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Young teams looking ahead | 4A Girls Notebook
Gonzaga Prep, Kentwood and Inglemoor are among tournament teams loaded with young talent.
Special to The Seattle Times
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TACOMA — The young talent just keeps coming.
Three of the four teams relegated to consolation-bracket play on Friday might have a big say in the next two Class 4A girls basketball state tournaments.
At the front of that group might be fourth-ranked Gonzaga Prep, a 59-44 winner over an up-and-coming Kentwood squad in a loser-out contest. The Bullpups from Spokane, with four sophomore contributors led by point guard Laura Stockton and post menace Otiona Gildon, have an eye toward the future.
"This is this group's second year here," Gonzaga Prep coach Mike Arte said. "It pays off great. All of them play on a high-level AAU team and that's great experience, and then they come to us. This is a wonderful experience."
Kentwood retains three key sophomores and a freshman. Inglemoor brings back five sophomores and two freshmen.
The Bullpups faced four elimination games, including three road contests, to get to the Tacoma Dome.
Gildon hopes for a title run in the future.
"We have four sophomores now, and I think by our senior year we're going to be a pretty good squad," she said.
Kentwood's 5-foot-10 junior, Sarah Toeaina, also expects the Conquerors to be back.
"We are going to go into next year even stronger. We know how it feels in this environment, and we're just prepared even more now."
Inglemoor also has high hopes for the future.
"With so many young players, I guess we can only get better," said 6-4 Vikings sophomore Deja Strother.
Senior Chalayia Fuller was the ultimate glue player for Inglemoor this season.
No time was more evident than when Fuller missed a stretch of five games after passing kidney stones and having a surgical procedure for it. The Vikings suffered their only two regular-season losses during her absence.
"She's a heck of a kid," Inglemoor coach John Augustavo said. "She will be a tough one to replace."