PASCO -- Going into its inaugural season, the Chiawana girls basketball team had expectations.
Expectations to compete and make the Class 4A state tournament.
Fast forward a year, and the Riverhawks have the pressure of not only succeeding, but doing it with everyone in the state watching.
"People know who we are now, they know what to expect," Chiawana senior Shelby Ellsworth said. "We can't just sneak up on people like last year."
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Chiawana finished seventh at state last season, falling in the second round 57-45 to Auburn Riverside, the eventual state champions.
The Riverhawks won the Cascade Division in the regular season, before falling in the Eastern Regional championship game 54-48 to Mead.
This season, they are the early favorites to not only run the table, but compete for a state championship.
"Our expectations are we want to do better at state than last year," Chiawana coach Steve Davis said. "That's what we're shooting for."
Considering who the Riverhawks have back, there is no reason to think that goal is unattainable, either.
Chiawana returns eight players who saw significant playing time last season, including NCAA Division I signees in Mikaela Rivard (Portland State) and Hayley Hodgins (Eastern Washington). Melanie Valdez is headed to Central Washington.
"Last year was getting used to playing with each other," Ellsworth said. "This year is just about continuing what we accomplished last year."
Rivard averaged 14.9 points per game last season, while Hodgins added 12.9 and junior Sadie Sparks chipped in 9.0.
"We didn't lose anyone, so we have no excuse to not get our job done," Hodgins said. "And be better than last year."
One thing the Riverhawks do face in their quest to improve is facing teams not quite on their level as they prepare for the gauntlet that is the playoffs.
The team has set personal and team goals for each game and if they fail to meet them, Davis chooses the consequence.
Recently a goal was to have less than 17 turnovers in a game. Chiawana had more and the team got the joy of doing some extra running at practice.
"It's hard to get motivated to play these teams not at our level," Hodgins said, "but we need to remember to not play down and play at our pace and to keep getting better."
The Riverhawks should be challenged by Moses Lake, which has earned three consecutive state trophies and features University of Oregon signee Jordan Loera -- a four-year starter at point guard. The Chiefs also have 6-foot-4 post Kayla Bernsen, which can create problems for opposing teams with their inside-outside game.
"They will challenge us," Davis said. "Wenatchee has a lot back as well. Our league is better the top -- they'll give us some good, solid games."