouting the Bulldogs: The Bulldogs, at this point, are the favorite to take home the 2014 Class 1A state championship. The Bulldogs navigated the toughest conference in 1A, beating top-5 teams Brewster and Okanogan in the regular season, and they have possibly the most lethal scorer in the classification in sophomore Breanna Knishka. Cashmere has yet to lose this season. Can Cashmere continue to do what it has done all season long, and that is out-physical teams with its size across all positions. If so, not many teams left can stand the Bulldogs' talent.

Player to watch: All eyes will be on the sophomore sensation Breanna Knishka, so Cashmere will need its second-leading scorer, Lauren Johnson, to play big, too.

Scoring avg: 57.3

Opp avg: 35.1

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP

Player Pos. Yr. Ht. PPG

Breanna Knishka G So. 5-10 20.7

Lauren Johnson G Sr. 5-8 10.9

Abbie Johnson P Fr. 5-11 7.4

Mikayla Sites G Sr. 5-7 6.7

Tianna Helm G Sr. 5-7 3.7

GRANGER SPARTANS (16-7)

Enrollment: 307

League: 1A South Central (finished fourth)

District: 5 (placed second)

State appearances: Nine (18-14)

State titles: None

Coach: Andy Affholter

Scouting the Spartans: The Spartans may be the best defensive team still standing. Granger held its opponent, University Prep, to 20 points in their state regional-round matchup, earning its second trip to state over the past three years. The Spartans have grown up in a hurry, with only one senior, post Brook John, and three upper classmen on the roster. Angelia Oliveros and Lindsey Carpenter led the team with double-digit scoring efforts in the 37-20 win. But the big question is how will all that youth, including a pair of freshman starters, handle the atmosphere in the SunDome against the best teams in the state?

Player to watch: Angelica Oliveros is Granger's best scoring option. If she can handle the constant badgering and height with poise, Granger might make some noise.

Scoring avg: 55.1

Opp avg: 44.6

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP

Player Pos. Yr. Ht. PPG

Angelica Oliveros G Jr. NA NA

Brook John P Sr. NA NA

Alexis Castro G Fr. NA NA

Lindsey Carpenter G So. NA NA

Mayu Molina G Fr. NA NA

LYNDEN CHRISTIAN LYNCS (22-2)

Enrollment: 251

League: Northwest Conference (finished first)

District: 1/2/3 (won tri-district title)

State appearances: 34 (104-40)

State titles: Nine (1979, '80, '90, '91, '92, '96, '98, '99, 2008)

Coach: Curt De Haan

Scouting the Lyncs: Lynden Christian beat an old state rival, knocking off Freeman 56-42 in a game that was closer through the first 31/2 quarters. The Lyncs rely heavily on their defense to stop opposing teams, but LC's offense isn't to be forgotten, either. Kara Bajema has come on as a dynamic scoring threat both inside and from beyond the 3-point line, and Courtney Hollander is one of the best players still left in the 1A championships. Can Lynden Christian do as it has done all season: Use defense to force turnovers and frustrate teams with its size? The Lyncs could be a contender if the answer is yes.

Player to watch: Courtney Hollander can affect a game in just about every way, whether it be scoring, facilitating, rebounding or blocking shots. If she gets going, this team is going to be hard to stop.

Scoring avg: 55.7

Opp avg: 35.8

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP

Player Pos. Yr. Ht. PPG

Makayla Lancaster PG Jr. 5-5 3.1

Kara Bajema G/P So. 6-1 13.1

Sally Vlas G Sr. 5-6 7.1

Courtney Hollander G/P Sr. 6-1 8.9

Karley De Jager P Sr. 6-0 8.7

KING'S KNIGHTS (22-4)

Enrollment: 368

League: Cascade Conference (finished first)

District: 1/2/3 (placed fourth)

State appearances: 20 (42-27)

State titles: Three (1997, 2005, '06)

Coach: Dan Taylor

Scouting the Knights: King's beat Montesano 40-34 in last week's regional round. The Knights are a team built around balance. All five starters average at least 8.2 points per game, and junior 6-foot guard Savanna Hanson leads the bunch with her ability to create for others while getting open shots for herself. She can score both near the basket and around the perimeter, offering a mismatch against most other guards. She scored a team-high 11 points in the regional.

Player to watch: Daylee Hanson is second on the team with 10.1 points per game and often draws the top defensive assignment, which against Okanogan will likely mean will 5-foot-11 post Jill Townsend.

Scoring avg: 61.9

Opp avg: 32.3

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP

Player Pos. Yr. Ht. PPG

Savanna Hanson G Jr. 6-0 13.0

Daylee Hanson G So. 5-11 10.1

Karly Hibbard F Sr. 5-9 8.2

Anna Parker F So. 5-9 8.2

Julia Berenson G Sr. 5-4 8.2

OKANOGAN BULLDOGS (20-6)

Enrollment: 209

League: Caribou Trail (finished third)

District: 6/7 (placed third)

State appearances: 12 (18-18)

State titles: One (2012)

Coach: Bryan Boesel

Scouting the Bulldogs: Youth will be served in this one for the Bulldogs, who rely heavily on a group of six sophomores and two freshmen to make up most of its scoring punch. The Bulldogs' six sophomores made it to state last year, going 1-2 in their three games, so they should be familiar with the stage and continue to play well. Junior guard Cameron Moses is the only upperclassman to play significant minutes, and she's scoring at a rate of 4.5 points per game. The Bulldogs have the highest scoring offense still left, too, and hold teams to little on the other end.

Player to watch: Even though she's only a freshman, Jill Townsend is averaging 16.3 points per game in the post.

Scoring avg: 64.6

Opp avg: 30.1

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP

Player Pos. Yr. Ht. PPG

Jill Townsend P Fr. 5-11 16.3

Jordyn Boesel G Fr. 5-9 12.3

Cayden Diefenbach G So. 5-9 8.5

Janice Romero P So. 5-7 7.7

Alexis Romero G So. 5-7 5.6

MABTON VIKINGS (19-5)

Enrollment: 190

League: 1A South Central (finished second)

District: 5 (placed third)

State appearances: Three (1-4)

State titles: None

Coach: Chris McCallum

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP

Player Pos. Yr. Ht. PPG

Desenay Guerrero P So. 5-7 13.8

Alyssa Nash G Jr. 5-7 14.9

Soila Zaragoza G So. 5-7 12.9

Irene Pineda G So. 5-3 8.9

Cassidy McCallum P Jr. 5-5 6.8

Scouting the Vikings: The Vikings are coming off an impressive 56-44 upset of the No. 2-ranked team in the 1A, Brewster, to earn their berth into state - their first in 28 years. Chandler Smith did a good job of frustrating the state player of the year in the game, holding her to 9-for-22 shooting. Mabton, though, doesn't have a single senior in its lineup, and will rely heavily on the play of two sophomores, Desenay Guerrero and Soila Zaragoza, to carry the load. Guerrero scored 20 points in the regional win. The Vikings love to get out and run, which could be a problem for any teams that don't go very deep into their benches, such as quarterfinal opponent Blaine.

Player to watch: Alyssa Nash is their most senior player, and she runs the show for the team at the point guard position.

Scoring avg: 57.2

Opp avg: 46.5

BLAINE BORDERITES (20-7)

Enrollment: 474

League: Northwest Conference

District: 1/2/3 (placed fifth)

State appearances: 11 (18-18)

State titles: None

Coach: Ryan Pike

Scouting the Borderites: Blaine handed Woodland its first loss of the season, 39-36, in last week's regional round. The Borderites are as tough a team as any still left in the Class 1A state championships. With that said, though, the Borderites aren't incredibly deep, and in the against Woodland, neither Taylor V'Dovec nor Breanna Chau left the court for a second. Mandy Hayes and Alexis McElwain provide some nice scoring options to complement V'Dovec. Blaine is bigger, stronger and older, and it has faced some of the toughest teams in the state. It should be interesting to see how far that carries them at state before the school moves up to Class 2A next year.

Player to watch: Mandy Hayes is a lethal scoring threat both from beyond the 3-point line and driving to the basket. Blaine is going to need her to play big.

Scoring avg: 52.8

Opp avg: 40.5

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP

Player Pos. Yr. Ht. PPG

Breanna Chau PG Jr. 5-5 6.1

Mandy Hayes G Jr. 5-8 13.0

Olivia Olason G Sr. 5-8 3.2

Taylor V'Dovec P Jr. 5-11 16.4

Alexis McElwain P Sr. 5-9 9.9

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