Tidbits on all Clark County 4A and 3A teams
4A Greater St. Helens League
Last summer, this probably would have been an easy league to predict, at least as far as the champion. However, a lot has changed.
Defending champion Camas remains strong, but the injury bug bit the team. Plus a couple newcomers at Union have led the Titans to a strong non-league showing.
Here are some notes on all the 4A GSHL teams:
“I have a team that has been learning every day in practice and every game and getting better,” coach Lisa May said.
The team traveled to Wyoming for a holiday tournament and struggled in the first two games. The Tigers lost the third game there but played much better.
“First two teams punched us in the face and we did not recover,” May said. “I’m hoping we can learn to take that intensity that was brought to us and translate that into our game.”
The goal at Battle Ground this season is to grow every game and play to the best of the team’s ability, the coach added.
Morgan Stradley is averaging better than 16 points per game. Brianna Adams, who had six 3-pointers in her last game, leads the team in rebounds and assists.
I’m not sure where we are at,” coach Scott Preuninger said. “Obviously, going 5-6 in December isn’t very impressive. But five of our six losses are against teams that are ranked in the top eight in Washington and Oregon. Three of our wins are against teams ranked in the top eight in Washington or Oregon.
“Defensively, we’re fine. … We’re having a difficult time scoring and (we are) turning the ball over way too much.”
The team is still adjusting to the loss of Division-I talent Madison Freemon, out for the season with a knee injury.
“Maggie Wells has given us some good moments. Looking at getting Marrianna Payne more minutes. Once we play Skyview and Union in league play, we’ll get a better idea of where we’re at,” the coach said.
Courtney Clemmer has been the most consistent player on the team, Preuninger said. She is averaging 10.5 points and 7.5 rebounds while shooting 61 percent from the floor.
Here is a story we posted earlier in the season on Camas:
“For a squad that has zero returning varsity players, challenges occur frequently, but I have been most impressed with their willingness to compete and they have identified themselves as a group that does not give up,” coach Karrin Wilson said. “Equally impressive is how quickly the team developed chemistry with each other and how much they all get along. We know that league is going to be tough every night, but this team’s main focus is to develop and improve every day.”
Katie Peneueta, a freshman, came into the season with high expectations and has exceeded them. She is scoring around 15 points per game game and is a force on defense.
The Storm are figuring out a new system under new head coach Brett Johnson. The team graduated five all-league players a year ago. So yes, growing pains were expected.
“We need a lot of skills development,” Johnson said. “And to really get in shape in order to play our fast pace of basketball. We’ve learned that we are a lot better defensive team than we thought. We need to cut down a lot on our turnovers in order to play a full game of basketball.”
The Titans won their first six games of the year and later they beat La Center, one of the top programs in the region regardless of classification.
Coach Mike Cranston said it is an interesting group with a lot of talent but not a lot of experience together.
“We are trying to put a lot of new faces together,” he said.
Courtney Cranston and Bekah Barnery are the lone seniors. Cranston is four-year varsity player.
Newcomers Toryi Midland and Mason Oberg have state tournament experience at their previous school.
Oberg leads the Titans this season, scoring 15 points per game. She is shooting 40 percent from 3-point range.
3A Greater St. Helens League
Same story, right?
Prairie should roll to a league title, with others battling for second place. That is not meant as a shot at the rest of the league. It is more of a compliment to the power of Prairie.
Here are some notes on the Clark County teams of the 3A GSHL:
Coach Arlisa Hinton is frustrated. Not by the lack of effort, but by an uncanny string of injuries on her squad.
“ACL. PCL. Broken hand. Fractured ribs. All varsity players,” Hinton said. “I can’t tell you what kind of team I have because I don’t have a full team at all. It has been the worst year when it comes to injuries.”
Hinton moved two freshmen up to varsity, temporarily, just to fill in for a bit.
“The future’s bright. I can tell you that,” the coach said, noting a very strong freshman class.
As far as this season, the older players need to get healthy.
“We want to compete,” Hinton said. “Can we put the ball in the basket. That’s our issue. We get shots.”
The Plainsmen have wins over two Class 4A programs. Plus they got a sneak preview of sorts of league play, defeating Hudson’s Bay in a non-league holiday event.
Ahna Burney, who was second-team, all-league last season, is showing she wants to be first team this season, averaging around 20 points per game.
The Eagles have not played the toughest schedule, but a winning record is a winning record. That is how a team builds confidence. Bay even had a four-game win streak in December.
“We are still learning to play together, determining our roles and what works for us,” coach Michael Rainville said. “As a result we have gone hot and cold, often in the same game. We are working toward being more consistent as we get ready for league.”
No sugarcoating this. It has been a struggle for the Thunder after they won the first game of the season.
“We learned how young and inexperienced we really are, not only at the varsity level, but with true basketball experience as well,” coach Dave McIntosh said.
They had losses of five points and one point, though, so there have been competitive moments. The Thunder also believe they will be competitive in several of their league games.
Dejan Wilson and Jenna Carlson, sophomores, are leading the team in scoring. Carlson is grabbing 6.6 rebounds a game, too. Olivia Hood is the steals and assists leader.
After five wins in the Northwest, the Falcons went searching for competition in California and found it, going 1-2 in a holiday tournament.
“We kind of live in a bubble when you live in Vancouver. Very small. We scheduled the GSHL 4A teams. We beat them. It gave us a false sense of security,” Prairie coach Hala Corral said. “There’s more out there than Vancouver.”
The back-to-back losses should help in the long run, the coach said.
“They think, ‘Oh, we’re amazing. Then go to a tournament like this and all the teams are amazing. When you don’t show up, you don’t win. You don’t give your A game, you don’t win.”
The Falcons, the coach said, played in California like they had been practicing.
“Can’t practice halfway and give 75 percent or a good team will beat them,” Corral said. “That’s what happened.”
She believes her team got the message.
“They did not like how that felt,” Corral said. “They all said they have to come in every single day now with a purpose.”
Brooke Walling is averaging 16.5 and 8.8 rebounds per game. Cassidy Gardner is averaging five assists per game for the Falcons.
Here is a story we ran on the Falcons earlier this season: