This year may have been one of the last that Northern Nevada had a shot at a state title as the power appears to have shifted south, a least for the near future.
That doesn’t mean the race in DI North isn’t going to be interesting. Next year will be the first in six years Reno will not have a McGwire on its roster. Morgan McGwire is finishing up her freshman season at Santa Clara while Mallory is off to Oregon.
So what does that mean for the DI North picture? Here’s a premature look at the 2016-17 DI North girls hoops landscape:
1. Bishop Manogue Miners
The Miners will be without team captains Tawni Henderson, a first teamer, and Hannah Bingham, a second teamer, but are plenty prepared for a run at a third straight regional title.
Point guard Katie Turner will return for her senior season after being named the Sierra League Player of the Year this winter and will bring to-be seniors Malia Holt (first team) and Maddie Camacho (honorable mention) with her. Throw in key returners Julia McElwee and LT Nixon and the Miners should open the season as favorites.
2015-16 record: 21-2, 16-0 Sierra League No. 1
2. Reno Huskies
Mallory McGwire, the High Desert League Player of the Year and future Oregon Duck, and Daranda Hinkey, are on their way out of the program. That doesn’t mean the cupboard is empty.
Returning for the Huskies will be to-be senior Dominque Harding, a first-team selection who averaged 12.6 points per game this winter, Mikayla Shults, who averaged 7.7 ppg her sophomore season and earned second-team accolades, Kaitlyn Biassou, who earned second-team honors after averaging 6.1 ppg game as a freshman, and McKain Murdock, who received honorable mention as a sophomore.
The departures of McGwire and Hinkey hurts, but Reno still has pieces.
2015-16 record: 27-4, 15-1 High Desert League No. 1
3. Douglas Tigers
Douglas was one of the youngest teams in Northern Nevada this winter and still advanced to the regional semifinals.
First teamer Maddy Lowe will graduate this spring but the Tigers bring back a handful of starters who just completed their freshman seasons. Janae Bluehorse and Hailey Hughes were named to the second team while Alexa Moss received honorable mention.
2015-16 record: 13-13, 9-7 Sierra League No. 3
4. McQueen Lancers
The Lancers were undoubtedly led by first teamer Sadaria McAlister (12.4 ppg) this winter. They will have to manage without her, and Holly White, who received honorable mention, next year.
But they still bring back three starters from this year’s team that finished second in the High Desert League. Kendra McAninch (first team, 6.6 ppg) will be a sophomore, Izzy Warren (second team, 7 ppg) will be a junior and Haley Webbert (second team, 6.4 ppg) will be a senior.
2015-16 record: 19-7, 12-4 High Desert League No. 2
5. Reed Raiders
Last year was a rebuild. Reed still advanced to the postseason as the High Desert League’s fourth seed but in the quarterfinal loss at Bishop Manogue, the starting lineup consisted of two sophomores and a trio of freshmen. The Raiders had a brief Senior Night. They didn’t have a single senior on the roster.
Returning next year will be the tandem of Taylor Johnson and Serene Townsell-Williams. Both started as freshmen and will be gearing up for their junior seasons. Johnson was a first-team selection this winter and Townsell-Williams was named to the second team. The Raiders will also have to-be sophomore Vanessa Hernandez, who burst onto the scene as a freshman and earned second-team accolades.
If Reed improves defensively, it can be a contender.
2015-16 record: 11-10, 9-7 High Desert League No. 4
Needs to get in the gym: North Valleys Panthers
To view how the 2015-16 rankings adjusted over the course of the season, click here.