The Class 3A and 4A state tournaments begin on Thursday (less than 24 hours), so here are my official predictions for the quarterfinals. And just so you know (and just so I jinx myself): I picked 14 of the 16 winners in 3A and 4A regionals last week, so there’s that.
Newport (18-8) vs. No. 6 Curtis (24-2)
Newport is the surprise team of the Class 4A tournament. The Knights needed to win five loser-out games to even reach this point, which is a huge accomplishment in itself. When Newport is playing well, the Knights pound the ball inside to Isaac Dotson (13 ppg and 8 rebounds) and Cal Throckmorton (8.5 ppg and 6 rebounds). Will Ferris is a deadly shooter and is the team’s leading scorer at 15 points per game. Curtis is playing its best basketball of the season. The Vikings are led by diminutive senior point guard Dominic Robinson, who at 5-9 leads the team with 15 points per game. Newport has had a great run – and don’t sleep on the Knights to push this one to the wire – but I like Curtis.
Predicted winner: Curtis
No. 3 Bothell (21-3) vs. No. 1 Garfield (23-1)
The third meeting between these two teams that have been ranked in the top-five all year is a first-round delight, although it is probably a game that shouldn’t be played on the tournament’s opening day. Garfield won the first two games by at least 15 points as Bothell struggled to slow Garfield defensively. That will be the key this time around too. The Bulldogs’ depth also played a huge factor in both games; Garfield plays as many as 11 players while Bothell relies on a six- or seven-man rotation. Bothell guards Zach LaVine and Perrion Callandret form perhaps the best backcourt in the state, but I think Garfield’s depth will prove too much.
Predicted winner: Garfield
No. 10 Arlington (21-3) vs. No. 5 Richland (18-4)
I had my doubts about Arlington this season. I wasn’t sure how good the Eagles were for most of the year, and I saw them take a pretty good beating by No. 2 Jackson during the season. But Arlington proved me wrong. Terry Dawn, a 6-5 senior guard, had 29 in his last game and is averaging nearly 20 points per game for the season. Richland is led by Nathan Streufert, the 6-foot-7 coach’s son who averages 16.5 points and 8.3 rebounds. The Bombers also have good guards; Payton Radliff averages nearly 15 points and Jacob DeVries scores nearly 12 per game. I’ll take the Bombers.
Predicted winner: Richland
No. 2 Jackson (24-0) vs. No. 4 Central Valley (22-2)
Jackson is led by a big three that doesn’t get much publicity outside of WesCo country. Jason Todd, a 6-5 junior guard who will play Division-I college basketball when his prep career is over, is as solid a player as there is in the state. He’s the real deal. Dan Kingma is a good outside shooter and Brian Zehr is a good athlete who can dunk and jump with the best of them. Central Valley has hovered around the top-five all year. Austin Rehkow leads a balanced team with 15 points per game. Rehkow, you may remember, is the same player who nailed a 67-yard field goal earlier this season. Adam Chamberlain (13 ppg) and Beau Byus (13 ppg) can also score. I just like Jackson’s big three too much.
Predicted winner: Jackson
No. 8 Franklin (17-9) vs. Timberline (16-9)
This may sound obvious – and it is – but Franklin can hang with any team if the Quakers are knocking down three-pointers. If they aren’t, though, they become especially vulnerable. Franklin is led by Patrick Ball, a 6-5 guard who averages 18 points and is one of the most underrated players in the area. He can score in just about every way and is an above-average athlete. Tim McMillon can change the game with his three-point shooting and Arell Hennings averages 11 points and eight assists. Timberline is led by Donaven Dorsey, a 6-6 junior who is receiving D-I interest and averages 21 points and 10 rebounds. Elijah Sanders (12 ppg) is the only other Timberline player who averages more than 10 points. Franklin’s up-tempo style of play can be really disruptive.
Predicted winner: Franklin
No. 2 Rainier Beach (22-4) vs. No. 10 Seattle Prep (20-7)
This is the second meeting between the Metro League schools. Prep stunned Beach in the first one, rallying from a double-digit second-half deficit to upset Beach, then the seventh-ranked team in the nation according to Max Preps. D.J. Fenner had 16 points in the fourth quarter alone for Prep, and he’ll need another monster game to give Prep a chance in this one. Beach is the deepest team in Class 3A. Shaqquan Aaron is a 6-foot-7 guard committed to Louisville, and Marquis Davis was the state tournament MVP for Beach last year. Prep’s had a good season, but Beach is a different team than when the teams met early in the season.
Predicted winner: Rainier Beach
No. 3 Lincoln (20-3) vs. No. 6 Mountlake Terrace (21-3)
Another rematch from a regular season game, one which Lincoln won by a point. Mountlake Terrace actually led that game throughout before Lincoln rallied late. Tre’Shaun Fletcher (Colorado signee) and Ahmaad Rorie (Cal commit) both average 21 points for Lincoln and are perhaps the best tandem in the state. Mountlake Terrace has four players averaging at least 10 points. Greg Bowman, a 6-7 junior, and Loren Lacasse, a 6-5 junior, must control the interior while Marquis Armstead and Blake Fernandez have to knock down outside shots if the Hawks want to win this one. And, call me crazy, but I think they will.
Predicted winner: Mountlake Terrace
No. 1 Lakeside (22-4) vs. No. 9 University (16-7)
Lakeside is one of the hottest teams in Class 3A. The Lions have won 12 of their last 13 games. Few players are playing as well as junior guard Tramaine Isabell, who is averaging more than 21 points during that 13-game stretch. D’Marques Tyson (14 ppg) and Matthew Poplawski (9 ppg) can knock down outside shots while freshman guard Isiah Brown is as good as it gets for freshman still playing. University is led by San Diego signee Brett Bailey, a 6-5 guard who averages 23 points. I think Lakeside has too much firepower.
Predicted winner: Lakeside