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High School Sports Blog

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

February 26, 2008 at 10:43 AM

Bracket thoughts, predictions

It always seems like each year in each tournament, there’s one side of one bracket that everyone thinks is the strongest. For example, on the girls side this year, some coaches on the upper half were legitimately upset about an eight-pack of teams that includes No. 1 Lewis & Clark, No. 2 Prairie, No. 4 Lake Stevens, No. 9 Inglemoor and No. 10 Mt. Tahoma. Although No. 3 Jackson, No. 5 Skyview, No. 7 Kentwood and No. 8 Moses Lake, all in the same quarter of the bracket, might be wondering how they’re so lucky to be on the lower half.

(My girls pick: Prairie 47, Jackson 43).

But on the boys side, no one said a word about the different halves of the brackert. This might be one of the WIAA’s most balanced brackets ever, and it sets up some potential compelling matchups in each round. And you could sense the excitement from the coaches — we are about to have a great tournament.

For starters, only two teams have gone through this season without losing to a Washington team: Franklin and Ferris. They’re on different sides of the bracket.

After that, the general consensus has been that Lincoln, Kentridge, Bellarmine Prep and Shadle Park have been the next four strongest teams. Lincoln and Shadle Park ended up on Franklin’s side, and Bellarmine Prep and Kentridge ended up on Ferris’ side. The two final “true” No. 1s — district champs Prairie and Snohomish — also ended up on different halves.

In other words, no one’s fluking their way to the finals, or even the semifinals, for that matter. This could be one of the state’s most hard-fought tournaments.

Three first-round matchups stick out to me:

Snohomish vs. Decatur, 9 a.m. A rematch from a year ago, when Decatur handed Snohomish its only loss of the tournament.

Franklin vs. Federal Way, noon. Federal Way is too well-rounded to be considered a gimme for the second-ranked Quakers.

Ferris vs. Garfield, 5 p.m. I’m not sure how this game will go down — it might not be close — but with Garfield, you always know it will be interesting.

Picking high-school games can be so difficult because they are about as unpredictable as possible. It’s extremely difficult for a bad team to make state, so essentially every team is capable of winning any game. Throw in that these teams are playing four games in four nights, and it becomes near impossible to predict.

But you know what? Let’s have fun and give this a shot:

Quarterfinals: Decatur over Shadle Park, Franklin over Lincoln, Ferris over Kentridge, Bellarmine Prep over Prairie

Semifinals: Franklin over Decatur, Ferris over Bellarmine Prep

Finals: Franklin 80, Ferris 78

Why? Right now, I’m wondering if I’m crazy myself. I surely don’t have any inside information; Franklin goes into press lockdown in the week before the state tournament.

But for what’s been an area Goliath, this Franklin team has a whole lot of David in it. They shouldn’t have beaten Rainier Beach. They shouldn’t have beaten Fairfax of LA. Those teams had more size, more experience, more of almost everything. Ferris will have all of that, and the Saxons might just run everyone out of the building. But based on what I’ve seen this season, Franklin finds a way.

The people on the East side of the state are saying the same thing about Ferris right now. They’re completely right. Shadle Park pushed Ferris to brink three times this season, but Ferris won each time. For 54 games running, all the Saxons have done is win.

And this is why they play the tournament.



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