Washington Class 4A girls basketball midseason update: Top players, predictions for every 4A 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 4A girls basketball league around the state of Washington.

4A COLUMBIA BASIN/BIG NINE

Girls Basketball group photo

TOP TEAM

The same two squads – Moses Lake and Sunnyside – will battle it out for league supremacy. The Chiefs get the slight nod because they have elite standouts on offense (Madisyn Clark) and defense (Camille Carpenter).

PLAYER TO WATCH

When Clark, a senior point guard, heats up, the walls usually cave in on opponents. There isn’t a spot on the floor she’s uncomfortable shooting from, and she was the league MVP runner-up a year ago.

KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR

There is another Maldonado running the point at Sunnyside – sophomore Analyssa Maldonado. Much like her older sister, Ashlee (now at Santa Clara), Analyssa is an open-floor terror with the ball in her hands.

PREDICTED LEAGUE ORDER OF FINISH

1. Moses Lake

2. Sunnyside

3. West Valley of Yakima

4. Davis

5. Wenatchee

6. Eisenhower

7. Eastmont

4A GREATER ST HELENS LEAGUE

TOP TEAM

Flip a coin among the top three teams – Union, Skyview and Camas. Each of those programs has a legitimate league MVP candidate. It’s too close to call.

PLAYER TO WATCH

Last season, Union point guard Mason Oberg was sitting on the bench recovering from a serious knee injury. This season, she is healthy – and displaying herself as one of the best all-around scorers in 4A.

KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR

Heritage isn’t a playoff team, but many 4A GSHL followers think the Timberwolves have the best player in Vancouver – junior Katie Beneueta, who helped America Samoa to a Pacific Games gold medal last summer.

PREDICTED LEAGUE ORDER OF FINISH

1. Union

2. Skyview

3. Camas

4. Heritage

5. Battle Ground

4A GREATER SPOKANE LEAGUE

TOP TEAM

Admittedly the league has slipped a tad this year, but the one thing that Central Valley does better than any team – play hard-nosed defense. Nobody does it better than guard Peyton Howard and forward MJ Bruno.

PLAYER TO WATCH

University point guard Ellie Boni has the slickest handles in the GSL, and can shoot from well beyond the 3-point arc. The Colorado State signee is tough too corral.

KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR

The 4A GSL in March. Usually a fixture in the 4A tournament, the league is in danger of missing the state championship in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2005.

PREDICTED LEAGUE ORDER OF FINISH

1. Central Valley

2. University

3. Mead

4. Gonzaga Prep

5. Lewis and Clark

6. Ferris

4A KINGCO

TOP TEAM

It is safe to say Woodinville will be a tough out this season. No team plays with a better work rate in the state, led by junior Mia Hughes and sophomore Veronica Sheffey, an emerging standout at point guard.

PLAYER TO WATCH

Hughes is an absolute joy to watch compete. She is an undersized post player who gets by understanding angles and never being outworked. The all-state performer is a double-double lock each game.

KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR

Can defending 4A champion Eastlake find its footing? The Wolves still have the league’s top frontcourt pair in Keeli Burton-Oliver (ASU signee) and Haley Huard. The new cast of regular guards must catch up.

PREDICTED LEAGUE ORDER OF FINISH

4A KingCo Crest

1. Issaquah

2. Eastlake

3. Mount Si

4. Newport of Bellevue

5. Skyline

4A KingCo Crown

1. Woodinville

2. Inglemoor

3. North Creek

4. Bothell

5. Redmond

4A MID-COLUMBIA LEAGUE

TOP TEAM

Tucked near the southeast corner of the state is a sleepy state contender – Chiawana (mostly juniors and sophomores). Everything runs through dynamic point guard Talia Von Oelhoffen.

PLAYER TO WATCH

Von Oelhoffen, daughter of former NFL lineman Kimo Von Oelhoffen, is a top-10 recruiting nationally for 2021. With her combination of size (6-1) and speed, she can dominate a game in many ways.

KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR

Pasco’s future is certainly bright with the all-sophomore starting backcourt of Mya Groce and Aniyah Heavens. Groce is the floor general at point guard; Heavens is a deadly scorer who is a future league MVP candidate.

PREDICTED LEAGUE ORDER OF FINISH

1. Chiawana

2. Richland

3. Pasco

4. Walla Walla

5. Hanford

4A NORTH PUGET SOUND LEAGUE

TOP TEAM

With Kentridge standout Jordyn Jenkins (knee) done for the season, the league is now wide open. The Charger, Beamer and Tahoma are the lead dogs – each having a standout point guard to run the show.

PLAYER TO WATCH

Jenkins, a USC signee, would have been that player hands-down. Now, Beamer point guard Aaliyah Alexander is the reigning 4A NPSL Olympic player of the year, making things happen on both ends of the floor.

KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR

How will the Chargers adjust without Jenkins and still be relevant? Expect Kiernen Denckla to be more of an interior defender, and forwards Martina Lam and Naomi Hall-Schiffner will have to pick up the scoring load.

PREDICTED LEAGUE ORDER OF FINISH

4A NPSL Cascade

1. Kentridge

2. Tahoma

3. Kentwood

4. Hazen

5. Kennedy Catholic

6. Mount Rainier

7. Kentlake

8. Kent-Meridian

4A NPSL Olympic

1. Beamer

2. Decatur

3. Auburn 

4. Auburn Mountainview

5. Auburn Riverside

6. Jefferson

7. Enumclaw

8. Federal Way

4A SOUTH PUGET SOUND LEAGUE

TOP TEAM

Rogers of Puyallup plays like a group ready for a return to the Tacoma Dome. Guards Raigan Barrett, Jazmyne Lillie and Allyson Pettit are disruptive fullcourt-pressure forces.

PLAYER TO WATCH

Barrett, a University of Washington softball signee, is the league’s reigning MVP in basketball. A rare two-way impact player, Barrett is also one of the top scorers in the state at shooting guard.

KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR

Bellarmine Prep, a 2019 state semifinalist, suffered a huge blow when guard Makiah Reed injured her knee last summer. But incoming transfer sisters Rowan and Riley Cusack have helped offset that loss as perimeter scorers.

PREDICTED LEAGUE ORDER OF FINISH

1. Rogers of Puyallup

2. Bellarmine Prep

3. Sumner

4. Curtis

5. Emerald Ridge

6. Olympia

7. South Kitsap

8. Puyallup

9. Graham-Kapowsin

4A WESCO

TOP TEAM

Glacier Peak is effectively annoying. The Grizzlies live off pressure on both ends, and if you let them get out and run, led by point guard Aaliyah Collins and wing Maya Erling, you might get caught in an avalanche.

PLAYER TO WATCH

You don’t have to be a great scorer to be an all-state performer. The rangy Collins arguably has the fastest hands in the state to get steals and deflect passes. She is the Grizzlies’ engine.

KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR

Boise State-bound Raigan Reed is Lake Stevens’ go-to guard, but the key to the Vikings’ season might be how well 6-2 Cori Wilcox and 6-4 Camille Jentzsch continue to emerge in the post.

PREDICTED LEAGUE ORDER OF FINISH

1. Glacier Peak

2. Lake Stevens

3. Jackson

4. Mount Vernon

5. Kamiak

6. Monroe

7. Mariner

8. Cascade of Everett

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