Washington Class 3A girls basketball midseason update: Top players, predictions for every 3A league

With the 2019-20 high school girls basketball season at the halfway point, we’re taking an inside look at the top teams, best players, emerging X-factors and projected standings for each Class 3A girls basketball league around the state of Washington.

3A GREATER ST. HELENS LEAGUE

TOP TEAM

It would be foolish to bet against a program (Prairie) that not only has won 22 league titles in a row, but 208 consecutive games against league opponents. And the Falcons won the 3A title last season.

PLAYER TO WATCH

Hudson’s Bay sophomore Aniyah Hampton is one of those flashy point guards that come around every so often. She can facilitate the Eagles’ fastbreak offense to perfection.

KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR

Can this all-underclassmen Hudson’s Bay nucleus win big road games on its way to its first league title since 2007? Hampton’s return (knee) will give the Eagles a big boost.

PREDICTED LEAGUE ORDER OF FINISH

1. Hudson’s Bay

2. Prairie

3. Kelso

4. Mountain View

5. Evergreen of Vancouver

6. Fort Vancouver

3A GREATER SPOKANE LEAGUE

TOP TEAM

Last season, Mount Spokane lost in the 3A title game to Prairie. The Wildcats return their best player in UW signee Jayda Noble, and have a nice blend of experience and up-and-coming underclassmen.

PLAYER TO WATCH

The best word to describe Noble’s style – smooth. The 6-foot senior has no weakness in her game, and might be the most fierce rebounding guard in the state. She is a legitimate state player of the year candidate.

KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR

Is there anybody else to track? North Central is coming off back-to-back winning seasons, but all-time scoring leader Quincy McDeid graduated and is now at Whitworth – and the Indians need to find another go-to scorer.

PREDICTED LEAGUE ORDER OF FINISH

1. Mount Spokane

2. North Central

3. Shadle Park

4. Rogers of Spokane

3A KINGCO

TOP TEAM

If you want to follow a promising upstart with a bevy of youthful talent, Lake Washington is your team. The Kangaroos have speed, height – and play a mean brand of defense.

PLAYER TO WATCH

Rosa Smith won’t dazzle you with numbers, but the sophomore point guard makes the Kangaroos’ attack go. With her quickness, she can wreck a defense single-handedly.

KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR

What is Kara Choi’s future? The two-time 2A/3A KingCo player of the year has been a fantastic playmaker at Bellevue, but she is leaving the prep ranks to concentrate on making the South Korean National Team.

PREDICTED LEAGUE ORDER OF FINISH

1. Lake Washington

2. Juanita

3. Bellevue

4. Interlake

5. Mercer Island

3A METRO LEAGUE

TOP TEAM

Garfield might be the most talented team in the state, regardless of classification. Led by five-star forward Dalayah Daniels, Bulldogs have been in state semifinals in each of past two seasons.

PLAYER TO WATCH

At 6-foot-4 with great hops and long wing span, Daniels already owns the paint, especially defensively. The California signee is also an underrated perimeter threat – and edgy enough to fight for any loose ball.

KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR

It is rare we mention newcomers, but Eastside Catholic point guard Malia Samuels is no ordinary ninth grader. She put on a show at last summer’s Jr. NBA Global Championships, and leads this exciting young group.

PREDICTED LEAGUE ORDER OF FINISH

3A Metro Mountain

1. Eastside Catholic

2. Seattle Prep

3. Bishop Blanchet

4. Lakeside

5. Bainbridge

6. Holy Names

3A Metro Valley

1. Garfield

2. Franklin

3. Ingraham

4. Nathan Hale

5. Cleveland

6. Lincoln of Seattle

3A Metro Sound

1. Roosevelt

2. Rainier Beach

3. Ballard

4. West Seattle

5. Chief Sealth

3A MID COLUMBIA CONFERENCE

TOP TEAM

For the past half-decade, Kennewick played in the shadow of state contender Kamiakin in the MCC. Not anymore. The tough-minded Lions have one of the best front courts around.

PLAYER TO WATCH

Hawaii signee Meilani McBee just does what Kennewick needs to win games – defend, rebound, take a charge and hit a bucket. She brings the best kind of fortitude. 

KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR

Quick, who is the only non-Kennewick player to score 20 or more points in a game? It is Kamiakin junior Amani Davis, who takes go-to reins from graduated Oumou Toure.

PREDICTED LEAGUE ORDER OF FINISH

1. Kennewick

2. Hermiston (Ore.)

3. Kamiakin

4. Southridge

3A PIERCE COUNTY LEAGUE

TOP TEAM

With a game-changing point guard in Esmeralda Morales and top-flight forward in Tiarra Brown, defending champion Bethel is a legitimate state championship contender.

PLAYER TO WATCH

Few wing players around the state have the speed-strength combination of Brown, who can score from every point on the floor as a fourth-year starter for the Braves.

KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR

Two years ago, guard Joclyen Wyatt crashed on the scene making big shots as a ninth grader for Lincoln. Now, the pure scorer is trying to lead Wilson back to the state playoffs.

PREDICTED LEAGUE ORDER OF FINISH

1. Bethel

2. Wilson

3. Lincoln of Tacoma

4. Spanaway Lake

5. Mount Tahoma

6. Bonney Lake

7. Stadium

8. Lakes

3A SOUTH SOUND CONFERENCE

TOP TEAM

There are four teams that can win the SSC, but our pick is offensive-minded Yelm, which has four scorers who can go off for 20-plus points on any given night. School’s last crown came in 2013.

PLAYER TO WATCH

Senior Maddie Plevyak can score at any level. And the combo guard adjusts well to what defenses give her. Third-year starter is headed to Pacific Lutheran University.

KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR

How much will Timberline improve in a short amount of time. Former state championship-winning coach Tom Kelly (W.F. West) will have Blazers up and running sooner rather than later.

PREDICTED LEAGUE ORDER OF FINISH

1. Yelm

2. Capital

3. Peninsula

4. Gig Harbor

5. Timberline

6. Shelton

7. North Thurston

8. Central Kitsap

3A WESCO/3A NORTHWEST CONFERENCE

TOP TEAM

Defending co-league champion Arlington aims to apply constant pressure on both ends – with flying arms and bodies fullcourt on defense, and firing away 3-pointers at will on offense.

PLAYER TO WATCH

With each passing season, Meadowdale forward Fatoumata Jaiteh’s game greatly expands. She has always been a good shot blocker and rebounder, but now her offensive repertoire starting to blossom.

KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR

If Ferndale wants to reach the state playoffs for the first time in more than a decade (2009), senior Brianna Byrnes will have to have a big season. She is one of the best scoring guards in the Northwest Conference.

PREDICTED LEAGUE ORDER OF FINISH

3A Wesco

1. Arlington

2. Shorecrest

3. Meadowdale

4. Snohomish

5. Edmonds-Woodway

6. Everett

7. Stanwood

8. Lynnwood

9. Shorewood

10. Oak Harbor

11. Marysville-Getchell

12. Marysville-Pilchuck

3A Northwest Conference

1. Ferndale

2. Squalicum

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