A Seattle reader called me the other day, just to ask this question: “What is going on over there in Spokane?”
Whatever it is, it’s working. Eastern Washington continued its domination of Class 4A sports this weekend in Tacoma, where the Lewis and Clark girls team gritted out a third consecutive title, and the Ferris boys dominated on their way to their second straight championship. Both teams finished the season 29-0.
Now I’ll admit this up front: it’s easy for me to say this now. But I refuse to believe that had I seen Ferris before this tournament, that I wouldn’t have picked the Saxons in the first place. I had heard about their talent, composure, their experience and their discipline. It’s a significantly different thing to see it up close. I can’t imagine a high-school team — outside of the factory prep schools — that could play better than the Saxons did for four days in Tacoma.
They had a deadly shooter (Erick Cheadle), a guy who can take you to the hoop (Jared Karstetter), a floor general (Shawn Stockton), a devastating shot-blocker and dunker (DeAngelo Casto) and a guy who did everything else in between (Jeff Minnerly). The hardest part of covering the tournament was picking an MVP out of that bunch.
In case you were wondering, since last winter, these teams East of the mountains have won state chamionships:
2007 boys basketball: Ferris
2007 girls basketball: Lewis & Clark
2007 baseball: Richland
2007 fastpitch: Shadle Park
2007 boys soccer: Pasco
2007 volleyball: Mead
2007 football: Lewis & Clark
2008 boys basketball: Ferris
2008 girls basketball: Lewis & Clark
-I loved watching Decatur play. Outside of the always-entertaining Bellarmine Prep duo of Abdul Gaddy and Avery Bradley, there wasn’t a more fun tandem to watch than the Gators’ Marcus Tibbs and Michael Hale. Tibbs will shoot it from anywhere — and most of the time, he makes it. And Hale, at only 5-foot-7, is absolutely fearless going to the hoop.
-Edmonds-Woodway impressed just about everyone. The Warriors showed how they won the WesCo South: with relentless defense. They blew out Kentridge and made Ferris work harder than anyone else made the Saxons work in the tournament. Then they beat Foss pretty convincingly. At some point, when every teams looked their worst against Edmonds-Woodway, it has something to do with the Warriors. They deserved to win their first trophy since the school was formed in 1990.
-Reason No. 502 why anything can and will happen at the state tournament: Federal Way. Few had the Eagles getting out of round one. Instead, they went all the way to the championship.
Tomorrow, I’ll have my thoughts on the 3A tournament and my picks. Hopefully, I’ll get this tournament right (Hint: this time, I’m picking the favorite.)