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February 24, 2013 at 10:27 PM

Breaking down the brackets: Quick thoughts from the Class 4A and 3A state tournament matchups

I didn’t know what to expect from my first state tournament draw at the WIAA offices, but it was a pretty cool experience. The big conference room with two huge tables was filled with players, coaches, athletic directors and parents, all eager to learn their opponent.

The best moment? When Garfield coach Ed Haskins heard his team would play Bothell on the first day, he jokingly blurted out, “Redraw!” We have a few days to look ahead for previews and matchups, but here are some initial reactions to the draws for Class 4A, 3A and 2A.

Class 4A

You can find the Class 4A bracket here.

Best game: Garfield vs. Bothell, 10:30 a.m. on Thursday.

First, I’ve received a lot of interest into how these teams are able to play in the quarterfinals. The WIAA’s only criteria for teams not playing each other in the quarterfinals is this: Teams that played at the same regional site can’t play each other in the quarterfinals. So Rainier Beach and Lakeside had to be on the opposite side of the 3A bracket. Other than that, it’s a random draw for matchups. It’s literally done out of a bowl or hat (I couldn’t tell).

“We’ve got to play the best to be the best,” Garfield coach Ed Haskins said. “We’ve got to party again. We’ve got to do what we have to do. It’s a tough matchup.”

Garfield and Bothell have played twice already. Garfield has won both. In the first game, which Garfield won by 15, the two teams traded leads until the final four minutes, when Garfield pulled away behind big shots from leading-scorer Tucker Haymond. In the second game, Garfield pulled away after another big night from Haymond, who scored a season-high 39 points, including 20 in the first quarter. Both teams are coming off hard fought wins to get to this point; Garfield had to go to overtime to beat South Kitsap and actually trailed in the final seconds of regulation before rallying.

“I think our heads were already in the Tacoma Dome,” Haskins said.

As many as five starters could play Division-I basketball between the two teams. Bothell is led by UCLA signee Zach LaVine, the area’s leading scorer at 28.8 points per game, and Idaho-bound guard Perrion Callandret, who averages 17.5 points. Josh Martin, a 6-foot-8 junior, gives Bothell an inside presence. He’ll clash with 6-foot-5 Trevaunte’ Williams (16 points per game) for Garfield.

The key for Bothell to winning this time will come on the defensive end. Garfield scored 86 points in the first meeting and 93 points in the second meeting.

Arlington hasn’t been here in a long time

Arlington coach Nick Brown has made it a mini mission this year to find out the last time the Eagles made the state tournament. Some say it hasn’t happened since 1962. Others say it has been since 1973.

“I would love to know because I’ve checked all the books back to ’68, but it doesn’t say what it is, so I can’t tell,” Brown said.

I called Conor Laffey at the WIAA, and here’s what he told me: Technically, the last time Arlington played in the state tournament was 2011, when the Eagles lost to Gary Bell and Kentridge in the round-of-16. And here’s where it gets confusing: Today that game would be called regionals – it was played at Jackson High School, not the Tacoma Dome – but back then it was still considered the state tournament.

“Didn’t feel like state at all,” Brown said.

Either way, whether you want to get technical or not, this is Arlington’s first trip to the state quarterfinals in the school’s history. Brown said the basketball program doesn’t have many banners at the school.

That could change this year.

The 10th-ranked Eagles will play No. 5 Richland on Thursday at 12:15 p.m. Arlington is led by Terry Dawn, a 6-foot-5 senior who averages 19.5 points. Dawn exploded for 29 points in Arlington’s win against Bellarmine Prep on Saturday to reach this point.

Arlington lost only three games all year, including two against No. 2 Jackson. But the Eagles flew under the radar most of the season; I ranked them for the first time last week, in our final rankings for the season.

Not anymore.

“One of our goals is to leave a legacy,” Brown said. “You have to do other things, but that’s part of the outcome of the goals. This guys want to be the first one to get to the Tacoma Dome. That’s how we look at it.”

Surprise team of the tournament: Newport

Before the season, KingCo coaches thought Newport would have a good year. The Knights returned Isaac Dotson, a force inside, and Miles Fowler, a capable scorer and lockdown defender. They also had Will Ferris, a talented outside shooter.

But the Knights didn’t play many games with their full complement of players this season. Dotson was hurt for the part of the year, then 6-foot-5 forward Cal Throckmorton missed a chunk of the year with an injury. But toward the end of the season, Newport coach Steve Haizlip thought his team started clicking.

The Knights have won five consecutive loser-out games to reach the state tournament, including beating No. 7 Eastmont 48-41 on Saturday. I wrote a story about Newport assistant coach Jeff Hansen, who had a heart transplant and is awaiting a kidney transplant. One of his goals on his bucket list was to make the state tournament. Now he gets to do that for another week.

Newport will play Curtis at 9 a.m. on Thursday. Curtis is ranked No. 6 in the state and is 23-2 this season.

 

Class 3A

You can find the Class 3A bracket here.

Best game: No. 6 Mountlake Terrace vs. No. 3 Lincoln at 7:15 p.m. on Thursday.

The two teams played earlier in the season, and Mountlake Terrace led by 12 in the second half. The Hawks pushed Lilncoln to the edge, but the Abes rallied to win by a point behind 28 points from Tre-shaun Fletcher, a Colorado commit. Fletcher pairs with Ahmaad Rorie, a Cal commit, to form one of the best combos in the state. Mountlake Terrace, meanwhile, has four players that average between 10 and 14 points. Greg Bowman is a double-double machine inside, while guard Marquis Armstead can take over games.

Seattle Prep and Rainier Beach set to square off again:

In the first month of the season, Seattle Prep and Rainier Beach squared off in one of the year’s best games. The Vikings held a double-digit lead in the second half, but Seattle Prep rallied behind a huge fourth quarter from 6-foot-6 senior guard D.J. Fenner.

Fenner scored 16 points in the fourth quarter, hit four three-pointers and blocked a last-second shot that secured Prep’s upset win.

“You use that as a little bit of a motivational tool, but come on, if we’re not ready to go on Thursday, then it’s just not meant to be,” Rainier Beach coach Mike Bethea said. “Then we don’t deserve it. Bottom line, it’s about coming out and playing tough.”

Now, the two Metro League rivals will meet once again in a rematch of last year’s Class 3A state championship game.

“It has to be an exciting first-round matchup for fans,” Seattle Prep coach Mike Kelly said.

 

Class 2A

You can find the Class 2A bracket here.

Renton happy with draw

Renton, the only area team that will play in the Class 2A state tournament at the Yakima Valley SunDome, walked away from the WIAA offices in Renton in a rather good mood.

“Like I tell these guys, there are no powder puffs or walkover games at this point,” Renton assistant coach Rashaad Powell said. “But, in my opinion, we had a pretty good draw. They’re all good teams, but as I look at the bracket you have Clover Park, who is a juggernaut, Lynden is ridiculous and West Valley is a home game for them.”

And No. 2 Renton is on the other side of the bracket from all three of those teams. Lynden is ranked No. 1, West Valley is ranked No. 4 and Clover Park is ranked No. 5.

Renton will open the state tournament against Sequim at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday. The Indians are on the same side of the bracket as Burlington-Edison and No. 3 Pullman.

Renton is led by Jonathan Patterson, the Seamount League’s MVP who averages 14 points per game.

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