With easy sweep of No. 5 Lake Stevens and No. 4 Kentridge, Central Valley shows it is the team to beat in Class 4A this season.
KENT — The Central Valley High girls basketball team made the most of its holiday weekend trip to the west side of the state with convincing victories over two of the state’s top-five ranked Class 4A schools.
The No. 1-ranked Bears from Spokane rolled past No. 5 Lake Stevens 71-50 on Saturday and followed that up with a 57-39 victory over fourth-ranked and defending state champion Kentridge on Monday at the King Showcase at the ShoWare Center in Kent.
The two impressive victories leave little doubt the Bears are the team everyone is chasing this season.
“They’re talented, they’re experienced, they’re well-coached and they have a lot of confidence,” Kentridge coach Bob Sandall said. “They have a lot of weapons. They run their stuff really well and they defend really well. They’re a tough out. I told my kids, ‘I think we can be better.’ But they’re the team to beat right now in the state.”
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Sandall can be proud of his team’s effort even in defeat. The Chargers found themselves falling behind by as many as eight points in the first half, but managed to keep the game close, trailing by only two at halftime.
In the second half, the Bears would once again extend their lead to eight, but the Chargers answered the run again before Central Valley was finally able to pull away in the fourth quarter.
“My kids, without exception, have always come back when things haven’t gone well,” Sandall said. “We lose a game here or there, but we don’t dwell on it. I think we are pretty good at playing and getting better because of that.”
The Chargers (14-2) might have won the state title last season, but many see the Bears, who improved to 14-0 Monday, as the best team in the state. For a team that has aspirations of repeating as state champs, playing a team as talented as the Bears is nothing but a positive for the Chargers.
“It’s a great measuring stick for us,” Sandall said of playing Central Valley. “Obviously, we want to win and compete at our best level, but it’s just good to know where we are. I hope it gives us a little more urgency as we go into the playoffs and it gives us a real clear picture of how much better we need to be to compete against the elite teams in the state.”
Central Valley coach Freddie Rehkow also relished the opportunity to play two very talented teams the past few days.
“We really were looking forward to this,” Rehkow said. “When you’re winning by 30 and 40 points, it’s hard to get a good feel of where you’re at. To come and play two top-five teams like Lake Stevens and Kentridge was really good for us and that’s what we were looking for.”
The Bears were lead by Stanford-bound senior Lexie Hull, who finished with 23 points, including nine of her team’s 12 points in the first quarter.
“She was the (Washington state) Gatorade Player of the Year last year for a reason,” Rehkow said. “I would say she’s on pace for that again. She’s tough to stop. When you know that she’s going to go out every night and try to post those numbers and she still gets them, that tells you. Her and her sister (Lacie) are going to Stanford, not just because they’re athletic, but they’re smart. They know how to get the job done.”