* CLASS 3A GIRLS
Thursday-Saturday, Tacoma Dome
C Tamia Braggs, Lincoln, 6-2, sophomore
Strong, relentless but raw. Watch out in 2015.
G/F Shelby Cansler, Bellevue, 6-0, sophomore
Tall slasher who always comes up big-time.
G Myzhanique Ladd, Cleveland, 5-8, senior
Might be quickest guard in state; Metro MVP.
G Jordan Rodriguez, Sunnyside, 5-8, junior
Real standout in Grizzlies’ balanced attack.
G/F Makala Roper, Cleveland, 5-8, senior
Nicknamed the "Sniper" for outside shooting.
1. Cleveland (24-2): The defending champs are in great shape for a repeat run, having ripped off 22 consecutive wins coming into the state tournament. The Eagles are long, athletic and specialize in pressure defense. The starting five not only has tournament experience, but the 1-2 punch of Makala Roper (16.3 ppg) and Metro League MVP Myzhanique Ladd (15.1 ppg) should give teams fits on the defensive end.
2. Bellevue (21-6): Known to mix it up a bit in the paint and control the glass, the Wolverines are also solid from beyond the 3-point line. Just a sophomore, forward Shelby Cansler (16.3 ppg, 7.9 rpg) led 3A KingCo in scoring and is the catalyst for the offense, while junior Mandy Steward (13.8 ppg, fourth in scoring) can also fill it up. Bellevue is also anxious to get another shot at Cleveland after falling to the Eagles in the state semifinals last year.
3. Sunnyside (21-3): Riding an 11-game win streak into the state tournament, the young Grizzlies feature a balanced scoring attack. The roster features just one senior, but junior Jordan Rodriguez (13.9 ppg), a second-team all-state selection last year, leads a team that can get hot from deep (18 3-pointers in four postseason games). Lacking a player taller than 5-10, Sunnyside will need to hit outside shots to move on.
4. Blanchet (22-4): The 1995 and 1996 3A champions are relatively young with ninth graders Jadyn Bush and Taylor Chambers in the starting lineup. But they’ve grown up as the season as gone along. The young guards combined for 17 points in the Braves’ state regional win over perennial powerhouse Prairie, extending the program’s first appearance at state since 2003-04.
5, Wilson (19-5): This Rams team may not have as much star power as the squad that placed third at state last year, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of making a run. Ninth grader Josie Matz’s (14.7 ppg, 4.4 apg) breakout season has helped fuel an offense that averages 61 points per game. But Wilson’s real strength is its rebounding prowess its formidable front line, as three players average more than six rebounds per game.
6, Mercer Island (16-10): Perhaps one of the bigger surprise teams to make an appearance in the round of eight, the Islanders do it with solid defense and an efficient halfcourt offense. All-KingCo guard Jessica Blakeslee (10.7 ppg) leads a team that has steadily improved. Lost to Wilson in the 3A quarterfinals last season.
7, Lincoln (20-5): After an eight-year state tournament drought, the Lady Abes are back under the bright lights of the Tacoma Dome. Led by first-year coach Jamila Jones, a former assistant on the boys team, Lincoln is relentless on the defensive end. The Abes’ guard-heavy lineup has the ability to pressure ball-handlers and disrupt passing lanes – all with 3A Narrows player of the year Tamia Braggs (17.0 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 5.0 bpg) behind them as protection.
8, University (10-14): The Titans have overcome great odds to make it here. First, they lost star Cassie Shillmam to a knee injury six games into the season. Then they made it out of the rugged Greater Spokane League with a losing record. Yet, they have survived, and need balanced scoring, led by Ashley Woods, to advance on.
G1: Lincoln vs. Cleveland, 3:45 p.m.
G2: Bellevue vs. Sunnyside, 5:30 p.m.
G3: University vs. Bishop Blanchet, 7:15 p.m.
G4: Wilson vs. Mercer Island, 9 p.m.
G5: Loser 1 vs. Loser 2, 12:15 p.m.
G6: Loser 3 vs. Loser 4, 2 p.m.
G7: Winner 1 vs. Winner 2, 7:15 p.m.
G8: Winner 3 vs. Winner 4, 9 p.m.
Fourth, sixth-place game
G9: Winner 5 vs. Winner 6, 9:30 a.m.
Third, fifth-place game
G10: Loser 7 vs. Loser 8, 1 p.m.
G11: Winner 7 vs. Winner 8, 9 p.m.