PROSSER -- It's been nine games and more than a month since Prosser and East Valley faced off.
Mustangs coach Mark Little is expecting the Red Devils to be just a bit better this time around.
Prosser (11-0, 10-0 CWAC), ranked No. 1 in the state in the first Associated Press poll, defeated East Valley 52-41. The two teams meet again at 5:45 p.m. today at East Valley.
"They are always really good defensively, and I'm sure they are better than they were," Little said. "They don't give you a lot of easy baskets, and they have a lot of kids who can shoot."
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Little isn't knocking the Red Devils by saying they improved, just that most good teams are better 11 games into the season, rather than two games in.
Yasi Mohsenian leads East Valley (11-1, 9-1), averaging 10.3 points per game. Four other players score at least five points per game, giving the defensive-minded Red Devils good balance.
Both teams went to state last season, with Prosser finishing second and East Valley eighth.
"The expectations that we are concerned about are what we are doing," Little said. "If we play to our potential, we'll be fine. If not, anything can happen."
Prosser's Tamara Jones leads all CWAC players, averaging 21.1 points per game, while Tayshia Hunt is averaging 15.1 points and Sydney Mercer 10.5 for the high-flying offensive attack of the Mustangs.
"These kids have worked hard, and so it means a lot to them," Little said. "We have some skilled players."
Kiona-Benton: The Bears (9-3, 4-0 SCAC East) are coming off their first win against Connell in 10 or 12 years, according to coach Joe Wirtzberger, and it has given the team a major confidence boost.
"It is huge," Wirtzberger said. "The key was matching their intensity. They are real physical and they beat you for so long, they are expecting you to fold, but we didn't."
Connell (10-2, 4-1) and Columbia-Burbank have been the traditional powers in the SCAC East, but Kiona-Benton has moved to the top of the league this season thanks to having a healthy roster for the first time in a few years.
Taylor Brown (4.9 points per game) missed all of last season with a torn ACL after being all-league as a freshman.
Yesenia Torres (10 ppg) missed her freshman season after blowing out both knees as an eighth-grader. She played last year but hasn't been fully healthy until this season.
Add in the surprise production from Cierra Torp (14.4 ppg) and the strong play of Bailey Schroader (8.3 ppg), and the Bears have the weapons to make a run.
"The other girls developed while they were hurt," Wirtzberger said. "We are just a lot deeper. You can tell scoring-wise. There is not just one key player -- everybody can score."
Wahluke: The Warriors (1-11, 1-3) won their first game in nearly five years Tuesday, hammering Royal 56-23.
Coach Jeff Ahmann is in his second season of coaching and has made an obvious difference so far, even if the payoff didn't come until nearly halfway through this season.
Wahluke has been much more competitive this season than last.
Liberty Christian: The Patriots have six players back from last year's state-qualifying team and are off to a 3-1 start in Southeast 2B play.
Hannah Croskrey is averaging 12.6 points per game, while Hannah Berges is adding 10.8 per contest.
"We've had to make numerous adjustments from the team we played with last year and this summer," said coach Steve Dunham, who lost three of what could have been nine returning players. "Players are finally feeling comfortable in their new positions."
The Patriots (5-6, 3-1) play host to Asotin on Saturday and play Waitsburg-Prescott next weekend in two big matchups.
* Craig Craker: 509-582-1509; email@example.com