I wanted to touch on this weekend’s games that kick off the Class 4A state girls basketball playoffs.
Normally, we have a set format for this, but this “regional” concept is certainly not the norm for any of us.
I’m not going to go into great detail, but thought I’d share some thoughts on the games at each site. I’ll follow with a separate blog post for the 3A girls.
At Jackson High School
4 p.m. — No. 3 Auburn Riverside (21-4) vs. No. 10 Edmonds-Woodway (22-4), loser out
7:30 p.m. — Kentwood (19-6) vs. No. 9 Lake Stevens (20-3), winner to state quarterfinals
1 p.m. — Auburn Riverside/Edmonds-Woodway winner vs. Kentwood/Lake Stevens loser, winner to state quarterfinals, loser out
The skinny — I think this is the toughest 4A “regional” in the state (the WIAA does not want us using that term, but it seems to work the best). It’s brutal that two of these teams will not make the Final Eight. Auburn Riverside, the defending state champion, helped create the nightmare by losing to Mount Rainier in the West Central/Southwest Bi-District quarterfinals. And E-W messed up the brackets by falling to Marysville-Pilchuck in the first round of the Northwest District tourney. Both are quality teams that I believe have a legitimate shot at the state title. I really think this one is too close to call, and I’d have to say the same about Kentwood vs. Lake Stevens — if both teams play well. Kentwood has been a bit inconsistent and cannot afford any more of that.
At Inglemoor and Juanita
6 p.m. — No. 7 Mount Rainier (21-4) vs. No. 8 Woodinville (19-5), winner to state quarterfinals
8 p.m. — Mount Tahoma (18-5) vs. Monroe (14-9), loser out
1 p.m. — Mount Tahoma/Monroe winner vs. Mount Rainier/Woodinville loser, winner to state quarterfinals, loser out
The skinny — These should also be entertaining games. Young Mount Rainier might be a year away from challenging for the state title, but don’t count the Rams out. They were on a roll before losing the WCD/SW bi-district title to Federal Way on Monday. But then Woodinville has been red hot with an 11-game win streak and the Falcons have the height to cause most teams trouble. I see them as title contenders, too. Look for a high-scoring affair between MT and Monroe, both of which feature excellent guards.
At Rogers and Puyallup
6 p.m. — South Kitsap (19-4) vs. Skyline (16-8), loser out
8 p.m. — No. 1 Bellarmine Prep (20-3) vs. No. 4 Federal Way (23-2), winner to state quarterfinals
1 p.m. — South Kitsap/Skyline winner vs. Bellarmine Prep/Federal Way loser, winner to state quarterfinals, loser out
The skinny — Here’s where I’ll be tonight (which has a little to do with logistics what with the iffy road conditions; we are trying to keep reporters close to their home base). I’m anxious to see Skyline play for the first time. I think they’ve got a shot against SK, although I’d say the Wolves are slight favorites. Federal Way was my preseason No. 1 and who knows what would have happened if Talia Walton had been able to play against Auburn Riverside in the South Puget Sound League championship game. Walton, who sat two games with a knee injury) looked like her old self against Mount Rainier in Monday’s WCD/SW Bi-District final and she has a strong supporting cast. Bellarmine Prep has been in a funk lately, in part due to injuries, but can play with anyone when clicking.
Friday4 p.m. — Lewis and Clark (16-6) vs. No. 2 Chiawana (21-2), winner to state quarterfinals
7:30 p.m. — Evergreen (Vancouver) (17-8) vs. No. 6 Gonzaga Prep (20-4), loser out
1 p.m. — Evergreen/Gonzaga Prep winner vs. Lewis and Clark/Chiawana loser, winner to state quarterfinals, loser out
The skinny — Chiawana, a second-year school in Pasco, is another team I consider a true state contender. The Riverhawks have something to prove after falling apart a little at state last year. That said, L-C has a ton of tradition and appears to be back on track anfer a bit of a mid-season slide. I admit I’d be surprised to see GP lose to Evergreen, but you just never know with high-school basketball. We could see L-C and Gonzaga tangling again with the highest stakes of the season.