Coach: Nate Dunham, second year
Last year: 10-3 conference, 17-9 overall
Key returners: Lindsey South, sr., 5-10, post; Euno White, sr., 5-9, guard; Katrina Hudson, jr., 5-6, guard; Alizee Hargrove, jr., 6-1, post; Lacie Petitclerc, soph., 5-6, guard; Alina Johnson, sr., 5-10, wing; Madison Holmes, sr., 5-9, post; Riley Pirkle, soph., 5-8, guard.
Key newcomers: Erin Kennedy, fr., 5-8, forward; Camryn Kerr, fr., 5-8, forward; Cadence Lamphiear, jr., 5-7, guard; Miranda Sebastian, sr., 6-0, post; Chloe Eriksen, jr., 5-11, post.
Outlook: Dunham is looking forward to his second season coaching the Seahawks.
“Year two of a program tends to be more flexible,” he said. “Last season, we were pretty vanilla. This year, we will be looking to do more things.”
That includes making plenty of adjustments when it comes to players learning new roles.
“I really like how they are responding to the adjustments,” Dunham said. “They are learning their roles.”
South, Petitclerc and Hudson are expected to make their presence felt out on the floor.
“South was very good last year,” Dunham said. “This year, we will look for her to step up and score more on the inside.
“Lacy, for a freshman point guard a year ago, she did really good. She distributed the ball well and got plenty of experience. So her confidence should be good this season.”
Dunham also mentioned the perimeter game he saw from Hudson last year, saying that needs to continue this season.
Coach: Brett McLeod, fourth year
Last year: 11-2 conference, 20-6 overall
Key returners: Katie King, sr., 5-9, forward; Brylee Axelson-Ney, sr., 6-0, center; Gabriella MacKenzie, jr., 6-0, forward; Grace Dalton, jr., 5-11, center; Miranda Maskell, jr., 5-8, guard; Amey Rainaud, soph., 5-8, guard; Sydney Reisner, soph., 5-6, guard; Jordyn Smith, soph., 5-8, guard/forward; Emma Smith, soph, 5-5, guard; Hannah Sayer, soph., 5-4, guard.
Newcomer: Penny Elton, sr., 5-5, wing.
Outlook: The Tigers have much of their 2018-19 roster back, including King, who averaged 13.5 points per game.
Maskell averaged 7.8 points a game last season and Rainaud 10.5.
McLeod said the Tigers are off to a good start, and so far have avoided the injuries that hampered them last year.
“So far, so good. We’ve had a good week and a good first few practices,” he said. “We have depth at different positions. We plan on pressuring as much as we can and keep working hard. We have a versatile team, and a lot of different players who can do different things.”
Coach: Kevik Rensink, 21st year
League: Northwest 2B/1B
Last year: 0-10 league, 0-19 overall
Key returners: Ebby Buchta, sr., 5-7 guard; Kylie Clark, jr., 5-8, forward; Izabela Ramos, sr., 5-11, forward; Payton Dickinson, soph., 5-6, forward; Sierra Rensink, jr., 5-8, guard; Kassidy Smith, jr., 5-3, guard.
Key newcomers: Andrea Rogers, jr., 5-10, forward; Ashley Parker, soph., 5-4, guard; Hayley Daniels, eighth-grader, 5-2, guard.
Outlook: The Lions were hampered by injury and illness last year, with Parker missing the season due to illness and Rensink missing much of the year with a broken hand.
With both players back, Kevik Rensink said he’s looking forward to the season.
“It’ll be nice to have both back,” he said.
The Lions return leading scorer Clark (10.6 points a game) as well as seniors Buchta and Ramos.
“The two seniors are well-versed in the program and lead in different ways. Ebby has a high motor, Izzy is more soft-spoken,” Rensink said. “She knows every offense, every defense. She’s like another assistant (coach) on the floor.”
La Conner Braves
Coach: Scott Novak, 12th year
League: Northwest 2B/1B
Last year: 10-0 league, 21-5 overall
Key returners: Justine Benson, sr., 5-8, guard/forward; Joanie Benson, sr., 5-7, guard/forward; Avery Sloniker, jr., 5-8, forward; Morgan Herrera, sr., 5-8, forward; Katie Watkins, jr., 5-8, guard/forward; Sarah Cook, soph., 5-6, guard/forward; Aubrie Sloniker, soph., 5-6, guard; Rachel Cram, soph., 5-5, guard; Juna Swanson, soph., 5-4, guard.
Key newcomers: Josie Harper, fr., 5-7, guard/forward; Ketelina O’Brien, jr., 5-3, guard; Ellie Marble, fr., 6-0, forward; Makayla Herrera, fr., 6-1, forward.
Outlook: The Braves return a large contingent off a team that placed fifth last season in its state tournament.
That includes two-time league MVP Justine Benson.
“This team is full of experienced, quality players,” Novak said. “Experience, depth, work ethic and camaraderie are their strengths.”
The Braves will see what they are made of early on.
“We have an extremely challenging nonleague schedule that will definitely test us,” Novak said.
Mount Vernon Bulldogs
Coach: Bill Nutting, first year.
Conference: Western 4A
Last year: 7-6 conference, 8-12 overall
Key returners: Halle Pelland, jr., 5-2, guard; Misha Quezada, sr., 5-5, guard; Lily Zavala, sr., 5-8, guard; Jacia Navarro-Liston, jr., 5-7, guard; Maliyah Johnson, soph., 5-5, guard.
Key newcomers: Aaliyah Angulo, sr., 5-9, post; Victoria Heino, jr., 6-0, post; Tayla Davenport, soph., 5-4, guard; Clarissa Oord, soph., 5-4, guard; Sammy Carsten, jr., 5-9, forward; Maryia Darnell, sr., 5-9, post.
Outlook: Though in his first season at the helm, Nutting coached some of the team’s current seniors while coaching at the junior varsity level.
“It’s been great. The girls are great kids, they’re great teammates and we’ve had a good start to the season,” he said.
The Bulldogs return Johnson, who averaged 10.8 points a game last season.
On defense, the team is improving, Nutting said.
“They’re learning to be smart defenders and realizing there’s a whole other level to their effort and competitiveness. It’s been fun to teach and watch them learn,” he said. “They’ve been fabulous, they want to be successful, they want to compete.”
Mount Vernon Christian Hurricanes
Coach: Jeff Droog, ninth year
League: Northwest 2B/1B
Last year: 8-2 league, 23-5 overall
Key returners: Josie Droog, sr., 5-3, guard; Kailey Faber, jr., 5-8, guard; Sophia Wood, sr., 5-9, forward; Kylee Russell, soph., 5-10, guard/forward; Abby DeVlieger, sr., 5-11, post; Emma Droog, soph., 5-10, post.
Key newcomers: Caitlin VanderKooy, fr., 5-4, guard.; Hannah VanHofwegen, fr., 5-2, guard; Rayahna Oostra, fr., 5-5, guard; Abby Russell, fr., 5-10, forward.
Outlook: The Hurricanes return the majority of a team that had a solid 2018-19 season.
“The last couple of years you could have said we were younger,” Jeff Droog said. “You can’t say that anymore. What you say now is that we have a lot of varsity experience ... (it’s) a more experienced group. You like that. You want them to understand growth and progress, and we have a lot of growth we want to make. This group understands that.”
Josie Droog, who averaged 14.9 points per game last year, will lead a group that faces a daunting schedule.
“We could end up not having the same outcome in terms of win-loss, but still have more growth,” Jeff Droog said.
Coach: Rene Pedroza, fifth year
Last Year: 5-8 conference, 11-10 overall
Key returners: Makenna Peterson, sr., 5-7, guard; Anna Rutherford, sr., 5-5, guard; Julie Brown, jr., 6-0, wing; Hanna Jutte, jr., 5-10, wing; Abby Virata, soph., 5-4, guard; Mabel Gahan, soph., 5-5, guard; Heather Vanderbeek, soph., 5-11, post.
Key newcomers: Chloe Hynds, sr., 5-7 guard; Megan Friend, sr., 5-7, guard; Madison Lake, jr., 5-9, post; Natalia Taylor, sr., 5-8, post; Amanda Paulson, jr., 5-3, guard.
Outlook: Pedroza said he’s already seen improvement in many of the Cubs.
He said Peterson has boosted her game; Rutherford now has played a full season, much of it at point guard; and Jutte has improved as well.
“They’re great kids, they’re nice kids,” he said. “They listen and are positive with each other and are working hard.”
— Skagit Valley Herald staff