A year ago, four top teams tied for first; now theyre all back

The 2011-12 Metro League girls basketball race was a race like no other.

Four of the state’s best teams took turns beating on each other, and beating other, until, for the first time in Metro League’s long history, the race ended in a four-way tie between Westview, Southridge, Jesuit and Beaverton.

So why not kick off Round Two?by: MILES VANCE - READY FOR FLIGHT - Westview junior Jaime Nared and her Wildcat teammates are hoping to fly even higher this year than last year when they played their way to a runner-up finish at the state tournament.

All four of those teams look strong again and will likely go toe-to-toe-to-toe-to-toe for bragging rights again in 2012-13, though Westview — which played its way into the Class 6A state championship game last year — seems to be the early favorite.

“Westview has to be the favorite,” said Jesuit coach Jason Lowery. “They have the best player in (Jaime) Nared, they have another returning first teamer in (Delanie) Parry, they have the experience of getting to the final last year, and they have solid players at every other position.”

“Westview has to be the league favorite. Their second-place finish at state last year makes them the favorite,” said Beaverton coach Jay Ego.

For their part, the Wildcats absolutely want, and expect, to win the league, but know that there will be plenty of challenges along the way.

“I think it will be between us, Beaverton, Jesuit and Southridge,” said Westview coach Lindsay Strothers. Beaverton’s Alexis Montgomery “is really hard to stop and Jesuit has the bigs” this year.

“Southridge has a ton of seniors, but Beaverton and Westview have the best seniors in Alexis Montgomery and Delanie Perry,” said Aloha coach Poeko Waiwaiole. “Westview also has one of the best players in the state in Jamie Nared, (and) Jesuit is young, but absolute giants.”

Further, Aloha is improved and ready to battle in 2012-13, while Sunset, too, is ready to take its best shot at some of the state’s best.

Following are previews of the Metro League’s varsity girls basketball teams.


ALOHA — The Aloha girls basketball team has been riding in the back seat for a very long time.

And more than anything else, the Warriors would love to shove their way into the front seat of the 2012-13 Metro League race and stomp down on the accelerator themselves.

“This year is a turning point for Aloha,” said Warriors coach Poeko Waiwaiole. “We have the players and attitude that we want to compete with all the teams in our league every night. We relish the opportunity to test ourselves against the state’s best this season.”

To do so, Aloha will need big efforts from its lone all-league returner, 6-foot sophomore guard/forward Noheaililani Waiwaiole, and from its lone senior, 5-9 guard/forward Katie Newton.

Newton “has been on varsity for now three years. She is a great athlete and has been providing great senior leadership,” Poeko Waiwaiole said, adding that Noheaililani Waiwaiole “will continue to improve her impact in all facets of the game.”

Also back with experience are 5-2 junior guard Cassidy McDonald, 5-11 junior forward Makenzie Johnsen, and 5-9 junior guard/forward Miranda Hensley. Newcomers who will likely see plenty of varsity time will be 5-3 junior guard Demetria Andrews, 5-3 sophomore guard Hannah Lange, 5-8 freshman guard Mackenzie Sibert and 5-7 freshman guard Kenne Khiev.

Now, the Warriors just have to step up and take on the challenge of competing in the best girls basketball league in the state.

“We understand that tradition and history are not on our side, but that they also have no bearing on the outcome of our season this year,” Poeko Waiwaiole said.


BEAVERTON — Usually, you either get a crafty veteran team or a young and inexperienced one, but this year, Beaverton has opted for MILES VANCE - SOARING SENIOR - Beaverton senior guard Alexis Montgomery hopes for more high-flying success in 2012-13, where her team is one of the favorites in the Metro League race.

The Beavers bring back a ton of quality experience from its 2011-12 Metro co-champion, but also feature four sophomores and four freshmen on this year’s varsity roster. Together, that group may prove to be potent combination.

“This a young and experienced team — a rare combination,” said Beaverton coach Jay Ego. “If this group learns to play together and trust each other it will be a strong year. I expect us to be in the hunt for the league title.”

This year’s Beaver crew will be led by first-team all-Metro senior guard Alexis Montgomery (5 feet, 10 inches), as well as by fellow all-leaguers in Danielle Hartzog (a 5-8 junior in her third year as a starter) and Gigi Stoll (a 5-9 sophomore).

Also back with plenty of experience are 6-1 senior Annalise Beshears, 6-1 sophomore Dagny McConnell, and 5-6 sophomore Allie Mueller. Newcomers expected to make an immediate impact are 5-7 freshman Alyssa Christiansen, 5-7 freshman Tayllor Christiansen, 5-8 freshman Emma Kennedy, 5-7 freshman Sydney Boechler, and 6-0 junior Shaunta Jackson.

“Anytime a team returns six players who saw starting action on a Metro league co-champion, they’re probably in the conversation to be in the hunt for the league title,” Ego said.

Also due for varsity playing time this year will be 5-8 senior Kesia Tosh, 5-7 senior Brittney Paterson, and 5-11 sophomore Lillie Miller.


BEAVERTON — Jesuit came up one win short of a third straight Class 6A state tournament berth under head coach Jason Lowery last year, and the Crusaders didn’t much like looking in from the outside.

To get back in, though, youthful Jesuit will have to grow up fast and figure out how to compete in the state’s best girls basketball league.

“Our young squad has to understand that our league is the best in the state and every night is all-out war,” Lowery said. “We also need to learn quickly that, at Jesuit, you always get the other team’s best effort.”

Jesuit graduated three all-leaguers from last year’s squad, but bring back 6-foot-4 sophomore post Tarea Green (who won honorable mention honors last year), as well as seniors Sophie Leroux (a 5-10 guard) and Mariah Gibbs (a 6-0 post), 5-5 sophomore guard Keara Vu, 5-9 junior guard Emily Allen, and 6-0 junior post Lauren Glick.

“Our two seniors ... have embraced the role of leadership, (but) we are looking for others to fill roles to help in the leadership department,” Lowery said. “Our size is definitely our strength. We want to try and dominate the boards and use our length to defend and protect the rim.”

The Crusaders’ varsity rotation includes 5-7 freshman guard Kate Anderson, 6-2 freshman guard Jasmine Gross, 6-1 freshman post Alzena Henry, 5-5 junior guard Alexis Mendelsohn, and 5-5 junior guard AnneMarie Minniti. Also due for varsity time this year are 6-0 freshman guard Kory Oleson and 6-0 freshman post Shariah Green.

“Being able to play and execute under those expectations will be huge for us,” Lowery said. “There will be a learning curve because experience is not something we have a lot of.”


BEAVERTON — Southridge made some important inroads in its second year under coach Matt Humphreys in 2011-12, winning a piece of the Metro League title and then playing its way back to the Class 6A state tournament after a year away.

Getting back to the tournament again in 2012-13 is tops on everyone’s list at Southridge, but the Skyhawks know it won’t be easy to accomplish.

“The Metro League is a tough league. I anticipate it being tough night in and night out,” Humphreys said. “The key to our success will be defense, rebounding and turnovers.”

This year’s lineup features three returning all-leaguers in 5-foot-9 senior guard Kylie Dummer (a second-teamer), 5-9 senior guard Tupu Loo (an honorable mention pick) and 5-9 senior guard Hannah Rose (another honorable mention pick).

Dummer is a “great on-ball defender, shooter and scorer (who adds) great leadership and handles the ball well for us,” Humphreys said, adding that Rose brings great court vision and the ability to get to the basket, while Loo is a “dynamic scorer (who) plays a variety of positions well ... (is) calm and collected, and a great player in big situations.”

There’s more experience back too, led by 6-0 senior Amanda Hansen, and talent in 5-11 sophomore post Margaret Brock, 5-3 sophomore point guard Andie Giles, 5-3 sophomore guard Makenna Bell, 5-9 junior guard Dayna Carlson, 5-7 sophomore guard Nica Loo and 5-7 sophomore guard Kaley Fieldhouse.

Also due for varsity time are 5-6 senior guard Alexa Moiso, 5-8 sophomore post Sydney Hustler, 5-10 freshman guard Bria Thames, 5-7 sophomore guard Bethany George, 5-10 junior post Madi Weaver, and 5-10 senior post Tiare Miles. Tiffany Backman, a 5-6 senior point guard, was scheduled to be an important part of the rotation before injuring her knee at the start of the year.


CEDAR MILL — The challenge to compete in the Metro League may be greater than ever before and Sunset knows it, but the Apollos are ready to take on that challenge nonetheless.

“We are young with very limited varsity experience, but we’ll work hard each and every game,” said Sunset coach Mike McNeal. “The coaching staff sees only upside with this team as the season progresses.”

Sunset will be led this year by returning starter and honorable mention all-league pick Mikayla Alton (a 5-foot-8 junior wing), as well as by 6-1 junior post Megan Demots. Also back with varsity experience are 5-11 sophomore post Kinsley Rowan, 5-7 junior wing Natalie Valent and 5-8 senior wing Samantha Erwin.

Alton “is our most experienced player ... and one of our top scorers,” McNeal said, adding that Demots “has had plenty of varsity experience and is always a solid player with great skills and great leadership.”

Also set for big minutes in 2012-13 will be 5-5 junior point guard Genna Mettler, 5-5 sophomore wing Laurie Salness, 5-7 sophomore wing Cassidy Kroon and 5-7 senior wing Dani Trainor.

Mettler “has shown significant improvement in her game,” McNeal said, adding that Salness “is an exciting player to watch who plays with a lot of energy and is one of our best defenders,” while Valent “has worked hard over the offseason and is starting to reap the benefits of her hard work.”


ROCK CREEK — The Westview Wildcats went a very long way in 2011-12.

All the way to a share of the Metro League title, and then all the way to the Class 6A state championship game.

This year, that level of success just won’t be good enough.

“The goal last year was to get to the championship and we did that,” said Westview coach Lindsay Strothers. “The goal this year is to get back to the championship game and win.”

The Cats look well-heeled to do just that, with this year’s lineup led by two first-team All-Metro picks in 6-foot-2 junior wing Jaime Nared and 5-6 senior point guard Delanie Parry, as well as honorable mention selection Sarah Curl, a 5-10 senior wing.

“Our leaders are Jaime, Delanie and Sarah. The girls look for Jaime now to (lead),” Strothers said. “Jaime, Delanie and Sarah are starting to pull all that together.”

There’s more experienced talent on hand too, including 6-0 junior wing Dana Bentz, 6-0 senior post Lauren Lindley, 5-8 senior wing Bridget Eby, 5-9 sophomore wing Alia Mahuna, 5-10 freshman wing Hailey Garrity, and 6-0 junior wing Hannah Garrity.

“Now we’ve just got to keep working our butts off. It’s a long row to hoe,” Strothers said. “We have to shore up our defense ... and we have to have some other people step up and score.”

Also due for playing time are 5-6 junior wing Olivia Williams, 5-9 junior wing Kristin Boone, 5-8 freshman wing Mallory Ashcraft, and 5-5 freshman wing Mariah Figueroa.

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