MHC GIRLS HOOPS - Logjam of teams expected to battle for third-place spot
by: David Ball Reynolds guard Kahdijah Lozada dribbles down the sideline during the team’s third-place showing at Gresham’s holiday tournament last week.

This year's Mount Hood Conference girls basketball race appears to be a private affair with Central Catholic entering the season as a heavy favorite with Saint Mary's as the most likely contender to give the Rams a challenge.

The Rams are 10-1 in the preseason and have risen to #2 in the most recent RPI rankings. Central opened the season by winning the Nike Northwest Invitational and its only loss came by a single point to Metro power Westview.

Saint Mary's is just 7-5 in the win-loss column, but four of those losses came at the elite Nike Tournament of Champions in Arizona or at the Lake Oswego Shootout - both tourneys attract some of the top programs on the West Coast. The Blues only other loss came to perennial power Oregon City.

That leaves just one automatic qualifying berth to state for the league's public schools, and there is a large mix of teams that expect to be fighting it out to secure that third-place spot....

Look for capsules on the five East County schools in the Jan. 4, edition of The Outlook.

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