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Wednesday, November 29, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Girls Basketball 4A Rankings | Defending champs have challengers

Seattle Times staff reporter

They won the Class 4A state girls basketball tournament as underdogs last season. They start this one as the favorites.

The Lewis and Clark Tigers from Spokane get the No. 1 spot in The Seattle Times Class 4A state rankings, but there are plenty of other talented contenders, led by second-ranked Kentwood.

"You've got to give them the nod to repeat," Kentwood coach Keith Hennig said. "Until someone can beat them, they're still the favorites to win it."

L-C beat Prairie of suburban Vancouver in last year's title game behind the 22 points of 6-foot Katelan Redmon, who has since signed with Washington. Redmon, a senior, is one of four major-college prospects on a team coached by her uncle, Jim Redmon.

"With four Division I kids on a team, we should do well," he said.

So should Kentwood, led by sensational guard Courtney Vandersloot, a Gonzaga signee. The Conquerors went 1-2 at state last year and have nearly everyone back.

Angie Bjorklund, who committed to Tennessee as a junior, makes University of Spokane a contender again after its third-place finish last season.

"It seems like everyone has one big dog back," University coach Mark Stinson said.

That would include Prairie (junior Ashley Corral), Jackson (junior Kristi Kingma), Roosevelt (UW-bound Mackenzie Argens) and Lincoln of Tacoma (Georgia Tech-bound Alex Montgomery).

And watch out for Garfield, eager to get back to state after winning the 2005 title.

A look at The Seattle Times' preseason rankings:

1. Lewis and Clark — It starts with Katelan Redmon, but doesn't end there as the Tigers from Spokane have a tank-full of talent.

2. Kentwood — Vandersloot, with sophomore Lindsey Moore at her side, could take Conks to the top.

3. University — Spokane school, with a healthy Bjorklund, the state's first Tennessee recruit, has a chance to win it.

4. Prairie — Might not be one of coach Al Aldridge's best teams on paper, but he finds a way to win.

5. Jackson — Top seven players return, including Kingma, making Timberwolves trophy contenders.

6. Roosevelt — With Argens and Ariel Evans, coach Bill Resler calls this his best team, and they won 2004 title.

7. Lincoln — Athletic Montgomery can carry this team, but might not have to.

8. Moses Lake — Thanks to Noyes sisters (6-5 Carly and 6-3 Ann), Chiefs could make noise at state.

9. Garfield — Chanieka Williams, Briana Lewis and feisty freshmen make Bulldogs fast and furious.

10. Lake Stevens — Got to state last season with a young team and should be better.

Others : Bellarmine Prep, Gig Harbor, Gonzaga Prep, Graham-Kapowsin, Inglemoor, Mead, Monroe, Mount Tahoma, Pasco, Richland, Snohomish, Skyview, Walla Walla, Woodinville.

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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