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February 28, 2010 at 7:52 PM

Thoughts on the 4A state girls basketball draw

I want to share some thoughts on the 4A girls draw, and get some from you.

I spoke to a number of coaches today, both before and after the draw. Most seem to agree that while top-ranked, unbeaten Auburn Riverside has to be — and deserves to be — favored heading into the tournament, there are several others very capable of winning this year’s title.

“I would say there are at least six teams that have an opportunity to get it done,” Lewis and Clark coach Jim Redmon said.

Redmon knows a little bit about what it takes to get it done. His Spokane teams won three straight titles from 2006-08, then finished fifth last year after getting upset by Federal Way in the opening round.

Of course he didn’t want to elaborate on just which six he was talking about. But in addition to Auburn Riverside — which L-C lost to in December — I know he is high on two other qualifiers from that dynamite Eastern Regional: Mead and Chiawana.

No. 8 Mead (20-5) has one of the state’s top players in Jazmine Redmon (no relation), who has signed with Gonzaga. I look forward to watching her play. She was last here as a freshman in 2007, when the Panthers placed fourth.

No. 4 Chiawana (23-3), a first-year school in Pasco, has the bulk of last year’s Pasco team that made it here (as well as coach Steve Davis and a couple of key transfers). The Riverhawks (like that name?) took Mead to overtime before losing the regional final.

I think the most brutal quarter-bracket pairs Chiawana against No. 3 Federal Way (21-6) with the winner getting either No. 1 Auburn Riverside (25-0) or No. 9 Edmonds-Woodway (22-2).

I mean, how much tougher could a first-round game be when the two teams squaring off are a combined 47-2!

You might remember that Federal Way beat Chiawana in Pasco over Christmas break. But the Eagles were at full strength during that time. They are now missing two of their top six players. But they have held together remarkably well and are capable of winning again.

The other killer quarter-bracket, in my opinion, pairs No. 6 Newport (19-5) against No. 2 Kentwood (22-5), the defending champion, and No. 8 Mead against Puyallup. That should be a great game between Newport and Kentwood.

In the late quarter-bracket, No. 5 Bellarmine Prep of Tacoma (18-7) is the lone ranked team and the Lions have a chance to make some noise down there. They open against a Moses Lake team that features Jordan Loera (worth the price of admission) but has some holes as its 15-12 record might indicate.

But that portion of the bracket also includes a dangerous Garfield team now back on its game after a slow start. The Bulldogs (14-9), fresh off their league/district championship face Marsyville-Pilchuck (17-6) in the first round.

No. 10 Lake Stevens (18-5), the Northwest District champion, kicks off Wednesday’s action at 9 a.m. against a Rogers of Puyallup team (18-9) that can be streaky. Then comes L-C (16-9) against Issaquah (21-4), which wins with defense and never should be counted out at state.

We have a couple more days to talk about the possibilities, so let’s do that.

And I’ll be back tomorrow with an official poll so you can vote on who you think is going to win it all.

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