I got a few questions last week from people who were wondering why Garfield and Rainier Beach weren’t ranked No. 1 in my poll last week. The answer was simple: I do my polls on Sunday night, and I don’t change them as the week goes on.
But this week, after both Rainier Beach and Garfield grabbed monster wins against No. 1 Bothell, I’ve made the appropriate changes in my rankings: Both schools are now No. 1.
The reasoning for those moves, as well as Bellevue’s big win last week and the top-five scorers in the Seattle area, can be found in this week’s addition of the Fifth Quarter.
New No. 1s
Garfield: The Bulldogs move into the top spot having won 17 straight games, including knocking of No. 1 Bothell on the road on Tuesday. Garfield then closed out the week with two other impressive wins, especially coming off a highly emotional upset: The Bulldogs beat Ballard by 11 on Friday, then rallied to beat Issaquah by three a day later on Saturday. Garfield’s only loss this year came against Beamer in the season-opener, but the Bulldogs have earned the top spot.
Rainier Beach: The Vikings lost three games in the span of three weeks, but they’ve been on the war path ever since. No one ever questioned Rainier Beach’s talent or credentials, but the Vikings’ pieces are coming together, and it’s showing the results. Rainier Beach beat Eastside Catholic by 15, O’Dea by 12, Lakeside by 14 and held off a furious rally from then-No. 1 Bothell to win by three. I dropped Rainier Beach to third after its third loss. I wanted to see how the Vikings would respond. And they certainly responded in a big way.
Win of the week
Perhaps no team has faced as many challenges this season as Bellevue. For starters, the Wolverines didn’t play their first game until mid-December because of the school’s deep run in the football playoffs. Then, over the next few weeks, Bellevue had key players out with injuries or eligibility issues. But Bellevue grabbed a huge win at home on Friday by knocking off No. 3 Mercer Island 51-50.
Bellevue beat the Islanders, who had only one loss heading into the night, with an all-hands-on-deck approach. Michael Carlson led the way with 12 points while Timmy Haehl added 11. Three other players scored at least seven points for a Bellevue team that will be dangerous heading into the postseason.
Chris O’Connor’s team also played Jackson, the third-ranked team in Class 4A, closely in the King Holiday Hoopfest last Monday. Bellevue led during the second half, and had a chance to force overtime with a last-second shot. The Wolverines ended up losing by three, but they looked like the team many predicted heading into the year.
Player you need to know about
Imaan Vincente, Kamiak: Vicente, a 6-foot-6, 235-pound senior, has been a steady performer all season, averaging 23.8 points per game. But he’s been on a tear of late. In his last four games, three of which Kamiak has won, Vicente is averaging 29.5 points per game, and he had 32 points in a two-point win against rival Mariner. In that game, he accounted for more than half his team’s points. Kamiak is 10-8 this season.
Top-five scorers in the Seattle area (according to stats obtained by the Seattle Times)
1. Zach LaVine, Bothell: 30 points per game (19 games)
2. D.J. Fenner, Seattle Prep: 28.4 points per game (17 games)
3. David Crisp, Clover Park: 24.7 points per game (18 games)
4. Imaan Vicente, Kamiak: 23.8 points per game (18 games)
5. Jason Todd, Jackson: 22.9 points per game (17 games)
Games of the week
– Bothell at Newport, 7:30 p.m.: Bothell is looking to close the season strong after losing two games – its first two games – last week.
– Seattle Prep at Franklin, 7:30 p.m.: D.J. Fenner and Seattle Prep look to close the season like they started it: On a winning note. Franklin looks to grab a signature win in a grueling close to the season (The Quakers play Rainier Beach on Friday).
– Shorewood at Glacier Peak, 7:15 p.m.: Both teams need a win here to have a chance at catching Mountlake Terrace for the WesCo 3A South title.
– Newport at Issaquah, 8 p.m.: A game that could be really important in deciding the league standings in KingCo. Could come back to help or haunt either team in the league titles.
– Rainier Beach at Franklin, 6:15 p.m.: One of the fiercest rivalries in the area.
1. Garfield (17-1)
2. Bothell (17-2)
3. Jackson (19-0)
4. Curtis (18-1)
5. Central Valley (15-1)
6. Federal Way (16-3)
7. Richland (15-4)
8. Gonzaga Prep (13-3)
9. Union (12-5)
10. Eastmont (14-2)
1. Rainier Beach (16-3)
2. Lincoln (14-2)
3. Mercer Island (16-2)
4. Lakeside (15-3)
5. Seattle Prep (14-3)
6. Kamiakin (15-3)
7. Foss (14-3)
8. Mountlake Terrace (16-2)
9. Shorewood (14-4)
10. Franklin (13-5)
1. Renton (18-0)
2. Lynden (16-1)
3. Pullman (17-1)
4. Clover Park (13-5)
5. White River (Buckley) (15-3)
6. West Valley (Yakima) (15-3)
7. Sequim (13-3)
8. Mark Morris (13-5)
9. Wapato (13-3)
10. Anacortes (13-4)
Out: Ellensburg (12-4), Clarkston (11-5), Centralia (12-5)