2B Girls: Same favorites as last year, with bigger goals


Editor's Note: This story is included in The Chronicle's 2023-24 Prep Basketball Preview, which is published in the Thursday edition. 

A strange correlation comes around in the 2B girls basketball world every year: The girls who are tall and athletic on the volleyball court are generally also tall and athletic on the basketball court. 

So after a volleyball season where Adna, Napavine and Rainier dueled for Central 2B League dominance … it’s looking like that’ll be the setup in basketball this winter as well.

That was the story last year. Napavine went undefeated en route to the district title, Adna beat everybody except Napavine, and Rainier beat everybody except Napavine and Adna. 

Then, the Tigers, Pirates and Mountaineers all went to Spokane, where Rainier didn’t place, and Napavine and Adna settled for fifth and sixth, respectively. 

Now, with pretty similar rosters, those three are looking to run District 4 again, and then make more noise across the state.

Napavine loses Morgan Hamilton — one of two league co-MVPs last season — but regains her sister Dakota, who missed all of last year after tearing her ACL. The Tigers bring back just about everyone else, though, including all-area volleyball MVP Keira O’Neill and stretch-forward Hayden Kaut, along with six more players who come back with significant experience. They’ll once again look to kill opponents with depth, rotating bodies in and out to press foes into oblivion.

Adna loses Karlee VonMoos — the other co-MVP — in the post and sharpshooter Brooklyn Loose, but offsets that loss with the addition of Karsyn Freeman, the reigning Pacific 2B League MVP. Just like she slotted into the Pirates’ volleyball lineup seamlessly, coach Chris Bannish will be looking for her to take on a leading role alongside Adna’s returning trio of Gaby Guard, Danika Hallom, and Kendall Humphrey.

Rainier, just like last year, and just like in volleyball, is the wild card, returning its entire starting five. The Mountaineers’ back court, of Angelica Askey, Bryn Beckman and Brooklynn Swenson, stacks up with just about anyone in the area — or the state, for that matter — while Haleigh Hanson is back with a year more of experience in the post. 

Already, Rainier has sent a shot across the bow, upending Adna 52-49 in the Pirates’ own gym — Adna’s first home league loss since 2018. The Mountaineers have sent the message that they’ve arrived; now, they just have to prove they can stay at that top echelon the rest of the winter.

Beyond those three, the rest of the area isn’t lacking for returners either. Morton-White Pass, the only other area team to make last year’s District 4 tournament, brings back four starters for first-year head coach Tim Robert. Winlock returns three. Toledo returns two, with a third in Hope Gould, who comes back after missing all of last season with an injury.

Onalaska, which went winless in league play last season, has three returning starters of its own, and adds freshman Emalie Jacoby, who already helped spark a turnaround for the Loggers this fall in volleyball.

Adna Pirates

Coach: Chris Bannish (12th year)

Years Coaching- Entering 12th season

Record:  22-6 (District runner-up, sixth in State)

Returning Starters: Gaby Guard, Danika Hallom, Kendall Humphrey

Newcomers to Watch:  Karsyn Freeman, Bailey Chapman, Ava Humphrey, Ashlee VonMoos

Quoteable: “When you have kids that love the game it makes everyday enjoyable for us coaches.”

Morton-White Pass T-Wolves

Coach: Tim Roberts (First year) 

2022-23 record/finish: 7-14 (District tournament)

Returning starters: McKenzee Mays, Natalia Armstrong, Kiera Miller, Malia Armstrong

Newcomer(s) to watch Ryelin Wiedenmann

Quoteable: “I am super happy with the early progress we’ve made thus far and the level of overall basketball IQ and athleticism of this group.”

Onalaska Loggers

Coach: Alana Olson (Four year)

2022-23 record/finish: 2-18 (Missed District tournament)

Returning starters: Kiayah Sandridge, Cierra Berg, Randi Haight 

Newcomer(s) to watch: Emalie Jacoby

Napavine Tigers

Coach Shane Schutz (16th year)

2022-23 finish: 24-4 (District champions, fifth in State)

Returning starters: Keira O'Neill, Hayden Kaut, Taylen Evander, Avery Schutz

Newcomer(s) to watch: Dakota Hamilton

Rainier Mountaineers

Coach: Brandon Eygabroad (Sixth year)

2022-23 record/finish: 21-7 (Third in district, State tournament)

Returning starters: Angelica Askey, Brooklynn Swenson, Bryn Beckman, Janess Blackburn, Haleigh Holmes

Newcomer(s) to watch: Acacia Murphy, Anika Plowman

Toledo Riverhawks

Coach: Randy Wood (Third year)

2022-23 record/finish: 8-11 (Missed District tournament)

Returning starters: Stefani Arceo-Hansen, Ryah Stanley

Newcomer(s) to watch: Quyn Norberg, Kira Winters

Winlock Cardinals

Coach: Dracy McCoy (Third year)

2022-23 record/finish: 6-14 (Missed District tournament)

Returning starters: Kindyl Kelly, Adriana Garcia, Natalie Cardenas

Newcomer(s) to watch: Tori Sancho