Players to Watch:
Shada Edwards, Clearwater Valley
Kadance Schilling, Clearwater Valley
Shelby Hanson, Genesee
Isabelle Monk, Genesee
Laney Landmark, Kamiah
Mariah Porter, Kamiah
Lauren Gould, Lapwai
Jaelyn McCormack-Marks, Lapwai
Jordyn McCormack-Marks, Lapwai
GraceAnn Vanderploeg, Logos
Jordan Reynolds, Potlatch
Tara Schlader, Prairie
Kristin Wemhoff, Prairie
Dericka Morgan, Troy
Written by: Christian Weaner
Not much has changed in the 1AD1 Whitepine League.
The overall competition within the league remains the best in the 1AD1 ranks, and Lapwai and Prairie continue to dominate at the state level.
The Wildcats and Pirates met in last season's 1AD1 State Championship game for the fifth time since 2014 and the eighth time in the past 33 years. Lapwai won handily 63-37, marking the program's eleventh state title and fifth in the past seven years.
This season, Lapwai will greatly miss shooting guards Sayq'is Greene and Grace Sobotta, who were both First Team All-League and All-State performers last season and knocked down a lot of clutch shots during their respective high school careers.
The defending champion Wildcats will return standout point guard Jordyn McCormack-Marks — a First Team All-State nominee during her sophomore campaign — as well as senior Lauren Gold, an All-League honorable mention in 2021-22. Lapwai also returns Qubilah Mitchell, Jayden Leighton and Amasone George from last season's state championship team.
Last year's 1AD1 Coach of the Year Ada Marks is also looking forward to seeing the instant impact that freshman Jaelyn McCormack-Marks, Skylin Parrish, Madden Bisbee and Taya Yearout can make.
The fountain of young talent at Lapwai continues to flow.
"All these girls have been playing together most of their lives and to see the camaraderie between them really come out," Marks said. "I am excited to see both Jordyn and Lauren taking on the 'big' sister role to these young girls and being their leaders along with entrusting their young teammates when they are out on the court together."
Prairie went 13-1 in the Whitepine League last year during the regular season before falling to Lapwai in both the league and state title games, and the Pirates will be looking for revenge this season.
2021-22 Whitepine League Coach of the Year Lori Mader will return a strong core of talent from a team that went 20-5 last season. The Pirates have Whitepine Player of the Year Kristen Wemhoff and Second Team All-State nominee Tara Schlader both coming back for their senior seasons. Wemhoff and Schlader both averaged more than 13 points and four steals per game last year, and they will need that same kind of production this season if Prairie hopes to knock off Lapwai and win the league.
Another Whitepine team that is looking to have a solid 2021-22 campaign is Genesee. The Bulldogs had a disappointing 4-18 record last season, but they were projected to finish third in the league in the preseason poll.
"Everyone is back from last year's team with some additional young players that will help right away," Bulldogs Head Coach Greg Hardie said. "I think we were better than our record last year and the girls have gained experience."
Genesee will be led by First Team All-Whitepine guard Isabelle Monk, who is entering her senior year. Hardie is also looking for contributions from returners Shelby Hanson, Riley Leseman and Monica Seuburt, in addition to newcomers Chloe Grieser and Sophie Johnson.
Clearwater Valley lost a close game to Wallace in a state play-in contest last season, and the Rams return a strong nucleus of talent from their 2021-22 squad that finished 15-9 and third overall in the Whitepine League.
Senior Shada Edwards and sophomore Kadance Schilling were both Second Team All-League last year and should be major factors for Clearwater Valley once again in 2022-23.
Troy, Potlatch and Kamiah are all looking to remain competitive in the league this season after finishing fourth through sixth, respectively, last year.
The Trojans will be lead by first-year head coach Guy Wells, who will have to cope with the losses of All-League selections Isabelle Raasch and Morgan Blazzard from last season's 11-9 team. Senior Katie Gray and juniors Dericka Morgan, Alaura Hawley, Bethany Phillis and Olivia Taylor are all back, however, providing Troy with a solid core of experienced players.
Juniors Laney Landmark (Second Team All-League) and Mariah Porter (honorable mention) are both returning this season and are looking to build upon Kamiah's 8-13 mark from 2021-22. Meanwhile, the Loggers have Second Team All-Whitepine nominee Jordan Reynolds back for her senior year.
Lastly, the Logos Knights, led by first-year Head Coach Gabriel Rench, round out the stacked Whitepine League field. Logos finished 5-14 last year and graduated All-League honorable mention Sydney Miller.
Despite losing Miller, Rench is excited to see returners Grace Ann Vanderploeg and Sara Casebolt make an impact this season.
"I really like the attitudes I have on this team," Rench said. "We are a young team, but it looks like we will work hard and not give up on each other."