Private schools return to the top
Barlow and Centennial are expected to battle for the leagues final berth to state
Central Catholic ran through the Mount Hood Conference with no resistance last season en route to a 26-2 record and a third-place finish at the 6A state tournament. The Rams closest challenge on the league schedule was a 19-point win over runner-up St. Marys in the regular-season finale.
Central is ready for a return to the states Final Four this winter behind a lineup that includes seniors Jordan Reynolds and Kailee Johnson. Reynolds was a unanimous first-team, all-state selection last year, while Johnson anchored the front line of the Rams volleyball team in the fall.
St. Marys is a solid pick to return in the No. 2 spot this season with its only league losses a year ago coming against Central Catholic. That leaves the five East County schools fighting for the third and final automatic spot into the state bracket.
The Bruins are off to a 4-2 start, riding a three-game win streak into the Gresham High holiday tournament this weekend. Their most impressive win came 38-33 against Sunset out of the Metro League a game that saw the team score 14 points in a row.
Senior center Marley Yates has been a force in the middle, translating her jumping skills from the track to the basketball court.
Shes big and physical, and she can jump, Barlow coach Craig Webster said. Shes very aggressive for us on the boards, and its nice to have her presence.
Junior Bethany Leliefeld, a standout on the soccer field, holds down the backcourt. Junior Karissa DeLaunay provides a scoring threat, capable to hitting from beyond the arc or getting to the rim.
Look for an expanded season preview in our Dec. 28 print edition.