Girls Basketball Extravaganza: Notes on all Clark County 4A, 3A, 2A, and 1A teams

Camas with a big 4A GSHL victory; Washougal on a roll; and more

We posted boys basketball notes recently. Here are the notes from the Clark County girls basketball in Classes 4A, 3A, 2A, and 1A. 

Faith Bergstrom is averaging a double-double for the Camas Papermakers. Photo by Kris Cavin
Faith Bergstrom is averaging a double-double for the Camas Papermakers. Photo by Kris Cavin

We asked the coaches what they have learned about their teams as they head into the stretch of the regular season. Also, what was their favorite moment, on or off the court.

We will start with the 4A GSHL, in alphabetical order

BATTLE GROUND (4-8, 0-0)

“We’ve seen a significant improvement in our team’s intensity, work ethic and toughness, which we are going to need to compete in a very tough 4A GSHL,” first-year Battle Ground coach Dave McIntosh said. “We still have a long way to go fundamentally with basketball IQ and skill level, but each day we are improving.”

Favorite moment:  “A series of ‘Aha!’ moments that occur almost every day at practice,” the coach said. “I love seeing the girls get excited when something clicks and they understand the ‘why’ we’re doing something and ‘how’ to properly do it in order to make it work.”

Numbers: Mallory Meyer, a junior, is leading the team in scoring (14.7 ppg) rebounds (9.2) and is shooting 75 percent from the line. Senior Megan Geiger is averaging 3.4 steals a game. 

CAMAS (6-5, 1-0)

“This has already been a very gratifying year for me,” coach Scott Thompson said. “My team is made up of hard-working girls who show up with a tremendous competitive desire, and they have built a culture that is special to be around.”

That means this team just keeps improving. Thompson said the Papermakers dropped some games that they should have won, but that made them self-analyze. 

“We have learned to value possession, and we continue to improve shot selection,” Thompson said. “All and all, we are growing daily, and it is fun to be around.”

Favorite moment: Coach did not list one, but let’s go with earlier this week in the 4A GSHL opener. Camas upended Union, a team that went 9-2 in the non-league schedule. 

Numbers: Faith Bergstrom is averaging a double-double with 16 points and 10.5 rebounds. Haylie Johnson and Jalena Carlisle are each at about eight points per game. Katelyn Forner “continues to be a monster at everything else,” the coach said. She is averaging 6.3 assists, 3.8 steals, and 5.8 rebounds. 

HERITAGE (4-6, 0-1)

“We must focus on us first and complete the challenges within ourselves before we can even compete against our opponents,” coach Jacob Kaler said. “The first month, we faced a lot of adversity and early changes which allowed us to come together even stronger. Our young group of players gained a better understanding of their roles on the team and how each individual needs to play within their strengths. When we all buy-in and trust each other, the ceiling is high.”

Favorite moment: Speaking of a high ceiling, the Timberwolves played a perfect quarter against Ridgefield this season. “We bought-in and executed the concepts offensively, defensively, and in transition,” the coach said. The Timberwolves scored 27 points in that quarter.

Numbers: Katie Peneuta is doing Katie Peneuta things again. She is averaging 14.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks per game. Keanna Salavea is just shy of 10 points per game. 

SKYVIEW (6-4, 1-0)

“We are a lot deeper off the bench than we were a year ago,” coach Brett Johnson said. “Every game, no matter the size of the other team, we control the rebounds.”

The coach said he expects some freshmen will improve as the season continues and be able to provide even more depth. 

Favorite moment: “Watching how happy they are to give,” the coach said. “When they do the bell ringing to help out the Salvation Army, they do it with such enthusiasm. It let’s me know how much they care.”

Numbers: Kazz Parks and Emily Norton are sharing the scoring lead. Both are averaging 10 points per game. Mikelle Anthony is the leading rebounder at nine a game, plus she is getting seven points a game. Maddie Hendricks is at six points and seven boards a game. 

UNION (9-3, 0-1)

“We learned that we can play with any team in the state, but also that when we play without passion, intensity, any team can play with us,” Gary Mills said.

Favorite moment: Had to be the win over Glacier Peak. “Getting a win against a perennial 4A power was a huge shot in the arm for us,” Mills said.

Numbers: Mason Oberg, back from a knee injury, is averaging 16 points per game. Kenzie Lewis is getting six rebounds a game. Lolo Weatherspoon leads the team in assists. She broke a school record with 11 assists in a game at a tournament in San Diego. 

3A GSHL

EVERGREEN (1-10, 0-1)

“You learn how resilient some of these girls can be,” coach Caleb Dressler said. “We played a couple of games we felt we could have won or played a lot better. We’re losing some games, but they still come to practice, still come to games, still want to get better. They want to work. They’re showing up every day to keep competing.”

Favorite moment: The coach said it was about a week into December. The Plainsmen had their full team at practice. (Due to injuries and such, that hadn’t happened much.) “People started getting more positive. It’s a growing experience. Showing up every day, having fun, wanting to be there.”

Numbers: Coraleigh Speer is the team’s leading scoring, coming in at around 10 points per game to go with three rebounds and two assists. Lilyanna Glenn is averaging six points and nine rebounds a game. Uriah Gipson is one of the “glue” girls, always positive, the coach said. She leads the team in assists. 

FORT VANCOUVER (0-10, 0-1)

“They don’t believe in themselves. That’s the unfortunate truth,” coach Arlisa Hinton said. 

The Trappers had some chances at victories earlier in the season but those did not materialize.  “When you don’t get over the hump, you don’t get to see that your work is moving you forward. I am pushing them to believe,” the coach said.

Favorite moment: On the court, the Trappers are putting up points, averaging better than 30 a game. That might not seem like a lot, but there have been years when it was less than 20 per game. “I’m excited when I draw up a play, and they get it, and then they get excited,” Hinton said. 

Numbers: Kailey Gonzalez’ goal was to average a double-double this season. So far, so good. She’s at 11 points and 13 rebounds. Sophomore Avery Rowe leads the team in 3-pointers.

HUDSON’S BAY (10-2, 1-0)

“We have survived and even played very well without two starters, expected back in mid-January,” coach Michael Rainville said. “Players have adjusted to new roles, and we have changed offensive and defensive schemes to become more efficient. We love spending time together.”

Favorite moment: The Eagles rallied from 14 points down to beat Class 4A Skyview. The Storm are almost always a contender in the 4A GSHL. It was a signature victory for the Eagles. 

Numbers: Jaydia Martin is averaging 25 points per game, 11 rebounds, and 2.3 assists, to go with 5.2 steals. Wow. Kamelai Powell is at 15 points and 10.5 rebounds. Paytin Ballard, a defensive stopper, is also at 8.4 points per game, along with 6.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists. 

MOUNTAIN VIEW (4-7, 1-0)

“This team has progressed as we’ve become more confident,” new coach Dan Larson said.

The Thunder are young, starting two freshmen and a foreign exchange student. Only three players who had meaningful minutes are back this season. That has been tough, to get everyone on the same page in a new coach’s system. 

“I told this group early on that as soon as they believe they are a good team, they will be,” Larson said. “Confidence is our biggest hurdle right now, but they are starting to buy-in and believe they can compete.” 

Favorite moment: The coach got a text from a friend who said the Thunder had the largest cheer outside of a locker room that he had ever heard for a team that was trailing by 17 points at the half. 

“Even though we were losing to a really good Union team, it was the first time I saw the light come on for us. The girls were playing their butts off, competing, and not giving an inch to a much bigger, more experienced, and more talented team. I knew after that game we were going to be alright, and we had ‘it’ in us to compete this season.”

Numbers: Jenna Carlson (7.5), Sara Ostergaard-Jeppesen (7.0) and Ella Schoene (5.2) are the team’s top scorers. 

PRAIRIE (5-6, 2-0)

“Our preseason was tougher this year than last year, and we did that intentionally because we have a lot of new faces on the varsity team,” coach Hala Corral said. “We wanted the kids to face adversity early on so they would know how to handle it when it became important later on in the season. We need to settle down and play control basketball. We put in a new offense and a new defense so we need to stay patient in learning the new system.”

Just a reminder. The Falcons might have a whole lot of new faces in starting and key reserve roles, but they are the defending 3A state champions.

Favorite moment: The win over Snohomish stands out. The Falcons weren’t great on offense that day but they stressed lock-down defense. The Falcons held Snohomish to zero points in the fourth quarter to pull out the victory. Off the court, the Falcons played a tournament in northern California and toured San Francisco on their day off. “We saw things that were interesting and crazy,” the coach said.

Numbers: Claire Heitschmidt is leading a balanced attack, scoring 11.67 points per game. Meri Dunford is at 10 points and 10 rebounds a game. Allison Corral is at 9.9 points and 4.6 assists per game.

2A GSHL

COLUMBIA RIVER (9-2, 3-0)

The Chieftains are trying to learn how to adapt to different styles of play.

“Everyone in our league plays a different style, so you have to be prepared to attack a different style every game,” coach Will Jones said.

Interesting: Two players split time at other schools. Lily Jonas attends the Vancouver School of Arts and Academics. Ellie Christian is in the culinary arts program at Fort Vancouver. 

Numbers: Jordan Ryan has a chance to earn the triple crown, leading her team in scoring (14.1 ppg), rebounds (eight) and assists (five). Dejah Wilson averages 10 points, four assists, and two steals. Ellie Christian is at seven points and eight boards a game. 

HOCKINSON (7-5, 1-3)

Reporter’s note: The Hockinson notes have been corrected, along with the record through Jan. 14.

“I have a fantastic group of young and hungry go-getters,” coach Damon Roche said, adding they are fearless and connected to one another.

The Hawks start four sophomores and a junior.

“We get better every week. I look forward to seeing what our growth/maturity looks like at the end of January.”

The team used the first half to find new leadership after the loss of Jasmine Shigeno. Last year’s leading scorer and rebounder is out after an offseason knee injury.

Favorite moments: Team breakfast on the third day of the San Diego trip stands out for the coach. The players reflected, in their own words, what this season has meant to them. He loved hearing what they had to say.

On the court, Roche said the Tumwater game. The Hawks lost, but they won in a way. After scoring 12 points in the first half, they made adjustments and scored 22 in the third quarter. “This group understands that correction is not criticism.”

Numbers: Gracie Brammer was leading the team in scoring through the first half of the season at about 16 points per game. She also is averaging four assists, three steals, and five rebounds. Kylie Ritter is at 14 points, five rebounds, and four steals a game. Lillie Mueller is grabbing 10 rebounds a night plus two blocked shots.

A couple more numbers: The Hawks have two sets of twins. Kylie and Ellie Ritter and Addie and Delaney Chappelle.

RIDGEFIELD (2-9, 0-3)

“If these kids stay optimistic, if everybody stays positive,” first-year head coach Billy McKinney said.

And there is reason to believe. These Spudders don’t quit.

Thursday night, they trailed 13-0, but rallied to make it a game.

“That group of kids did not crumble,” McKinney said.

Favorite moments: For the coach, it is just meeting people throughout the community. He was the JV coach for two years. And he also helps out at other sporting events with the Spudders. He said he loves meeting people. On the court, he said he loves seeing the smiles on his players’ faces, knowing how much work they are putting in to improve.

Numbers: Kelli Krsul leads the team in scoring at 10 points per game. Grace Goode is second at nine points. Hailey Braunstein is the top rebounder. Coach also pointed out the all-around play of Courtney Beyer and Annikka Hill, a defensive whiz.
 

WASHOUGAL (8-2, 3-0)

The Panthers started a tough non-league schedule with a 2-2 mark. Coach Britney Ervin said it would have been a tough schedule for her 2019 team that won a state title, let alone the 2019-20 team that is young. But then Washougal traveled to the Seaside tournament and brought home the title. 

“I believe our girls really turned a corner on this trip,” Ervin said. “We are starting to click and see some really important team chemistry develop.”

(By the way, Washougal does not have a new coach. Just a coach with a new name. Congrats on the wedding!)

Favorite moment: The beach trip. “We stayed in a cabin. McKinley Stotts, Samantha Mederos, and Chloe Johnson cooked the team a huge breakfast that kept us full for hours,” Ervin said. 

They shopped in town together, played loud music in the vans, watched movies at night, and stayed warm by the fire. 

“The girls built some great memories,” Ervin said. 

Numbers: Skylar Bea is averaging a double-double at 14 points and 11 rebounds. She also averages two blocked shots a game. Stotts is averaging a team-high four steals to go with her nine points. Jaiden Bea is averaging 12 points a game and leads the team in assists. 

WOODLAND (7-3, 1-1)

“I further learned to appreciate every moment you have with each kid,” coach Glen Flanagan said. 

Due to injury and illness, the Beavers had five different starting lineups in their first five games. 

Favorite moments: The team helped during Woodland’s Shop with a Cop day over the holidays. The coach also loved the trip to Ellensburg with the team. Oh, and there was the time about 50 basketball players shared the court at once as the middle school athletes joined the Beavers at a practice. 

Numbers: Payton Foster is averaging 18 points per game. Kaily Christensen, Kaija Olson, and Kelly Sweyer are all at nine points a game. Nicole Guthrie leads the team with nine rebounds a game. Lucy George averages eight boards and three steals. 

TRICO LEAGUE 

LA CENTER (5-6, 2-0) 

A rough start to the season. The Wildcats lost their starting point guard and then their starting shooting guard injured an ankle and got hit with the flu bug. 

“That being said, we have seen improvement from everyone,” coach Herm VanWeerdhuizen said. “We have a young team with two freshmen and one sophomore starting.”

Favorite moment: “We had a chance to help out the Salvation Army for three hours packing boxes and sorting toys,” the coach said. “A great team effort, and the girls did a great job working together.”

Numbers: Kylee Stephens is averaging better than 16 points per game. 

KING’S WAY CHRISTIAN (4-6, 2-0)

“We went from a very senior dominated team to a very youthful team,” coach Randy Graves said. 

The Knights have five sophomores and four freshmen in their rotation. Kinsey Tindol is the lone senior. 

Graves said if the youth play to their potential, they could surprise some folks this season. 

“Either way, the future looks bright over the next few years,” Graves said. “Yes, I do like the underdog role.”

Favorite moments: The team has gone to StarCycle together for workouts. And the Knights have had fun on road trips, just getting to know one another.

Numbers: Abby Cummins leads the team in scoring at more than 11 points per game. Laurel Quinn is second in scoring. 

SETON CATHOLIC (6-6, 0-2)

This team is a true team, coach Phil Kent says.

The team was crushed by injuries and illness in December, barely getting any full practices. Yet, the Cougars kept competing.

“We struggled to function quite a bit during games but what never wavered was our effort,” Kent said. “With that effort has come a couple of wins that we probably should have lost just based on the lack of practice time. But our effort gave us a chance to win.”

Kent said it is the closest team he has ever coached.

Favorite moment: Just after the Toutle Lake game. Every player put so much effort into rallying for the victory. “You could see the exhaustion and joy in their eyes at the same time. They knew they’d given their all, and as a coach, that’s a very proud moment.”Numbers: Jasmine Morgan is averaging 15 points per game. She is on pace to reach 1,000 for her career, which would be a first for the program. Emma Watkins is averaging nine points per game. Maddi Willis is at eight points a game.

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About The Author

Paul Valencia joins ClarkCountyToday.com after more than two decades of newspaper experience. He became the face of high school sports coverage in Clark County during his 17 years at The Columbian. Before moving to Vancouver, Paul worked at Oregon daily newspapers in Pendleton, Roseburg, and Salem. A graduate of David Douglas High School in Portland, Paul enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving three years as a soldier/journalist. He and his wife Jenny recently celebrated their 20th anniversary. They have a son who has a passion for karate and Minecraft. Paul’s hobbies include: Watching the Raiders play football, reading about the Raiders playing football, and waiting to watch and read about the Raiders playing football.

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