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February 24, 2013 at 8:10 PM

Some thoughts on the state girls basketball draws

I want to share a few thoughts with you on the state girls basketball draws, particularly 4A and 3A.

We’ll have a lot on the tournaments this week in the newspaper, on the web and in the blog. This is just to get the conversation started.

Class 4A

The quarterfinal game I’m most axious to see: No. 1 Mount Rainier vs. No. 5 Inglemoor.

That’s a tough “opener” for both teams. Earlier this season, the Vikings were ranked as high as No. 3. Coach John Augustavo believes his team is playing as well as anyone and had this to say after drawing the top-ranked Rams: “Bring it on. We’re ready.”

With a little encouragement, he admits he is confident about Inglemoor’s chances this week.

“I think we can win this thing,” he said.

The Vikings will have a size advantage with 6-4 Deja’ Strother and four others 6-foot or better. Mount Rainier’s tallest players are Brittany McPhee and Emily Fiso, both 6-0. Of course, McPhee is a crafty player who finds lots of ways to score against players of all sizes. But this will be a challenge.

Mount Rainier coach Bob Bolam said he hopes his team’s experience will work in their favor. Inglemoor hasn’t been to state since 2008. Mount Rainier is making a fourth straight trip. The Rams placed third last year and were one shot away from reaching the championship game.

As much as I’m looking forward to that game, I kind of wish it was at least a semifinal. And I definitely wish it wasn’t scheduled for 9 p.m. With our deadlines, we can’t give those late games (which often start even later than that) the coverage they deserve.

And the winner plays at 9 p.m. again the next night — possibly against second-ranked Mead, although No. 8 Skyline hopes to have something to say about that. That is really a tough bottom half of the bracket.

I’m also looking forward to watching Kentwood take on No. 9 Lake Stevens. When the Conquerors play well, I think they can play with anyone — and they proved that with the double-overtime win over No. 3 Lynnwood on Friday. The Vikings have been on a tear the last four games and Brooke Pahukoa seems to be on a mission.

I was impressed with Arlington in the regional round Friday, so I think the sixth-ranked Eagles can hang with No. 4 Gonzaga Prep. I’m anxious to see both Spokane teams play.

Class 3A

The quarterfinal game I’m most axious to see: No. 4 Seattle Prep vs. No. 6 Kamiakin.

The Panthers are battle-tested, coming out of the tough Metro League and Sea-King District. Kamiakin has been on a roll and is playing with a lot of confidence. It’s a good way to get the 3A tourney started, although no one really likes playing in that 9 a.m. game.

I actually like how the 3A tournament lays out better than the 4A tourney, in terms of quarterfinal matchups. We could have seen No. 2 Cleveland face No. 5 Bellevue right out of the gate, but instead that’s a potential semifinal game — if both teams take care of business on Thursday. Neither can afford to look ahead.

Bellevue, remember, is fresh off that big win over top-ranked Prairie, last year’s state champion. The Wolverines face No. 8 Glacier Peak, which has been playing very well. Cleveland takes on University of Spokane and Montana-bound Kayleigh Valley, one of the premier players in the state.

In the upper half of the bracket, it’s tempting to pencil No. 3 Wilson into the semifinals. The Rams were a well-oiled machine in destroying Prairie in the West Central District championship game last Monday. And they beat Bonney Lake by 30 in the regional round.

Let’s see if that same team shows up in the Tacoma Dome. Wilson starts with a Mercer Island team that will show no fear, especially after knocking off No. 7 Everett on Friday. And whoever wins between Seattle Prep and Kamiakin will present a challenge as well.

Class 2A and 1A

Cedarcrest is making school history with its first appearance in the state quarterfinals. The No. 6 Red Wolves hope to bring home some hardware, but they’ve got a tough opponent in No. 2 W.F. West.

In fact, I think all four of those 2A quarterfinals are tough. No. 1 Mark Morris is the favorite, but the Monarchs get a red-hot team from West Valley of Spokane, ranked No. 10.

Renton is the only unranked team in the field — although I had the Indians in the top-10 for much of the season. If they play well, they can definitely hang with No. 5 Wapato.

The other quarterfinal pairs No. 4 Burlington-Edison against No. 9 River Ridge, which eliminated No. 3 White River on Friday, so watch out there.

The only true local team in the 1A field is King’s, which will play Okanogan on Thursday.

Top-ranked Cascade Christian of Puyallup is in the other half of the bracket and takes on Chelan.

Comments | More in Girls basketball | Topics: Bellevue, Cleveland, Inglemoor

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