F Jadyn Bush, Bishop Blanchet, 6-0, sophomore
So smooth, yet so tough to handle.
G Jayde Christopher, Cleveland, 5-7, senior
Best ball-handler in 3A tournament.
F Kapri Morrow, Wilson, 5-10, senior
Ultimate interior “pest” leads Rams.
F Mikayla Pivec, Lynnwood, 5-10, junior
She knows only one style – non-stop.
C Lydia Giomi, West Seattle, 6-6, junior
Shot-blocker doubles as scorer, too.
1. Lynnwood (22-2): The Royals started out as the preseason No. 1 team in 3A – and are still the team to beat this week. Pivec (21.1 ppg, 12.0 rpg) and Kelsey Rogers arguably make up the best interior tandem in the tournament; Pivec’s work rate will drive opponents crazy. Placed a school-best third in 4A last season.
2. Bellevue (25-3): All those long arms and fast-twitching legs running the KingCo 3A? It is the Wolverines, who have been knocking on the door, reaching the state semifinals the past two seasons, losing to eventual 3A champion Cleveland. Maybe it is a good thing they are on opposite ends of the bracket.
3. Bishop Blanchet (22-6): Last year, maybe the underclassmen-heavy Braves did not know any better reaching the 3A title game. Now they know they belong, and will surely be a tough out this week. Not much frontcourt depth behind Bush (16.0 ppg, 10.0 rpg), but Blanchet has core group to take it all the way.
4. West Seattle (22-4): Four of the past five 3A champions have come from the Metro League – which the Wildcats surprisingly won this season. Giomi (15.1 ppg, 10.4 rpg), the Metro MVP, is a rock in middle. But with Gabby Sarver (knee) lost for the season, Lexi Ioane must be smart in her decision-making shifting to point guard.
5. Cleveland (17-8): Not so fast, contenders – the two-time defending 3A champion Eagles still rule the roost. They might not be as formidable as in years past, but Christopher (6.1 ppg, 7.2 apg), a Kansas signee, is a coast-to-coast blur – and has center Joyce Harrell (11.4 ppg) as a scoring threat down low.
6. Wilson (21-4): This is a dangerous group with plenty of state-tournament savvy. This undersized frontcourt, led by Morrow (16.2 ppg, 8.3 rpg), won’t be outworked. And if point guard Josie Matz (12.0 ppg, 5.1 apg) can get going like she did as an all-tournament performer last season, watch out.
7. Arlington (22-3): The good thing coach Joe Marsh did when the Eagles went on their run to the 4A title game in 2013, losing to Mead, was getting his ninth graders used to the atmosphere. Now they are juniors, and rely on being a more pressing, up-tempo group, led by forwards Jessica Ludwig (11.0 ppg) and Jayla Russ (9.0 ppg).
8. Prairie (19-6): The Falcons are trying to start a new championship era. The last time they visited the Tacoma Dome was 2012 when they won the last of six state titles under former coach Al Aldridge. So good off the dribble, point guard Cherita Daugherty (13.3 ppg) is the one who sets up all of Prairie’s 3-point shooters.