Let the controversy begin.
Who should be the state’s top-ranked team in Class 3A?
As I headed out of town last Thursday, I was certain it should be Bishop Blanchet with those impressive victories over Seattle Prep (then No. 3) and Eastside Catholic (then No. 1).
All the Braves needed to do to move up from their preseason No. 2 spot was have a decent showing in the talent-rich Kent Classic tournament on Saturday.
Finishing 24th out of 27 teams isn’t really what I consider decent, at least not at first glance. Then I exchanged emails with coach Matt Chang and got a little insight. He admits his team did not play at the same level it had earlier in the week.
But Blanchet’s only loss in pool play was to a very good 4A team, Skyview of Vancouver (ranked No. 5) — and the first game was very close, 25-23. The point differential in the second game (25-12) cost the Braves dearly as they were sent into the lower bracket and had no shot at the title.
So, Chang said he decided to “change things up” and let more of the younger players get more experience. Blanchet wound up losing 2-0 to Mercer Island — a solid 3A team, but unranked. The Braves finished with 2-0 wins over Kentlake and Olympic.
What to do, what to do.
I’m still going with Blanchet at No. 1 and feel fairly confident they would have fared differently against M.I. with their usual lineup.
Eastside Catholic drops only to No. 2 and Seattle Prep stays at No. 3. In case you missed it, Eastside beat Prep in the tourney, 2-1. The two teams square off again this Wednesday in a Metro contest. And Eastside has Holy Names tonight. Holy Names was unbeaten until losing 3-1 to Lakeside last week.
If Blanchet shouldn’t be No. 1, who should be? I didn’t feel comfortable shooting Camas up there (their only loss has been to Skyview) or even Mount Spokane (only loss to Mead), at least not yet. Mount Spokane was tempting, though, after last week’s victory over Lewis and Clark, the defending 4A state champion.
It took some hard thought to revise the 4A rankings this week, too. Olympia, which lost only to Central Catholic of Portland in the Kent Classic, inches up to No. 2 behind Mead. Graham-Kapowsin gets the No. 3 spot after last week’s win over Curtis, which slides from No. 2 to No. 4 (the Vikings only lost to Central Catholic as well on Saturday, and also beat No. 5 Skyview).
The bigger dilemma was was how to handle Monroe and Edmonds-Woodway. Monroe, No. 4 last week, lost to E-W in WesCo play last week and also fell to Kentwood on Saturday, Kentwood, incidentally, is trying to make my life miserable with some up-and-down play. The Conquerors lost to Kentridge a week and a half ago, then beat Monroe???
Edmonds-Woodway followed the victory over the Bearcats by losing to Everett.
So, Monroe tumbles out of the top-10, at least for this week, and E-W doesn’t get in. Instead, Jackson takes the No. 10 spot. The Timberwolves, remember, have lost only to Eastside Catholic, and they play E-W this Thursday with a chance to prove they deserve the position.
At any rate, these rankings are meant in part to stir up conversation, so have a look and let’s hear some.
1. Mead (Spokane)
4. Curtis (University Place)
5. Skyview (Vancouver)
6. Auburn Riverside
7. Kamiakin (Kennewick)
9. Lewis and Clark (Spokane)
10. Jackson (Millcreek)
Others (alphabetically) — Auburn, Bothell, Central Kitsap (Silverdale), Central Valley (Spokane Valley), Edmonds-Woodway, Eisenhower (Yakima), Issaquah, Kamiak, Kentridge, Kentwood, Lake Stevens, Marysville-Pilchuck, Monroe, Newport, Puyallup, Roosevelt, Southridge (Kennewick), Stadium (Tacoma), Woodinville.
1. Bishop Blanchet
2. Eastside Catholic
3. Seattle Prep
5. Mount Spokane
6. Kennedy Catholic (Burien)
7. Prairie (Brush Prairie)
8. Mount Si (Snoqualmie)
9. Timberline (Lacey)
10. Shorecrest (Shoreline)
Others (alphabetically) — Auburn Mountainview, Capital (Olympia), East Valley (Spokane), Enumclaw, Everett, Highline (Burien), Holy Names, Lakes (Lakewood), Lakeside, Lynnwood, Meadowdale (Lynnwood), West Valley (Yakima).