Scouting the 3A girls teams
A look at the eight teams in the Class 3A girls basketball state tournament.
Coach: Stephenie Wheeler-Smith.
Key players: Makala Roper, 5-8, Sr., 16.2 points per game; Myzhanique Ladd, 5-8, Sr., 14.5 ppg; Jayde Christopher, 9.8 assists/g.
Inside look: Defending champions have not lost to an in-state opponent the past two seasons. Struggled in Sea-King title game and still won by 13.
Coach: Noah Wulbert (Leah Krautter on maternity leave).
Key players: Shelby Cansler, 6-0, So., 16.3 ppg; Mandy Steward, 5-9, Jr., 13.8 ppg; Kate Holmes, 5-10, Sr., 4.7 ppg.
Inside look: After a midseason slump (three straight losses), young Wolverines appear back in sync.
Bishop Blanchet Braves
Coach: Brian Willison.
Key players: Jadyn Bush, 5-11, Fr., 14.7 ppg; Taylor Chambers, 5-5, Fr., 10.9 ppg; Caitlyn Dixon, 5-7, Sr., 8.9 ppg.
Inside look: Once tourney regulars (state champs in ’95 and ’96), the young, athletic Braves return to Tacoma for first time since 2004.
Coach: Jamila Jones.
Key players: Tamia Braggs, 6-2, So., 16.5 ppg; Kiaira Thomas, 5-3, Jr., 11.8 ppg; Breneya Johnson, 6-0, Sr., 10 rebounds/g.
Inside look: Surprising Abes, in tournament for only the second time since 1988, must be error-free to hang with Cleveland.
Mercer Island Islanders
Location: Mercer Island.
Coach: Austin Yuen (wife Kaela Yuen on maternity leave).
Key players: Jessica Blakeslee, 5-10, So., 11.8 ppg; Julia Blumenstein, 5-8, Jr., 8.7 ppg; Taylor Krause, 5-11, So., 5.8 ppg.
Inside look: Islanders solid defensively with good offensive potential.
Coach: Enrique Puente.
Key players: Jordan Rodriguez, 5-8, Jr., 14.6 ppg; Emilee Maldonado, 5-2, Fr., 10.7 ppg; Vanessa Alvarez, 5-8, Sr., 9.1 ppg.
Inside look: Deep, balanced Grizzlies’ only losses are to 4A teams.
Coach: Mark Stinson.
Key players: Emma Kennedy, 5-4, Jr., 9 ppg; Ashley Woods, 5-10, Jr., 8 ppg.
Inside look: After struggling in a tough 4A/3A GSL, the experienced Titans won five of their last six to qualify. Placed sixth last year.
Coach: Michelle Birge.
Key players: Josie Matz, 5-8, Fr., 14.7 ppg; Kiara Knox, 5-10, So., 13.4 ppg; Violet “Kapri” Morrow, 5-10, Jr., 13.4 ppg.
Inside look: Young, speedy Rams are back despite losing the top two players from last year’s third-place team. Relentless rebounders create lots of second-chance points.