SOUTH SOUND GIRLS BASKETBALL PRIMER
Who will be the best local basketball players this season? Which teams will wind up with league crowns? The News Tribune breaks down the 2018-19 season in the South Sound.
TEAM TO WATCH
Defending state champion Central Valley isn’t quite as dangerous after graduating twins Lexie and Lacie Hull, who now play at Stanford, but the Bears should still contend despite state championship hopeful Lewis and Clark ending their longstanding winning streak at 34 games last week. Last year’s state runner-up, Woodinville, also returns enough to make another run. Kentridge, which won it all in 2017, and returns UW signee JaQuaya Miller and versatile power forward Jordyn Jenkins, is the top local contender and preseason favorite. The Chargers already have a signature 27-point win over Eastlake, which took home a trophy last season. State hopeful Todd Beamer is the favorite in the 4A NPSL Olympic, and 4A SPSL contenders Bellarmine Prep and Rogers also have a shot at the Tacoma Dome.
4A NPSL CASCADE
G Dayla Ballena, Kentridge, 5-7, jr. — Point guard and third scoring option on a dangerous Chargers team averages 9.4 points, 2.9 assists per game.
F Sharaya Coe, Hazen, 6-0, sr. — Returning first-team 4A NPSL Cascade pick leads the Highlanders in scoring (15.9 points per game) and rebounding (8.8 per game).
F Jordyn Jenkins, Kentridge, 6-2, jr. — Returning first-team 4A NPSL Cascade pick averages a team-high 19 points per game, and is being pursued by several Power 5 schools.
G Mikayla McAllister, Kennedy Catholic, 5-10, sr. — Top scoring threat for the Lancers has a smooth game, averages 16.3 points per game, and is a returning 4A NPSL Cascade first-teamer.
F JaQuaya Miller, Kentridge, 6-4, sr. — UW signee is the reigning 4A NPSL Cascade MVP, and is averaging a double-double with 16.2 points, 10 rebounds per game.
Kentridge (26-3 last year), Hazen (13-10), Kennedy Catholic (8-13), Kentwood (13-13), Kentlake (21-9), Tahoma (15-9), Mount Rainier (2-18), Kent Meridian (2-18).
4A NPSL OLYMPIC
G Aaliyah Alexander, Todd Beamer, 5-9, jr. — Combo guard and returning first-team 4A NPSL Olympic pick is averaging 15.6 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.4 steals and 2.3 assists per game.
G/F Taylor Flores, Auburn Mountainview, 5-7, sr. — Returning first-team 4A NPSL Olympic selection is averaging 18.6 points per game.
F Halo Parks, Todd Beamer, 6-1, jr. — Good mid-range shooter also stretches defenses, and is a strong rebounder, averaging 5.5 per game.
G Hailey Still, Thomas Jefferson, 5-4, jr. — UW soccer commit is also a hard-nosed player on the basketball court. Returning 4A NPSL Olympic first-team pick.
G Sharay Trotter, Todd Beamer, 5-10, jr. — Lengthy wing can handle the ball, averages 6.9 rebounds per game, and fits into the Titans’ up-tempo offense.
Todd Beamer (20-6 last year), Thomas Jefferson (18-7), Auburn Mountainview (15-9), Auburn (10-13), Decatur (5-15), Enumclaw (12-11), Auburn Riverside (4-16), Federal Way (5-15).
G Raigan Barrett, Rogers, 5-5, jr. — UW softball commit is one of the league’s top scoring threats, can shoot from anywhere on the floor, and is a returning 4A SPSL first-teamer.
F Ella Brubaker, Curtis, 6-0, jr. — 4A SPSL first-team selection a season ago is lengthy and athletic, can shoot and drive to the hoop.
F Emily Church, Olympia, 6-2, sr. — Big contributor for the Bears last season offers a consistent inside presence. Returning 4A SPSL second-team pick.
G/F Reyelle Frazier, Bellarmine Prep, 5-9, sr. — Returning 4A SPSL first-teamer is the most experienced piece on a deep Lions team.
G Callie Stevens, Bellarmine Prep, 5-6, jr. — Sumner transfer is arguably the best passing point guard in the league, and a returning 4A SPSL first-teamer.
Bellarmine Prep (20-6 last year), Rogers (18-10), Curtis (13-9), Olympia (14-12), Sumner (16-7), Puyallup (5-15), South Kitsap (5-15), Emerald Ridge (8-13), Graham-Kapowsin (2-18).
TEAM TO WATCH
Utah signee Brynna Maxwell — who scored 31 points in Gig Harbor’s state title win last winter — is back, but the 3A field is deep. Garfield, last year’s runner up, returns star forward Dalayah Daniels, who is ranked a top-15 recruit in the 2020 class by ESPN, and adds Lincoln transfer Faith Brantley, who was the defensive player of the year for the 3A PCL champion Abes last season. West Seattle and Seattle Prep should also make it out of the 3A Metro League, and Prairie returns Fresno State signee Brooke Walling down south. From the east, Butler signee Oumou Toure and Kamiakin should return to Tacoma in March, and Mount Spokane has all five of its starters back led by Loyola Marymount signee Aspyn Adams. In the South Sound, Bethel is the early pick to win the 3A PCL, and Peninsula, with Portland State signee Belle Frazier, could upend the Tides for the 3A SSC title.
G Tiarra Brown, Bethel, 5-10, jr. — Returning 3A PCL first-team pick is an inside-outside threat, and has plenty of playoff experience.
G Brooklyn Grant, Wilson, 5-10, sr. — Known for her outside shooting, but the returning 3A PCL second-teamer has expanded her game. Averaging 15.5 points, 7.2 rebounds per game.
G Sharayah Johnson, Lincoln, 6-4, soph. — 3A PCL first-teamer last season is a strong, back-to-the-basket post, and top returner for the defending league champion Abes.
G Hope Lalau, Wilson, 5-8, sr. — Physical point guard might be the best on-ball defender in the league, and was a second-team 3A PCL pick a season ago. Averaging 15 points, 4.3 assists per game.
G Esmeralda Morales, Bethel, 5-4, soph. — Speedy point guard is missing time early with an injury, but was the offensive player of the year in the 3A PCL as a freshman.
Bethel (22-6 last year), Wilson (14-9), Lincoln (24-3), Bonney Lake (5-18), Lakes (9-13), Spanaway Lake (6-14), Mount Tahoma (9-13), Stadium (2-18).
G Kiara Brooks, Timberline, 5-7, sr. — Top scoring threat for the Blazers was a first-team 3A SSC selection a season ago.
F Belle Frazier, Peninsula, 6-0, sr. — Returning 3A SSC MVP leads the Seahawks in rebounding (9 per game), assists (4 per game) and adds 15.3 points. Portland State signee.
G/F Brooklyn Harn, North Thurston, 5-8, sr. — Returning 3A SSC first-teamer averages a double-double with 22.7 points, 10.1 rebounds per game.
G Linsey Lovrovich, Peninsula, 5-8, soph. — Leading scorer for the Seahawks averages 17.4 points per game, and chips in a team-leading 2.6 steals.
G Brynna Maxwell, Gig Harbor, 6-0, sr. — Utah signee led the Tides to a state title last year, and averages 25.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and four steals per game. Returning 3A SSC first-teamer.
Peninsula (21-5 last year), Gig Harbor (21-6), North Thurston (11-12), Yelm (10-14), Timberline (16-8), Capital (8-12), Shelton (14-8), Central Kitsap (4-16).
TEAM TO WATCH
W.F. West is the defending state champion, but graduated its top two guards, and standout forward Erika Brumfield, a Portland State signee, is out with a season-ending injury. That opens the door for teams like perennial state contender Washougal, which features Idaho signee Beyonce Bea, and plenty of lengthy athletes, to make a serious title run. The rest of last year’s state tournament cast, including runner-up Archbishop Murphy, and third-place East Valley of Spokane, could return to Yakima in March, too. In the South Sound, 2A SPSL power White River should keep its long streak of league success going, and Black Hills, which is expected to return injured Central Washington signee Maisy Williams in January, a young and talented Tumwater team, and defending champion W.F. West should battle for the 2A EvCo title.
G/F Katy Cook, Franklin Pierce, 5-9, jr. — First-team 2A SPSL Mountain pick last season has good court vision, and can slip by defenders in the paint.
G Breanna Hernandez, Fife, 5-7, jr. — Leader for the Trojans attacks the basket and was a 2A SPSL Mountain second-teamer a season ago.
G Kara Marcecle, White River, 5-7, soph. — Point guard for the Hornets has a nice outside shot, and is multi-dimensional, adding 8.1 points, 4.3 assists per game. Second-team 2A SPSL Mountain last year.
G Makana Montoya, Foster, 5-6, sr. — Returning 2A SPSL Mountain first-team pick averages 15.7 points, 2.9 assists per game.
F Lee Audrey Norris, White River, 5-9, sr. — Slasher and attacker for the Hornets averages 18.9 points, 7.8 rebounds per game.
North Division — Foster (15-8 last year), Renton (19-5), Lindbergh (9-11), Tyee (4-14), Highline (5-15), Evergreen of Seattle (1-18).
East Division — White River (21-6 last year), Franklin Pierce (8-15), Eatonville (15-10), Washington (6-13), Orting (10-10).
West Division — Fife (15-10 last year), Steilacoom (12-11), River Ridge (10-13), Clover Park (1-19), Foss (2-17).
G/F Drea Brumfield, W.F. West, 6-1, fr. — Younger sister of Portland State signee Erika Brumfield (injured) is also lengthy and talented.
G Sophia Koelsch, Tumwater, 5-6, sr. — Veteran, and second-team 2A EvCo pick last year, leads a team of talented freshman.
G Maggie Vadala, W.F. West, 5-9, jr. — Second-team 2A EvCo pick as a sophomore had a steady presence on the Bearcats’ state title squad.
F Maisy Williams, Black Hills, 6-1, sr. — Central Washington signee, and returning 2A EvCo first-teamer, has been hampered by injuries, but should return from a broken finger next month.
F Paige Winter, Rochester, 6-0, jr. — Top scoring threat for the Warriors is averaging 22.5 points per game, and was a 2A EvCo second-teamer a season ago.
W.F. West (25-2 last year), Black Hills (22-6), Tumwater (5-15), Rochester (6-14), Centralia (13-9), Aberdeen (1-19).
TEAM TO WATCH
Cashmere point guard Haily Van Lith seems to be the consensus best player in Washington this season, and is the third-ranked player in the nation in the 2020 class by ESPN, but she’s still searching for her first state title. The 1A classification also boasts one of the top teams in the state — regardless of classification — in defending champion Lynden Christian. Locally, Annie Wright has one of the best backcourts between guards Julianna Walker and Jazmyn Stone.
G/F Isabella Foxley, Concordia Chrisitian, 5-10, jr. — Returning 1B SeaTac first-team pick is averaging 15 points per game for the undefeated Hawks.
G/F Claire Lyons, Concordia Christian, 5-8, sr. — Leads Concordia Christian in scoring with 19 points per game, and is a returning 1B SeaTac second-teamer.
F RubyJoy Pikes, Charles Wright, 5-8, sr. — Returning 1A Nisqually first-teamer averaged a double-double as a junior, and has already recorded a triple-double this season.
G Jazmyn Stone, Annie Wright, 5-5, fr. — Point guard for the Gators is averaging 23 points, 5.6 steals and 3.2 assists per game.
G Julianna Walker, Annie Wright, 5-6, soph. — One of Tacoma’s top players is averaging 36.4 points, 10.4 steals and 7.2 assists per game.