Top players in Washington State

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triplets
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Good to see recognition of Brittany McPhee (2014), who leads Puget Sound area scorers with 28.8 ppg.  Just behind her are Raven Benton(2013) of Federal Way HS with 27 ppg. and Riley Clarke (2015) of Emerald Ridge HS (Puyallup) with 23 ppg.  All three girls play in the SPSL (4A), all are about 5-11, and they are former AAU teammates.  Riley is a PG, the other two are wings.  Very comparable in athleticism and ball skills.

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ClayK
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Great info. Where are Clarke

Great info. Where are Clarke and Benton going to play next year?

And which is the best team, regardless of level, in the state?

Striker2
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I hear that Raven is being looked at by WSU. Brittany will probably have her choice of colleges in 2014, but Gonzaga will probably have the edge because her dad and uncle played there back in the day. Riley is a sophomore; Stanford is her first love, UW and Yale are probably numbers 2 and 3.

Prepsfan13
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ER vs Federal Way

I attended a game between Federal Way and Emerald Ridge this last December and it was one of the better girls basketball games I've seen, as far as individual performances go. Neither Raven nor Riley has much support from their teammates, but in that game it was back in forth between the two. Both had 35 points in the performance, and I don't think anyone left the gym disappointed. They play again on January 8th at Emerald Ridge and I'll definitely be there. Clarke particularly intrigues me, she's just a sophomore, but has the athletic abilities, basketball iq, defensive know how, and all the little things big time schools will be looking for, and has two more years to develop them. I could definitely see her going to Stanford if she stays on the track she's on.

ClayK
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Great info ... What kind of

Great info ...

What kind of players are they? Shooters, slashers, etc.? A lot of talented girls only go to the rim because no one can stop them at this level, but then they struggle a bit when they can't outquick people any more.

Any thoughts on the better teams in the state of Washington?

 

Prepsfan13
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Player types

Raven Benton is definitely a more pure shooter than either Clarke or Mcphee, and they can all get to the rim with relative ease as you'd expect. Clarke is a very pure mid range shooter who gets good elevation when she shoots, which generally allows for her to be able to pull up in traffic at will. As for Mcphee, I'm not quite sure where her strengths lie, I haven't seen her play since last years high school state championships. If I'm remembering correctly however, she did much of her scoring at the rim, while she doesn't have the build of Benton or Clarke, she's a very lengthy girl that gives defenders problems going to the basket. However, if she is to play at the next level, I believe Mcphee will need to add a little bulk to her frame to avoid getting pushed around by physical defenders. Out of the three I'd have to say, Raven is the best shooter, but she's not only a shooter, she can get into the lane and mix it up as well, but she's got a quick release which is a great attribute to have at any level. Riley Clarke's strengths are attacking the rim with her size and quickness which are unmatched (LeBron James like combination) but her only weakness may be her shooting from beyond the arc which can improve in time, and as I stated earlier, her ability to shoot in traffic will help her throughout her career as well. As for Mcphee, I can only remember her as a slasher who rarely chooses to extend her game beyond the painted area. 

Top teams in the state: http://seattletimes.com/html/highschoolsports/girlshoopsrank.html

Prepsfan13
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Recap

Raven Benton and Riley Clarke, what can one say other than, astonishing. Neither player has a good supporting cast around them for their high school teams, and where Raven's is a little bit better, that little bit is a lot in this scenario, they make due with they have. I'm convinced if Riley Clarke did not attend Emerald Ridge, the team would struggle to get across half court against the press or get any quality shots up. In the game tonight, Riley Clarke (5'10 sophomore pg) had 30 points and 13 rebounds while Raven Benton (5'10 senior guard) had 20 points. Raven's team got the W, and it came on a night where Raven didn't find much of a rhythm until the second half, but when she found that rhythm, oh boy was she fun to watch. A defender had no idea what may happen, she may cross over and hit a step back three, go right by you and lay it in or draw a double team and make a beautiful pass to the open teammate. The game of basketball comes effortlessly to Raven when she's in her zone. As for Riley Clarke, she does it all, she controls the floor with her ball handling, court awareness/vision, and shot making abilities. She has a knack for getting to the rim and finishing or drawing fouls, her ability to shoot the mid range jumper gives defenders fits, and she does all the little things, such as crashing the boards, she wanted the ball more than anyone else tonight. Her 30 points could've been 40 if a few more shots would've decided to go in once half way down instead of out. Emerald Ridge tonight was interesting to watch because it was so obvious how lost they'd be if they didn't get the blessing of having a great player such as Riley Clarke on their team, but she still attempts to involve her teammates which is the sign of a great leader, but you almost wonder sometimes instead of throwing a great pass which are just dropped and turned over, would she be better off holding on to the ball unless it was a necessity to pass? While Raven would seem to have the same problem, there were players who stepped up while she was not sharp in the first half that paced Federal Way, but unfortunately for Clarke she got little to no help from her teammates in the game tonight. 

Watching these two play the game of basketball is truly a treat, and if you're in the state of Washington and enjoy great basketball players, these are two you need to go and see.

Riley Clarke as just a sophomore, has so much upside it scares me, not only is she athleticaly incredible compared to others, she has all the nuances of a great player. She made the only three pointer she attempted tonight, and if she adds that to her arsenal, her opponents in the SPSL and during her AAU season better watch out because that makes her nearly unguardable. A player who loves to pass and get teammates involved, but who is also capable of dropping 30 points on you at any given moment, well I wish those teams who face her luck in the years to come, she's going to be frightening.

ClayK
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Great info. What AAU teams do

Great info. What AAU teams do they play for, do you know?

Prepsfan13
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AAU

Raven is a senior so her AAU career is over, but Riley Clarke plays for Tree of Hope, which is a team made up from girls all across pierce and king county generally and I know they generally have a very talented team. As for Brittany Mcphee where she'll be playing AAU this summer I'm not quite sure? Perhaps someone else would have insight on her summer plans for AAU?

Prepsfan13
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Mchpees'

Did a little research and found out Brittany and her twin sister Jordan both play for an AAU team called the NW blazers. The same team has had a few girls each of the last two years go to Oregon State and Boise State as well.

ClayK
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Tree of Hope is always pretty

Tree of Hope is always pretty good, and the Northwest Blazers have had some good showings.

Are Brittany and Jordan a package deal?

 

Prepsfan13
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Mchpees'

Recent news is that Jordan wants to go with her sister and pursue basketball. Jordan won cross country state in 11' and got second this year, but as far as a package deal, that's all I've heard. So it may be true, but she also may pursue cross country. As time goes on, I'm sure more will come out about them going somewhere together or parting ways, but it will be very interesting to see.

Prepsfan13
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Riley Clarke

Local newspaper article on Riley Clarke of Emerald Ridge, and she was also recently one of the WIAA state players of the week. 

http://www.thenewstribune.com/2013/01/02/2420903/jaguars-moving-into-con...

http://www.wiaa.com/subcontent.aspx?SecID=961

Prepsfan13
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Top Teams

One of the top teams in the state of Washington is out of the spokane area, and that'd be Gonzaga Prep. They're 12-1 in the state and have 4 girls averaging 10.3 ppg, so it seems that they have a spread out attack. I haven't had the privilege of watching them this year, but that right there sounds like the make-up of a team that can make a deep post season run!

A similar team, which I have watched, is Puyallup High School, which has many options offensively and all of their players seem to know their role on the team and play the game very efficiently. They have solid guard play and a couple 6'/6'1" post players, very young, expect to seem them around for a while. Now that'd be a match-up I'd be very interested in seeing!

The other teams that I didn't mention, but are very great teams (Mt Rainier with the Mchphee twins is one example) are all talented, but the place I'm located there are really only the local schools that I get out and watch. Mentioned Gonzaga Prep to start because their spread out scoring attack impressed me. Hope to see all these 4A schools at the state championship come March!

State Ranking as of Jan. 12th:

 

1. Mount Rainier (Des Moines)  13-0 1
2. Mead (Spokane)  8-1 
3. Gonzaga Prep (Spokane) 9-0 
4. Lynnwood 13-1 
5. Arlington 14-0 
6. Woodinville 13-2 
7. Puyallup 13-1 
8. Skyline (Sammamish) 12-3 
9. Inglemoor (Kenmore) 10-1 
10. Walla Walla

 

ClayK
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Great info. Last time I

Great info. Last time I looked, Mt. Rainier hadn't played anyone out of state, so it's really hard to see how good they are on the national scene.

For whatever reason, Spokane always seems to have strong girls' programs, and Prairie Brush out of Vancouver has been nationally ranked in the past.

Prepsfan13
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Mt. Rainier

While they have not played anyone out of state, they're walking through the teams they do play, and tomorrow they take on Oregon City in the King Showcase in Kent. Oregon City, who is ranked 12th on maxpreps and ranked first in the state of Oregon should give them a good test, and give us all an idea of how good they truly are. As well, give Brittany McPhee an opportunity to shine on a big stage. I'll hopefully be able to get up that game and watch for myself, otherwise I'll just be left reading the reviews of what takes place.

ClayK
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A win over Oregon City might

A win over Oregon City might push Mt. Rainier into the national rankings ... will there be a story in the Seattle Times, do you think?

Prepsfan13
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Seattle Times

There should be a story in the Seattle Times and if there's not, there's almost certainly going to be coverage from The News Tribune, which is the Tacoma based paper which covers a majority of the south sound area for sports. 

If I see anything tomorrow on the game, I'll post the link here for you, as well, if I go, I'll be sure to give my own insight on the game.

Prepsfan13
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Mt. Rainier vs Oregon City

Here's a quick recap of the game 

http://blog.thenewstribune.com/preps/2013/01/21/paines-buzzer-beater-lif...

Brittany McPhee: Very impressive performance by McPhee, proving to me that she deserves the hype she gets in the state and nationally. She can mix it up on the inside and is an aggressive player, she scores, crashes the boards, and is willing to get on the floor to get the basketball. Brittany definitely showed a will to win, and a heart for the game. She's a true wing, she's not uncomfortable with the ball in her hands, but from what I saw, she's better at coming off screens and attacking or turning and facing from the elbow, however, she can put the ball on the floor when necessary and be just fine. While it did not appear to me that she has yet developed a great outside game to stretch the defense, that didn't stop her production. She attempted a few outside shots, and the shot itself looked okay, she wasn't able to knock any of them down however. She had a fairly quiet first half in this game, scoring just 12 points, but she was able to get the ball more often in the second half, specifically the fourth quarter and keep her team in the game. She finished with 30 points, and while her team came up a bit short in the end, they proved to me that their #1 ranking according to the Seattle Times and The News Tribune is well deserved, and they have a strong shot at the state title for 4A this season.

Oregon City: Clearly a team with much more depth than Mt. Rainier, they were very impressive with their execution of plays and their press defense was very affective as well. They have two very solid players, one being their point guard (00) and their post/wing (32). While the rest of their teams play their roles precisely how you'd want them to. Seems to me, the most successful teams I've watched this year (boys or girls) are the ones who have coaches who have gotten their players to buy into their roles on the team, and that's precisely what Coach Kurt Guelsdorf has done at Oregon City. Oregon City is a well coached team, and is a legitimate national power from what I watched. Do not take anything away from them for getting taken to overtime by Mt. Rainier, the rams are a very good team as well, and are capable of competing on the big stage.

Mt. Rainier: A very good performance by the rams, who have somewhat accomplished the same thing that Oregon City has, but with less talent around their one star. They do not have any players who attempt more than they're capable of, and it seemed they recognized that they go, as Brittany goes. If they continue to play team basketball around their star, then they should have a very successful post season.

Recap: Great game, Oregon City is a legitimate power, Brittany McPhee is a big time prospect with tons of upside, and the Mt. Rainier Rams proved they can play with the best of them.

 

ClayK
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So it sounds like Mt. Rainier

So it sounds like Mt. Rainier lost. Any idea of the score?

Prepsfan13
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Hoping the link to the

Hoping the link to the article worked?

Yes, 54-52 was the final after ot

ClayK
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Great effort by Mt. Rainier.

Great effort by Mt. Rainier. A couple more points and they might have been knocking on the door of a national ranking ...

 

 

Prepsfan13
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All SPSL Teams

SPSL South: MVP: Raven Benton; First Team: Megan Huff, Junior, Todd Beamer; Riley Clarke, Sophomore, Emerald Ridge; Kalani Ulufale, Senior, Rogers; Nneka Nnadi, Senior, Spanaway Lake; Addison Picha, Sophomore, Puyallup.

SPSL North: MVP: Brittany McPhee; First Team: Sarah Toenia, Kentwood; Shantell Jackson, Auburn Riverside; Jordan McPhee, Mount Rainier; Chardonae Miller, Tahoma; Stephanie Luce, Kentlake.

As for All State teams they have not been selected for Washington yet, the SPSL or South Puget Sound League makes up a large part of Pierce County. 

Would be shocked if Gatorade State Player of the Year goes to someone outside of Brittany or Raven, they finished with a one point difference overall for the regular season scoring title, the edge going to Raven. However, I'd give the edge to Brittany for the award, seeing that she's the defending player of the year and is on the better team. Personally, I feel the award should go to Raven. However I do not get a vote on this.

I'm excited to get these underclassmen's AAU seasons' started however, see who can break through and become the state's next big time recruit. My vote goes to Riley Clarke on that one!

ClayK
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What about Mead? That's the

What about Mead? That's the best team in the state, and if they win the state title, wouldn't they have a Player of the Year candidate?

Prepsfan13
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Mead

Not having seen the team play I cannot answer that with a whole lot of assurance, but my gut tells me they are a much more spread out team, with no one player that stands out. So, I'd have to say they do not have anyone that will get strong consideration for the award, no matter how well the team has performed thus far.

Prepsfan13
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WA Basketball

Link to Spokane Area Statistics:

http://www.spokesman.com/preps/stats/gsl-basketball/

Spokane-area teams typically play a structured, balanced "old-school" type of system that wins championships but doesn't develop or feature individual stars.  As you can see from the attached stat sheet, the highest scorers in Spokane are far less prolific than their counterparts in the Puget sound area.  The best Spokane players end up in the Big Sky Conference (with notable exceptions being Angie Bjorkland, 2-time Gatorade POY who went to Tennesseee, Kari Hutchinson from little St. George's, who started for Notre Dame in the mid-90's, and Kelsey Moos from Class B Reardan, who has a scholarship this year to Arizona State.)

Possible top recruits out of Washington for the upcoming two years

2014
 
1.Brittany McPhee, 5-11 Wing, Mt. Rainier
2. Taylor Ferris, 5-11 Wing, Renton*
3.Chandler Smith, 6-0 Guard, Brewster
4.Kelli Kingma, 5-8 Guard, Jackson*
5. Megan Huff, 6-3 Center, Todd Beamer
 
2015
 
1. Riley Clarke, 5-11 PG, Emerald Ridge*
2. Deja Strother, 6-5, 300# Center, Inglemoor*
3. Joyce Harrell, 6-0 Wing, Cleveland*
4. Jayde Christopher, 5-7 PG, Cleveland*
5. Laura Stockton, 5-6 PG, Gonzaga Prep
 
* Plays AAU ball for Tree of Hope

Prepsfan13
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Mount Rainier District Champions

Watched Mount Rainier win the West Central Distric 3 championship over Todd Beamer on Monday handedly and the main reason for wanting to go and watch the game was to get another look at Washington's top 2014 recruit, Brittany McPhee, and while at this high school level she is very affective in the role she plays and how she plays, but I left with questions.

What are scouts thinking when watching McPhee?

She will not be high post in college, so what are scouts who watch her thinking if this is all they see her doing?

Can she face the basket and attack?

During the game it became apparent, that for her size, 6' maybe 6'1" she is in no way a post in college, but she has not developed guard skills so how will she be utilized? She can score going to the rim when coming off screens, but if she's defended by a college level athlete and guard, she does not have a quick enough first step to get around the defender one on one.

Love watching her play, she plays with heart and effort, but if I'm going to give my honest opinion on the three elite players I have watched this year, Benton, McPhee, and Clarke, the edge goes to Benton or Clarke. They are much more fluid as players and do things more effectively than McPhee. McPhee also has the benefit of players passing to her when she gets into position where if I was scouting Benton or Clarke, both similar size to McPhee, you can see they have the ability to face the rim and make a decision from there. There is none of that for McPhee, when she had the ball on the wing she would pick up her dribble and pass to a guard then move to high post. She has not shown me enough ability to create for herself or others off the dribble for me to say she is better recruit than Sophomore Riley Clarke or senior Raven Benton. While McPhee is getting most of the publicity thus far, it may start to change going into next year after the summer sessions are completed. Speaking between McPhee and Clarke exclusively, who knows what other players will make big jumps this summer. 

ClayK
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It is really a shame when

It is really a shame when high school and AAU coaches sacrifice a player's future for short-term wins.

At 5-11 or 6-0, unless McPhee is superstrong, she's a wing in college, and should have been playing a wing in club and high school. (Even more so for Tree of Hope, because who remembers who wins games during the summer? AAU is supposed to about developing individuals, and you sure don't develop a wing by playing her at the post.)

I had an incoming freshman this year who's about 5-10, and she had played nothing but post her entire life. I could have kept her there, but she has the potential to play in college so I immediately moved her to the wing and had her shoot threes and guard perimeter players.

She struggled a bit, not surprisingly, but she really developed, and hopefully she'll be on the wing this summer as well.

Players naturally want to do what they do well, so it's up to coaches to look out for the future and point out to the 5-11 girl that she better be able to shoot threes and defend in space, or she won't be playing D-1 college basketball.

Granted, coaches have an obligation to their teams, but especially summer coaches have an obligation to their players as well.

 

 

 

Prepsfan13
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McPhee plays for NW Blazers

Cannot speak for McPhee's AAU team, due to not seeing them play up to this point. Tree of Hope, at least last year, did a good job at putting girls in the position they'd be in for college. 

Brittany has a lot of abilities, and she does have the game for the college level. She just will need to work on being able to come off the dribble more, and becoming a better athlete.

ESPN rates her at a 90 and I would not disagree with that grading, but do believe her ability with the ball in her hands must develop for her to have continued success at the D-1 level. 

Agree with what you stated though, it happens all to often that coaches plug girls down in the post due to their size at a young age, then the girl is limited in her abilities until it's too late during high school and she cannot continue to college as a 5'10" post.

What you did with that girl is what all coaches need to do with u