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Harlan Carter Invitational girls preview

With a full week or more under our belts, it’s time for the ladies. The 45th annual Harlan Carter basketball tournament tips off Thursday at Shasta High School and runs through the championship game on Saturday. The Enterprise Hornets are defending champions and look to make it two in a row. They open against Willows, while fellow district school Foothill opens with Placer and the host Shasta Wolves have Eureka at 7 p.m. Thursday in the marquee game. Other schools include Chico and Sacramento High.

Shasta’s Isabelle Smith and the Wolves host this year’s girls Harlan Carter basketball tournament beginning Thursday at Harlan Carter gym. (Photo by Aaron Williams / Shasta County Sports)

With a full week or more under our belts, it’s time for the ladies. The 45th annual Harlan Carter basketball tournament tips off Thursday at Shasta High School and runs through the championship game on Saturday. The Enterprise Hornets are defending champions and look to make it two in a row. They open against Willows, while fellow district school Foothill opens with Placer and the host Shasta Wolves have Eureka at 7 p.m. Thursday in the marquee game. Other schools include Chico and Sacramento High.

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Here’s a look at each squad heading into Thursday’s action.

Shasta
After a season-opening win over West Valley, the Wolves struggled a bit against Division I Davis and Division II Wood at the Dorothy Speck tournament in Davis.

Shasta fell in the seventh-place game to EAL foe PV 53-49. Sharpshooter Ava Jackson is leading the team, averaging 11 points per game and sophomores Isabelle Smith and Bella Rodriguez each are chipping in more than seven points per night. The Wolves are young – starting three sophomores  and two juniors (Taryn Giacomelli and Julianna Flores). They play fast and fearless, but can be prone to young mistakes.

Enterprise
The Hornets come in to Harlan Carter with one loss – a quality loss to the No. 1 Division II school in the state, Antelope.

Jadyn Matthews has been wrecking shop for first-year coach Anthony Williams, as she’s averaging close to 30 points per night and leading the section in scoring. Mianna Saechao, D’Zire Lewis and freshman Abigail Shoff have provided help with the Hornets nurse Karina Archibald back into the lineup after an injury .

Foothill
Jenna Wallace has been tearing things up and her supporting cast has been nails as the Cougars took the consolation title at the Arcata Invitational over the weekend.

Wallace and Riley Wallen (8.3 ppg) took all tournament honors. Wallace is averaging a double-double on the young season and Foothill is also getting contributions from Melissa Mitchell and Delanie Henning, all four of whom were on the Shasta County Sports returning player countdown. The Cougars could exact revenge on Eureka for a semifinal loss last week should the two meet at some point in the bracket.

Sacramento
The Dragons bring back RyAnne Walters, Rebekah Brown and Andriana Avent from a squad that was 18-12 last season and fell in the Sac-Joaquin Division II quarterfinals before losing to eventual state champion Pleasant Valley in the D-II NorCal bracket. Coach Michele Massari has a 10-year run of sustained excellence as last season’s 12 losses were the most in her tenure.

Willows
The lone reigning section title winner, the Honkers return leading scorer Meghan Weinrich for her junior season. As a sophomore, the first team All Northern Section honoree averaged 22 points per game as Willows won their first section crown since 1988. Weinrich is off to a hot start and will have help from Tayler Berens and Hanna Parisio.

Eureka
Makaila Napoleon dropped 22 in a semifinal win over Foothill last weekend in the Arcata Invitational Basketball Tournament and followed that with a 23-point night against McKinleyville in the title tilt. Sophia Chalmers helped the Loggers in the championship win, hitting from deep.

Placer
The Hillmen are Harlan Carter regulars, having won the tournament four straight years from 2003 to 2006. This year, Placer will rely on Anne Lillis, sister of Placer boys standout Jeremy Lillis, and all league point guard Tyra Al Mujadidi. Both shined in the Hillmen’s title at their own Coach G. Memorial over the weekend.

Chico
The Panthers started off the season 3-0, but dropped their last two games on the winner’s side of the bracket at the Gridley tournament. Savannah Wahl, Adair Hotmer and Sela Dowell have placed Gina Snider’s team. The Panthers made news by sharing practice time and gym space with the Paradise girls team in the wake of the deadly Camp Fire.

Aaron Williams has been involved in the North State sports scene for nearly two decades. He spent eight years as the Sports Editor for the local newspaper and another four more as the voice of high school football on the radio. In addition to coaching freshman football, Williams is also the public address announcer for the Shasta College football and basketball teams.

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