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High School Sports Blog

The latest news and analysis on high-school sports around the Seattle area

December 28, 2007 at 11:05 AM

10 boys games to look for in 2008

Our area teams have scattered all across the West Coast this weekend, playing in tournaments from San Diego to Juneau, Alaska. But once the New Year comes, they will return to their conference schedules, and then the season will start to really get interesting.

With 2008 approaching, I’d rather look ahead than back. So with that, I’ve put together a long list of the conference games that figure to be most influential this season. And from that list, I’ve parsed it down to the top 10 games I’m looking forward to the most this winter. Tomorrow, I’ll have the girls games. Today, I have the boys:

10. Seattle Prep at O’Dea, Jan. 29, 7:30.

9. Federal Way at Decatur, Jan. 24, 7:30.

8. Franklin at Roosevelt, Jan. 22, 7:30.

7. Mariner at Meadowdale, Jan. 22, 7:30.

6. Rainier Beach at O’Dea, Jan. 18, 7:30.

5. Mercer Island at Bellevue, Jan. 8, 7:30.

4. Auburn at Enumclaw, Jan. 31, 7:30.

3. Mount Rainier at Renton, Jan. 31, 7.

2. Decatur at Kentwood, Jan. 31, 7:30.

1. Franklin at Garfield, Feb. 8., 8.

If you click on “Continue reading” below, I have comments on each game and a longer list of the season’s top games to come.

Morning stars

1. Jordan Hamilton, Seattle Prep, boys basketball. Scored 32 points in an 85-61 victory against Pleasant Grove, Calif., in the Another Level Christmas Classic.

2. Lindsey Moore, Kentwood, girls basketball. Led the Conks with 22 in a victory against Bothell that sets up Saturday’s marquee game against Issaquah.

3. Alfie Miller, Mount Rainier, boys basketball. Scored 24 points in a 65-61 win against Bothell in the Comcast Christmas Classic at Bothell, setting up a semifinal game against Skyline tonight at 8:30.

Tonight’s top games

1. Kentwood vs. Prairie, boys basketball, 7 p.m. at St. Martin’s College in Lacey. Two teams with high state playoff hopes meet in the Saint Martin’s Tournament.

2. Roosevelt at Jackson, girls basketball, 7:30 p.m. Two of the top area teams in Class 4A play a non-league game.

3. Lake Stevens vs. Moses Lake, girls basketball, 3:45 p.m. The undefeated Vikings get their best test yet: No. 2 Moses Lakes.

As promised, I’ve expanded on each of the 10 games:

10. Seattle Prep at O’Dea, Jan. 29, 7:30.

This is a rematch of the 2006 Class 3A championship, but it’s also a rematch of O’Dea’s 55-54 victory against Prep on Dec. 18. At the time, the win registered as an upset, considering O’Dea’s slow start (losing two of its first three). Now the defending 3A champions are 5-2 and looking like contenders in the Metro Mountain division. Prep figures to be the top competition there, and this game could decide who takes the division.

9. Federal Way at Decatur, Jan. 24, 7:30.

These two rivals out of the uber-competitive SPSL 4A North will actually meet twice in January, but I figure the second game should have more hanging on the line. No one yet has been able to beat Decatur, so we’ll see how Aaron Broussard, Jeff Forbes and the rest of the Eagles fare.

8. Franklin at Roosevelt, Jan. 22, 7:30.

The only time these two KingCo 4A teams will meet this season, at least until the district tournament. Franklin, with early wins against Garfield and Inglemoor, set itself up as the favorite in the Lake Division, and Roosevelt is undefeated so far in the Mountain Division. If you want to see exceptional guard play, this is the game to see.

7. Mariner at Meadowdale, Jan. 22, 7:30.

Mariner came from behind in the fourth quarter to beat Meadowdale on Dec. 18, and Joey Dillon scored a season-high 24 points to lead the Marauders. The WesCo South title could hinge on the rematch (though don’t forget about Edmonds-Woodway). And because they barely missed the list, this should be a good time to mention the Jan. 8 and Feb. 5 games between Lake Stevens and Snohomish, big WesCo North games.

6. Rainier Beach at O’Dea, Jan. 18, 7:30.

Rainier Beach knows any road to the Class 3A championship must go through O’Dea at some point. Few teams have been better against the Vikings in recent history than the defending champion Irish, who beat Rainier Beach in the 2007 and 2004 state tournaments. It will take an almost perfect night from the smaller Irish to beat Rainier Beach, which isn’t only extremely deep and talented. The Vikings also appear to only keep getting better.

5. Mercer Island at Bellevue, Jan. 8, 7:30.

Top top-five teams in Class 3A are getting their two games out of the way early. Undefeated Mercer Island won when these teams met in the season opener, but this Bellevue team is already playing much better than it did to open the season. With a young team with two significant transfers — sophomore Aaron Bright and junior Colton Christian — it took a few games for the Wolverines to get going. But now they’ve won eight straight and won the Maui Christmas Classic. It’s also possible that junior Alex Schrempf returns by the time this game comes around.

4. Auburn at Enumclaw, Jan. 31, 7:30.

Jan. 31 will be a great night for basketball, with three showdowns that could have each conference’s title at stake. In the SPSL 3A, Auburn will look for the season sweep of Enumclaw. In Auburn’s win earlier this month, it was able to lock down Enumclaw’s star guard, Julian Fernandez, who scored only 12 points in a 55-43 Auburn victory. Can Auburn hold down Fernandez and the Hornets again?

3. Mount Rainier at Renton, Jan. 31, 7.

The Seamount has three undefeated teams, and they all meet twice in January. The final meeting will be this one, and it sets up as one of the area’s best late-season games. Alfie Miller has Mount Rainier on a roll, but few teams have been hotter than Renton, which used two big early wins to move up to second in our Class 3A rankings — and survived a close one Thursday against Bainbridge.

2. Decatur at Kentwood, Jan. 31, 7:30.

The first time these two SPSL 4A North powers met, Kentwood couldn’t stop Marcus Tibbs late, and Decatur won in overtime. Who knows what will happen over the next month, but it’s possible that the division could rest on this game, each team’s last in the regular season. I’m interested in how much Kentwood’s young big man Josh Smith improves as the season goes on; he could be the difference in this one.

1. Franklin at Garfield, Feb. 8., 8.

It’s not only that this game could have KingCo 4A title consequences — not an enormous stretch, considering Garfield’s play of late — or that it will feature two of the West Coast’s best underclassmen in Tony Wroten and Peyton Siva. It’s also that on the last night of the regular season, we could have the final conference game between these two longtime city rivals. Franklin’s heading back to the Metro League next year, and Garfield is staying in KingCo 4A. I’m sure these teams will find a way to keep playing, but not with the same kind of stakes. This could be a game remembered for a long time.

Here’s the longer list of top games I compiled:

By conference

By date

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