* CLASS 4A GIRLS
Thursday-Saturday, Tacoma Dome
F Otiona Gildon, Gonzaga Prep, 6-0, junior
Athletic scorer was GSL player of the year.
F Brittany McPhee, Mount Rainier, 6-0, senior
Can she finally corral that elusive 4A title?
F Mikayla Pivec, Lynnwood, 5-10, sophomore
State’s next great frontcourt standout.
C Deja Strother, Inglemoor, 6-4, junior
If she catches deep in paint, chalk up basket.
G Aubrey Ward-El, Skyview, 5-9, senior
Pure scorer – shooting or getting in paint.
1, Gonzaga Prep (23-1): Five of the past eight 4A champions have come out of the Greater Spokane League – and the Bullpups want to make it 6-for-9. They boast the best backcourt tandem in 4A with Montana State-bound point guard Hannah Caudill (13.6 ppg. 4.1 apg) and Laura Stockton (13.1 ppg, 4.5 apg). And forward Otiona Gildon (15.7 ppg, 9.2 rpg) is the reigning league MVP. Bench depth is a concern, but overall execution is not.
2, Lynnwood (23-1): The Royals know two gears – fast and break-the-sound-barrier fast. What separates Lynnwood them from others is the synchronicity in which they play in high-speed mode. Forward Mikayla Pivec (14.9 ppg. 15.0 rpg) can simply dominate inside when she wants, but the biggest key is how effective point guard Jasmin Edwards (10.0 ppg, 3.8 apg) is as a distributor. Scary as they come.
3, Mount Rainier (23-3): The best team in 4A not to have won a state championship in a long time. Stanford-bound Brittany McPhee (27.0 ppg, 13.0 rpg, 3.3 steals, 2.8 blocks) will be motivated not to leave the program without a ring, and is playing at an elite level right now. If forward Emily Fiso (11.6 ppg) is hitting 3-pointers, and the Rams continue to ratchet up their defense, they could fulfill all of that promise Saturday.
4, Inglemoor (21-3): A year ago, the Vikings earned their first state trophy, placing sixth. They lost some of their outside shooting off that team but still have 6-foot-4 Deja Strother, who can take any game over in the post. With their depth and scoring balance, the KingCo champions figure to stick around for a while – with their sights on playing for their first 4A title.
5, Skyview (24-2): There is only school in the tournament with players who know what it takes to win a 4A title – and they reside here. The core group of seniors, including San Diego-bound guard Aubrey Ward-El (18.0 ppg) and forward Jocelyn Adams (14.0 ppg), were sophomores when the Storm upended Central Valley in the 2012 state championship game. Ward-El is a clutch scorer, and Adams is active inside. A sleeper capable of big surprises.
6, Arlington (20-4): Remember last year’s Cinderella darling? The Eagles return after unexpectedly advancing all the way to the state championship game, losing to Mead. The Wesco champions have double-double threats in the post in Lyndsay Leatherman (13.0 ppg, 11.0 rpg) and Jayla Russ (12.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg) – and reliable 3-point shooters to pass it out to as well.
7, Kentwood (20-5): It is a ninth consecutive state appearance for the Conquerors, who won the 4A title in 2009. Guard Sarah Toeaina (19.8 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 3.2 steals), a Hawaii signee, attacks the basket at all costs, and really provides an inside presence. If defenses collapse, she can kick it to 3-point shooter all over the court, including forwards Katie Kramer and Jenny Johnson.8, Moses Lake (20-4): Even though the personnel is drastically different, this could be the start of a nice run for the Chiefs. Back in 2008, they had height and point guard Jordan Loera, now at Oregon, and rode that to the 4A title game. Now, they are smaller, but deeper and will pressure with quickness – led by Big 9 player of the year Jessie Loera (14.0 ppg) and McKenna Walker (16.0 ppg).
G1: Kentwood vs. Lynnwood, 9 a.m.
G2: Skyview vs. Gonzaga Prep, 10:30 a.m.
G3: Arlington vs. Moses Lake, 12:15 p.m.
G4: Inglemoor vs. Mount Rainier, 2 p.m.
G5: Loser 1 vs. Loser 2, 9 a.m.
G6: Loser 3 vs. Loser 4, 10:30 a.m.
G7: Winner 1 vs. Winner 2, 3:45 p.m.
G8: Winner 3 vs. Winner 4, 5:30 p.m.
Fourth, sixth-place game
G9: Winner 5 vs. Winner 6, 8 a.m.
Third, fifth-place game
G10: Loser 7 vs. Loser 8, 11:15 a.m.
G11: Winner 7 vs. Winner 8, 5 p.m.