It has been nearly 18 weeks since the final dribble was heard, and the last bucket was scored in the 2019-20 WIAA girls basketball state tournament.
With the upcoming season delayed until at least February, SBLive Washington is releasing its preseason rankings of the Top 50 girls basketball teams in the state, regardless of classification.
The majority of this list is made up of programs at the Class 4A and 3A levels. But there is a representation of 2A, 1A and 2B programs on this list as well.
PRESEASON GIRLS BASKETBALL TOP 50
1. WOODINVILLE (4A)
Last season: 28-1 record; reached 4A title game
Falcons keep knocking on door with deep playoff runs, and return nucleus of talented, up-tempo lineup, led by reigning 4A player of the year and Montana State signee Mia Hughes and emerging junior Veronica Sheffey. Team has racked up 74 wins in past three seasons.
2. CENTRAL VALLEY (4A)
Last season: 23-3 record; won 4A championship
Was it a surprise the tough-as-nails Bears won it all in 2020? Maybe for the outside world – but not them. A big reason was that this cast of juniors found their voice last season, led by Portland signee MJ Bruno. Tough challenge will be finding Peyton Howard’s replacement at point guard.
3. GLACIER PEAK (4A)
Last season: 23-5 record; reached 4A semifinals
There was a reason why the Grizzlies were SBLive’s preseason No. 1 in 4A last season – it is because they are good. And now they are mostly seniors, paced by fast-hands disruptor Aaliyah Collins and ultra-competitive Maya Erling. In their case, it’s not too late for the cream to rise to the top.
4. EASTSIDE CATHOLIC (3A)
Last season: 26-3 record; reached 3A semifinals
In the span of a regular season, the Crusaders went from ninth-grade phenoms to state favorites. But they were upended by Lake Washington in the Tacoma Dome. Some faces have departed, but as long as mature-beyond-her-years Malia Samuels is in the fold – they’re 3A contenders.
5. CHIAWANA (4A)
Last season: 23-5 record; reached 4A quarterfinals
With the offseason addition of scorer Aniyah Heavens, there might not be a more talented starting five than this Tri-Cities bunch. Question is – how will they all mesh? That very well could be left in the hands of do-everything guard Talia Von Oelhoffen, an Oregon State signee.
6. LYNDEN CHRISTIAN (1A)
Last season: 27-1 record; won 1A championship
Yes, the Lyncs will be remembered as the team that spoiled Hailey Van Lith’s last hurrah, but make no mistake – this is the most dominant small-school program in state history. They are a machine, and will take their cue from Wyoming signee Emily Mellema, one of the state’s top point guards.
7. ARLINGTON (3A)
Last season: 24-3 record; advanced to 3A semifinals
Joe Marsh’s group has one mission – creating chaos. And the Eagles’ breakneck pace is right up there with anybody from the Metro League. What makes this squad different – and a state contender – is 6-footer Jenna Villa, a legitimate frontcourt playmaker to supplement the scrappy guards.
8. LAKE WASHINGTON (3A)
Last season: 22-7 record; reached 3A title game
If you were filling out what a quality team at every position should look like on paper, the reigning 3A runners-up might be your model. They have shooters, screeners, shot-blockers – and a point guard to make it all go in junior Rosa Smith. Young group grew up big last March.
9. ISSAQUAH (4A)
Last season: 22-10 record; reached 4A quarterfinals
There are a few who feel the Eagles could give Woodinville all it can handle in the 4A KingCo. And the biggest reason is the quality transition game coach Doug Randall has installed. Slashing Army signee Alivia Stephens is their star, but Keira Hanson is their most vital piece at point guard.
10. GARFIELD (3A)
Last season: 23-7 record; won 3A championship
The star-studded old wave went out with a bang by capturing the school’s fourth state title. The new wave of talent is just as promising, led by incoming ninth grader Katie Fiso, one of the nation’s top class-of-2024 point guards. It might take time to jell, but the Bulldogs’ ceiling is scary.
11. MOUNT SPOKANE (3A)
Last season: 21-4 record; reached 3A quarterfinals
Central Valley won the 4A title, but it was these Wildcats who swept through the 4A/3A Greater Spokane League (12-0). Even though they lost a lot of last year’s nucleus, including UW-bound Jayda Noble, they still have a pair of big athletes in breakout candidates Gracey Neal and Jaimyn Sides.
12. MOSES LAKE (4A)
Last season: 20-5 record; reached 4A quarterfinals
The 4A CBBN champions have a fluid, adjustable system that has stood tall over the years. And even without graduated Madisyn Clark, the Chiefs have another high-IQ, athletic group. Interior enforcer Meagan Karstetter will set a stout defensive tone, and Anna Olson can play either guard position.
13. CAMAS (4A)
Last season: 16-12 record; reached 4A first round
Multi-skilled post presence (Cal Poly signee Faith Bergstrom) – check! Defensive-minded floor leader (Katelynn Forner) – check! Now, the Papermakers bring in a wave of talented scorers in three ninth graders to add to a deep and battle-tested mix of returners – and 4A GSHL favorites.
14. TAHOMA (4A)
Last season: 17-6 record; reached 4A districts
The 4A NPSL is going to be crawling with standout sophomores – none better than point guard Hope Hassmann, whose all-around game can rival anybody in the class of 2023. Backcourt mate Angie Cavanaugh can really shoot it, and Bears’ up-tempo style should offset some frontcourt losses.
15. BETHEL (4A)
Last season: 24-3 record; reached 3A quarterfinals
It’s been a long time coming, but this is point guard (and Portland State signee) Esmeralda Morales’ team now. Question is, who are her running mates? Forward Alyssa Smith (knee) is working her way back, but the Braves have two scoring newcomers – Foai Pulu and Meleilana Laupati.
16. UNION (4A)
Last season: 21-7 record; reached 4A semifinals
Based on their deep run to the final four, you could make an argument the Titans deserve to be the 4A GSHL favorites, especially with two-way terror Lolo Weatherspoon pacing the backcourt. She will need to score more now that graduated league MVP Mason Oberg is at Western Washington.
17. KENTWOOD (4A)
Last season: 19-8 record; reached 4A regionals
With their top eight players returning, the Conks were top-20 locks – and have room to make a jump up. They are guard-dominated, led by creative playmaker Jersey Huerta, a 4A NPSL MVP candidate. Sister Savannah Huerta and Kaimyla Nolen also are proven backcourt weapons.
18. SEATTLE PREP (3A)
Last season: 21-10 record; reached 3A quarterfinals
They just hover around as the Metro League’s third-best team – but still one of the contending programs in 3A. The Panthers have building-block talent in seniors Tamia Stricklin (Fresno State signee) and Molly Moffitt, who each can carry the scoring load on a nightly basis – against any defense.
19. ELLENSBURG (2A)
Last season: 24-3 record; reached 2A quarterfinals
Plenty of sunny days are ahead for the consensus No. 1 squad in 2A. Why? The Bulldogs keep bringing waves of talent aboard. Scoring wing player Dylan Phillip is as clutch as they come, but high-ceiling sophomore Olivia Anderson (6-4) is the one that will attract NCAA Division I recruiters.
20. LAKE STEVENS (4A)
Last season: 19-6 record; reached 4A regionals
Talk about a team with all the championship ingredients, the Vikings have it all with size (Camillie Jentzsch, Cori Wilcox), ball-handling (Baylor Thomas) and shooting (Chloe Pattison, Emma Lund). They should be just fine without graduated 4A Wesco MVP Raigan Reed.
21. INGLEMOOR (4A)
Last season: 18-7 record; reached 4A districts
An intriguing group, even with point-guard questions past graduated Lucy Young. Junior Colbi Zorich could be the 4A KingCo’s next great player, and if Isabella Reed returns from Arizona – the Vikings could be a big-time sleeper.
22. LINCOLN OF TACOMA (3A)
Last season: 19-7 record; reached 3A first round
The swagger is back in Abes territory, and it’s fueled by harassing in-your-face guard pressure and a post player in Sharayah Johnson who is meaner and leaner as a senior, and ready to make that sustained splash.
23. HUDSON’S BAY (2A)
Last season: 20-7 record; reached 3A first round
If floor general Aniyah Hampton can stay healthy, this is a 2A title contender. Eastern Washington signee Jaydia Martin is better-suited to roam as a scorer – and Peytin Ballard as a lockdown defender.
24. LA SALLE (1A)
Last season: 21-5 record; advanced to 1A semifinals
You can never sell this 1A powerhouse short, especially when the Lightning has the best big girl around in Boise State signee Trista Hull. Group of soccer-player-turned guards just never lets opponents get comfortable.
25. DECATUR (4A)
Last season: 17-9 record; reached 4A regionals
Yes, the Gators are scoring-challenged. They know it – and make it as difficult as possible for other teams to get their points. Sophomore Jewel Young runs the show, and wins on strength and toughness.
26. SUNNYSIDE (4A)
Last season: 14-8 record; reached 4A regionals
With improved depth, and a two-way impact point guard in Analyssa Maldanado, expect the Grizzlies to get back to utilizing fullcourt pressure to wear teams out. Paris Wilson looks to pick up the scoring load.
27. TUMWATER (2A)
Last season: 24-3 record; reached 2A semifinals
The sophomore sensations are now juniors, and the Thunderbirds shouldn’t miss a beat in a challenging Southwest District. Aubrey Amendala-to-Natalie Sumrok duo should produce fun moments – and lots of buckets.
28. EASTLAKE (4A)
Last season: 14-12 record; reached 4A districts
With Keeli Burton-Oliver now at ASU, a new era of Wolves’ basketball is underway. And the Wolves like their two impact sophomores – fluid-passing point guard Kaylia Jackson and talented wing scorer Ava Schmidt.
29. BEAMER (3A)
Last season: 25-5 record; reached 4A quarterfinals
Never underestimate what coach Corey Alexander has up his sleeve – even without his daughters on the roster. Most of the action will be built around top returner Alisaundria Hardwell, a versatile and energetic tone-setter.
30. MEAD (3A)
Last season: 15-9 record; reached 4A districts
The Panthers gave all the GSL contenders fits last season, and have a terrific nucleus moving forward with point guard Kyla Momberg, athletic scorer Olivia Moore and immovable post player Jordynn Hutchinson.
31. SUMNER (4A)
Last season: 15-7 record; reached 4A districts
The top of the 4A SPSL might be changing in 2021. And the tilt of it might hinge on the health of post player Alyson Deaver (knee). Her sister, Catelyn, has grown into a go-to scoring role in the two seasons she has missed.
32. PORT ANGELES (2A)
Last season: 20-7 record; reached 2A quarterfinals
Make no mistake, this was point guard Emilia Long’s team last season. She set the tone defensively. But the Roughriders are expected to get back all-state scorer Madison Cooke. If they can quickly gel, watch out.
33. ANNIE WRIGHT (1A)
Last season: 20-7 record; reached 1A quarterfinals
The 1A ranks are loaded, and this is another squad full of scorers, led by Syracuse signee Julianna Walker, who has no limits on her shooting range. The return of guard Jazmyn Stone (knee) should also add to the fireworks.
34. ROGERS OF PUYALLUP (4A)
Last season: 22-5 record; reached 4A first round
The Rams lost career scoring leader Raigan Barrett, and no one person can replace that. But senior Allyson Pettit is the best bet after serving as third fiddle a year ago. In any case, this team isn’t going away.
35. BISHOP BLANCHET (3A)
Last season: 17-9 record; reached 3A districts
Senior Taliyah Clark can fill it up on any team, and now that ex-Shorecrest point guard Leila Hosn is in the fold for 2020-21, look for the Braves to emerge as the top team from the Metro League’s second tier.
36. GONZAGA PREP (4A)
Last season: 15-8 record; reached 4A districts
The Bullpups are preparing another young group for an extended run. Don’t be surprised if they feature an all-guard lineup to start, led by floor leader Adelyn Derzay – at least until their athletic post players are ready.
37. KING’S (1A)
Last season: 19-10 record; reached 1A quarterfinals
Remember what was noted earlier about 1A? The Knights have three college signees (including 1A North Sound MVP Claire Gallagher). And point guard Jada Wynn, a junior, might have the highest upside of all.
38. WILSON (3A)
Last season: 17-8 record; reached 3A regionals
Nobody has forgotten about Tacoma’s other great metro program, which returns its top four scorers, led by recent University of Denver signee Joclyen Wyatt, a dynamic shooter-slasher point guard.
39. KENTRIDGE (4A)
Last season: 22-7 record; reached 4A regionals
Twin towers JaQuaya Miller (UW) and Jordyn Jenkins (USC) are now gone, but the Chargers still have a post presence in nimble Naomi Hall-Schiffner. Utility guard Martin Lam will also need to fill a bigger scoring role.
40. KENNEWICK (3A)
Last season: 18-6 record; reached 3A first round
The Lions made a run to the Tacoma Dome despite missing top interior player Alexes Stein (shoulder) all last season. She is back, and will pair with all-MCC forward Madeline Gebers to make a formidable frontcourt duo.
41. FRANKLIN (3A)
Last season: 15-9 record; reached 3A districts
Another stirring Metro League bunch with lots of talent. And Junior Shaunice Reed is the scariest type of score to face – a guard who can make 30-footers fall like 3-footers. And she always gets after it defensively.
42. MOUNT SI (4A)
Last season: 13-12 record; reached 4A districts
There are big teams. and then there are gigantic lineups like the one the Wildcats put out. Sela Heide (6-7) is now at Cal, but 6-foot-4 Lauren Glazier returns to man the back end of their hard-to-see-over zone defense.
43. KELSO (3A)
Last season: 15-9 record; reached 3A districts
The playmaker who likely will end Prairie’s reign atop the 3A GSHL goes by “Nat Buckets” – Utah State commit Natalie Fraley. The junior will shift to her natural position at point guard, and be an off-the-dribble nightmare.
44. OLYMPIA (4A)
Last season: 13-12 record; reached 4A districts
This is another 4A SPSL program primed to take a big step forward. And the biggest reason is what sophomore post player Natalia McBride brings – talent that pops. Unselfish group does all the dirty work to win games.
45. CLARKSTON (2A)
Last season: 21-7 record; reached 2A first round
When you have 2A state player of the year and Idaho signee Ashlyn Wallace in the driver’s seat, you’re still going to be in good hands. Bantams have to shake off up-and-down 2019-20 and get back to running with flair.
46. BELLARMINE PREP (4A)
Last season: 20-6 record; reached 4A first round
All this program has done over the past decade is win (four consecutive 20-win seasons). To keep it going, sisters Rowan and Riley Cusack, who play flustering defense, will also need to emerge as consistent scorers.
47. W.F. WEST (2A)
Last season: 18-8 record; reached 2A quarterfinals
A more self-assured Drea Brumfield? That is a scary thought for the rest of 2A – but the Bearcats need the class-of-2022’s top recruit to be a more of a me-first scorer in the team’s guard-heavy attack. And she will be.
48. PENINSULA (3A)
Last season: 11-11 record; reached 3A districts
Sometimes the record doesn’t match the skill – and last season was an off year for the Seahawks. This team should have no problems scoring, led by Boise state signee Linsey Lovrovich and SDSM signee Piper Bauer.
49. LIBERTY OF ISSAQUAH (3A)
Last season: 18-8 record; reached 2A first round
The Patriots play in a quality league (2A/3A KingCo), and have the reigning league MVP back in guard Devynn Warms, who can score at any spot on the floor. Team has plenty of experience coming back, but still no size.
50. WARDEN (2B)
Last season: 24-3 record; reached 1A quarterfinals
If the Cougars had remained in 1A, they would have been a top-tier contender with their top eight players returning. Junior Kiana Rios is a do-everything forward who is a slashing scorer and a dynamic defender.