Thus far in 2011-12, the Valiants are rated No. 1 in the Class 3A rankings
BEAVERTON - The 2010-11 season marked the second chapter in a series that the Valley Catholic girls basketball team is determined to stop.
The Valiants, after reaching the Class 3A state tournament three straight times from 2007-09, missed the tournament in both 2010 and '11 and have their sights set on getting back to the state's biggest stage.
But they know it won't be easy.
'Portland Adventist is No. 3 in the state, they're the returning favorites and their frontcourt is the best in the state,' said Valley Catholic coach John Innes in assessing the '11-12 Lewis and Clark League race. Then there's 'Clatskanie, who knocked us out last year, and Rainier - they're always well coached and they have a good point guard.'
That said, Valley Catholic brings some talent to the table too, led by senior Rebecca Baglai (a 5-foot-11 post who won second-team all-league honors last year) and fellow returning starter Chelsea Alsdorf (a 5-7 junior guard).
Baglai has been 'a starter since she was a freshman, she has the most experience and she's our biggest leader,' Innes said.
Also back with experience for the Valiants are 5-8 senior guard Katie Ford, 5-10 senior forward Jasmine Bush, 5-11 sophomore post Kim Duyck, 5-5 sophomore guard Lindsie LaBonte, 5-6 junior guard Claire McLoughlin and 5-7 senior guard Kelsey Luyten.
The rest of the varsity lineup - all of whom are likely to see time in Valley Catholic's uptempo, high-pressure style - includes 5-7 sophomore guard Addie Flemmer, 5-3 sophomore guard Grace Mannen, 5-6 freshman guard Kaylynn Bush, 5-5 junior guard Emily Gabourel, 5-9 freshman forward Breanne Davis, and 6-0 freshman post Bailey McDevitt.
'We play so many kids, we just need to have a consistent rotation,' Innes said. 'We need to keep the energy high and get out on the break. For us, the key is defense and running and scoring in the open court.'
Beyond Portland Adventist, Clatskanie and Rainier, Innes also expects Catlin Gabel to be competitive in Lewis and Clark play.
'No one will go undefeated in league this year,' Innes said. 'There's an extreme amount of parity in the league. I think three or four teams in league will be in the state's top 10.'