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Archive for March 2010

Season ends for Chiefs with OT loss

Stick around sports long enough and you see something new - and it’s not Portland’s Riley Boychuk going over Spokane goalie James Reid in the Colin Mulvany photo above.

This time it’s a  seven game playoff series in hockey where the visiting team wins every game.

So the Western Hockey League season ends for the Spokane Chiefs, who were home Wednesday night, which obviously means they lost. 5-4 in overtime.

The unedited game story for Thursday’s paper is below. Just in and give an opinion on what happened. Not sure how long it will take to get a sitdown with the Chiefs to sort through the rubble, but we will be back with the season analysis.

Of course I’ll return in a few minutes to post John Blanchette’s column.

QBs abound as Eags open spring drills

Eastern Washington opened spring football practice Wednesday afternoon with six players trying to secure the starting quarterback position that has been manned for the past four seasons by Matt Nichols.

You can read an unedited story on the first day of practice that will appear in Thursday morning’s S-R below.

Rowan signs with Shock

At long last, the Spokane Shock have a kicker. Taylor Rowan has signed with the AFL team. Rowan, who kicked collegiately at Western Illinois, spent the last six games of the 2009 season with Arkansas of arenafootball2. He also played in one game for New York Sentinels last season in the UFL.

Head coach Rob Keefe chose not to bring a kicker into training camp to keep a roster spot open to look at other position players.

Game 7 preview

A couple of quick hockey links to pass the time before tonight’s Game 7.

Our advance and The Oregonian advance.

I would tell you the game is going to be televised on SWX at 7 and delayed on FSN until 8, but then you might decide to stay home, which would be depriving yourself of one of the truly intense moments in sports, a hockey games seven. Of course, then the game turns into a blowout and you’re mad you spent the money, so we’ll leave it up to you.

(FYI, if the Chiefs win, the series with Vancouver starts here on Saturday with Game 2 Sunday before going to B.C. for three straight.)

Those gutty-gritty Silvertips - the Everett Herald’s season wrap up. Catchup on other news at Gregg Drinnan’s blog.

WSU takes a day off


COUGARS

We’re going to be stuck inside today working on things, so the sun will probably shine, birds will sing and a Disney movie will break out. Thursday, when WSU hits the practice field again, it will surely rain. Or snow. Seems like it’s been that type of spring. For more on what type of spring it’s been on football fields around the Pac-10, read on.

QB battle on at Eastern

Eastern Washington University opens spring football practice this afternoon, with six players expected to compete for the starting quarteback position vacated last fall by record-setting senior Matt Nichols.

You can read the start-of-practice story that ran in Wednesday morning’s S-R here, and you check out what EWU’s sports information office published on spring drills here.  And check back later today for an early look at the first-practice story that will appear in Thursday’s S-R.

WSU receiving corps thin this spring


COUGARS

Washington State took its practice into Martin Stadium this afternoon for the first time this spring. The reason was simple. The last 45 minutes – it turned out to be a little more than 30 – were scheduled for scrimmaging. And most of that time was spent matching up the ones vs. ones. We have some notes about the day along with our unedited story for tomorrow’s S-R on the receiving corps, so read on.

More on Daniels

OK, not much more to add to the previous article, but I did track down a quote from Ben Howland on new GU assistant Donny Daniels. Also caught an error in previous version (Daniels played on Cal State Fullerton’s first two NCAA Division I teams) that I fixed in the newest version below.

Read on.

Winner take all for Chiefs

The Spokane Chiefs are ready for Game 7, but are they ready to win at home?

Game 7’s are exciting in any sport but I think hockey Game 7’s are the best, much like that Olympic Gold Medal game.

In one strange series, Spokane and Portland have come down to a final game, but in a strange twist the visiting twist in best-of-7 Western Hockey League series, the visiting team has won every game so far. The advance I filed for Wednesday’s paper is below.

Few confirms hiring of Daniels

As promised, I’m back with an unedited version of an article on Donny Daniels joining Gonzaga’s coaching staff.

Daniels replaces Leon Rice on the staff, but he’s not expected to have Rice’s associate head coach title. That designation probably would go to Tommy Lloyd, a GU assistant for nine years.

I’ll probably have an addition to this article later, but you can read Few’s thoughts on Daniels below.

Daniels joining Gonzaga’s staff

UCLA assistant coach Donny Daniels will replace Leon Rice on the Gonzaga men’s basketball coaching staff, head coach Mark Few said Tuesday afternoon.

Daniels has been at UCLA for the last seven years. He was the head coach at Cal State Fullerton, his alma mater, from 2001-2003. Daniels assisted Rick Majerus at Utah from 1990-2000.

Rice was a GU assistant for 11 years before taking the head coaching position at Boise State last week.

More in about an hour. 

One more to transfer from WSU


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It’s official, but the number of players leaving the Washington State University basketball program is actually four. Read on for the newest name.

Blanchette on Burgess

Columnist John Blanchette looks back on the remarkable life of Gonzaga legend Frank Burgess, who died last week.

Tuesday morning from WSU


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As we prepare for another day of spring football in typical Inland Northwest spring weather, we thought we would take a moment and tool around the Pac-10. Virtually, of course. Read on.

Chiefs force Game 7

The Spokane Chiefs get another chance to win at home, holding on for a 4-3 win at Portland to even their best-of-seven Western Hockey League series at 3-3. The deciding game is Wednesday at the Arena.

And, amazingly, if the Chiefs win they don’t have to face Everett, with Kelowna winning a Game 7 in Everett 2-1. Now the Portland-Spokane winner moves up to the two-seed for the second round with Vancouver 3 and Kelowna four, giving the Rockets a date with Tri-City.

We’ll sort it out tomorrow. For now, old friend Jeff Bunch has filed the game story below. Maybe Chiefs fans should pass the hat to entice Jeff to come over here. I’m sure it’s the writer and not the ice that is making this such a strange series.

WSU gets a little help from unlikely sources


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Spring practice No. 3 was held in sometimes driving, sometimes light rain Monday, with an occasional sun break thrown in to tantalize those of us watching – and freezing. We have some notes for you at the end of this post, but before you get there, you can read the unedited version of our story for tomorrow’s S-R. It’s about three former players who are helping out as student assistants, running around the practice field helping out in any way they can. Read on.

A Few words

I attempted to contact GU coach Mark Few late last week when Leon Rice was landing the Boise State job, but didn’t make connections until Monday afternoon.

Nothing earth shattering to report, but there are a couple items of interest below.

Shock roundup

I went to Shock practice today and put together a notebook, including the naming of a starting quarterback and an injury update, that will run in Tuesday’s S-R. Hard to believe game-day is just four days away.

Read the unedited version of my article below.

All-Idaho basketball teams

The Statesman newspaper in Boise published the All-Idaho boys and girls basketball teams Sunday.

Here’s a link to the Statesman.

Click the tab below to read an unedited story that will appear in our newspaper Tuesday.

Pictured above in Post Falls senior Shawn Reid, who was named the 5A Player of the Year.

Morning news from WSU


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It rained all afternoon yesterday and all night here in the Inland Northwest, a boon this time of year for wheat farmers and umbrella salespeople. For the rest of us, with our outdoor plans, oh well. We ended up in the home office writing anyway, the result of which is on the link. Read on.

WSU basketball players will transfer


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Some news out of Pullman that you might have seen elsewhere, but I finally got confirmed this evening. We have a short, unedited story on the link, so read on.

Gonzaga roundup

With a few minutes before it’s time to head to the airport, I’ll pass on as much information as possible from last night’s Not-so-Sweet 16 game. Xavier’s size eventually wore Gonzaga down, helped by outside shooting the Musketeers didn’t have when they met in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last year.

We squeezed in a game story and John Blanchette’s column, plus Colin Mulvany’s photos, including the one above.

At least we got to write for the paper, the Cincinnati Enquirer’s  John Erardi had to put his story on the website and Jimmy Spencer’s sidebar on Amber Harris and the BIG matchup with Stanford, plus a gallary of photos from Joseph Fuqua II.

The Sacramento Bee “boxing” story and notebook,  there  is a local tie that’s not the Stanford coach, but it isn’t connected. Tara Vanderveer’s sister Heidi, coached at Eastern Washington. Finally, the Bee’s Ailene Voisin has a column that’s a nice read on the good side of a rivalry.

GU recruit named Idaho 4A player of year

Junior guard Kyle Dranginis, who has verbally committed to Gonzaga, has been named the Idaho 4A player of the year. The Skyview High (Nampa) product will join the Zags in 2011.

More here.

Gonzaga X’d out of NCAA Tournament

Gonzaga’s magic basketball season came crashing down, as did Bulldogs point guard Courtney Vandersloot in the Colin Mulvany photo above, as Xavier dominated the second half for a 74-56 win in the Sweet 16 game Saturday night at Arco Arena.

The unedited game story is below. Not much time for anything else. We will return to links and more information, dependent on the travel situation.

Chiefs lose third straight at home

The season is down to one game for the Spokane Chiefs, a Monday game in Portland, where they’re headed trailing the best-of-7 Western Hockey league playoff series 3-2 after three straight losses at home. The unedited game story iSteve Bergum filed s below.

The passing of a Gonzaga legend

Frank Burgess, one of the all-time Gonzaga greats who went on to a distinguished career in law, died Friday at the age of 75. Below, you can find my unedited article on Burgess that will run in Sunday’s S-R.

GU athletic director Mike Roth developed a close friendship with Burgess over the years. Burgess’ office was filled with GU basketball memorabilia.

“He made you smile, is what he did, whenever you talked to him,” Roth said.

Read on.

Idaho’s Axman enjoying new role

Enjoyed a beautiful morning/early afternoon at Idaho’s practice field to take in the Vandals’ third practice of the spring. Read on for a story that will appear in tomorrow’s S-R. 

GU legend Burgess dies

Frank Burgess, the former Gonzaga basketball standout who led the nation in scoring in 1961 and went on to become a U.S. District Judge, died Friday after battling cancer. He was 75.

More here and here

It’s over for Lady Vols

While watchng Baylor and Tennessee to kick off a women’s Sweet 16 … ooo Lady Vols lose, should be interesting reading - the comments, more than the stories, on Sunday.

Onward with Gonzaga-Xavier, tonight at Arco Arena.

The Cincinnati Enquirer looks at a Vivian Frieson-Amber Harris matchup and notebook.

The Sacramento Bee capsules.

A repeat of our story, John  Blanchette’s column but our caps didn’t make it on-line so they’re posted below.

Chiefs’ advantage gone

The hard-earned 2-0 lead the Spokane Chiefs grabbed in their first-round Western Hockey league series with Portland has evaporated, at home. The Winterhawks won 4-2 at the Arena Friday night with the pivotal Game 5 on Saturday. The Chiefs should be worried since Portland is 6-0 in Spokane this season.

Game story below.

A vote for Frieson

Vivian Frieson, who enjoyed a laugh at practice Friday in Arco Arena captured by Colin Mulvany,  led the Gonzaga women’s basketball team to the Sweet 16 but don’t go crazy about it, she might think it was creepy. Besides, according to John Blanchette’s column, it’s not like she hasn’t faced challenges before and come through.

Rematch, repeat, not really

It may seem like deja vu with Gonzaga facing Xavier in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament for the second year in a row but it’s really not. At least that’s what the take we got today as the teams prepared for Saturday night’s Sweet 16 showdown. The story is below, the team is above, posing at Arco Arena and captured by Colin Mulvany.

WSU finishes first spring week


COUGARS

Another day, another spring football practice. The Cougars went through their second day and it mirrored the first day, with WSU in helmets, shirts and shorts and running pretty much the same drills. We have our report on the link, so read on.

Rice takes over at BSU

Leon Rice loaded the family into the Wagon Queen Family Truckster (yes, that’s a Vacation reference) and drove to Boise Thursday night/Friday morning. He arrived at 3 a.m., slept a little and then was introduced as BSU’s new coach at a 12:30 press conference.

I tuned in to the proceedings on BSU’s Web site and put together the unedited article below. I also checked in with Billy Grier, the last GU assistant to leave for a head-coaching gig, for his thoughts on Rice and his interesting take on Mark Few’s future.

Few didn’t return my phone message, but he was quoted in a BSU press release on Rice’s hiring: “Boise State is getting a great coach and an even better family into the greater Boise area. I hope the fans and the community reach out and embrace them. He was the co-architect of this entire run (at Gonzaga) and a huge part of our success. We’ll miss Leon, Robin and the kids greatly.”

The BSU release also has this quote from Adam Morrison: “I’m excited for Leon and this new opportunity for him.  He brought a great spirit and attitude to the team while I was there and is a tremendous choice to head the Boise State basketball program.”

Meanwhile here’s a blog post from the Oregonian on the Ducks’ search for a new coach and another on Phil Knight’s interest in Tubby Smith.. There’s also this from the Register-Guard as well as a column that discusses what the Ducks might pay for a coach. 

A little WSU news


COUGARS • UPDATED: 1:10 P.M.

Day Two of spring football is on tap this afternoon. But there is only one reason we’re posting this morning, and we will reveal it on the link. So go ahead and read on.

‘Rusty’ Vandals complete 1st practice

As you might expect after three or so months off, the Vandals’ first spring session wasn’t always crisp. In fact, coach Robb Akey said Idaho could use some WD-40 to knock off all the rust. We have some more thoughts from Akey and offensive coordinator Steve Axman below after Day One of spring practice.

Lady Zag family getting bigger

Back with tomorrow’s story on the Gonzaga women’s basketball team. There’s a little inside joke, and no doubt someone out there is going to take this wrong, but it’s a story with the, awe, never mind, I’m too tired to take grief. Anway, Kelly Graves always talks about the Bulldog family. Well, it’s about to get bigger. Heck, it could be getting bigger between the time I write this and the time you read it. The story is posted below, Dan Pelle’s picture is above.

ESPN.com looks at the Sweet 16 matchups, with Gonzaga’s Kayla Standish in the spotlight; the three experts also pick … UConn, Duke, Stanford, Tennessee, Nebraska, … well, check it out. There’s also 16 questions, including on on Courtney Vandersloot. And there’s a little more love in this breakdown. Leftcoasthoops checks in with the Zags.

There’s also some links to pass on. San Francisco fires its coach; the CincinnatiEnquirer story on Xavier’s win over Vanderbilt on Tuesday. Been trying to catch up on some notes, but I’ll got by memory. Monday was junior Angie Bjorklund’s (U-Hi) 100th game with Tennesee. She also has 100 3’s, which I believe is 3 shy, maybe 5 of the school record for a season. Will keep an eye over the weekend. The lady Vols’ game with Baylor and Brittney Griner, who blocked like 14 shots, a tournament record, in a win over Georgetown, which may have been a little intimidated, shooting 17 percent, is at 9 a.m. on Saturday. They played in the season opener, with UT winning.

WHL playoffs no day at the Beach

With too much on my plate, I received a little help on the hockey front. John Blanchette has a column to lead into Friday’s key Western Hockey League playoff game between Portland and the Chiefs at the Arena, talking to Kyle Beach (above, in a Jesse Tinsley photo) about effort.

It’s below. Also, you may want to take a look at the Tri-City Americans story from the Tri-City Herald. Yes, the Americans won in overtime, but check out how they let the game get  to OT. Also, potential Spokane opponent in round two, Everett, is now involved in a best-of-three series.

I’ll have a pinch-hitter here this weekend but we’ll get the stories to you ASAP.

WSU’s first spring practice report


COUGARS

The first of 15 spring practices or scrimmages is done. As is the first of our 15 reports. If you want to find out what happened today, read on. We have the unedited version of our S-R story and some web-only notes.

Rice to be a Bronco

Good evening. Back with more on Leon Rice’s decision to take the head coaching job at Boise State.

Rice interviewed for the job earlier this week and I figured he was definitely in the mix when he didn’t return phone messages over the last three days! This was one of the more hush-hush searches I can remember with BSU and the primary candidates declining to discuss the opening publicly.

My unedited article below touches on some of the challenges Rice will face at BSU, but there’s additional background information from the Idaho Statesman here, herehere and here.

The Broncos have seven seniors and three starters returning, so Rice (pictured with head coach Mark Few) won’t be starting from scratch. BSU was 15-17 last season.

Gonzaga-Xavier, a review before preview

Thursday is the travel day for Gonzaga, headed to the Sweet 16 and a date with Xavier Saturday night at ARCO Arena in Sacramento.

We’re working on a feature story, but thought we would revisit some history - Gonzaga’s historic victory over Xavier in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. It’s posted below, above is a picture of Ta’Shia Phillips splitting Heather Bowman and Vivian Frieson on her way to 26 points and 18 boards.

Report: Rice accepts BSU job

Gonzaga associate head coach Leon Rice has accepted an offer to become the head coach at Boise State, according to ESPN.com. More here.

Rice would replace Greg Graham, who was fired nearly two weeks ago. Rice has been on head coach Mark Few’s staff for 11 years. In 2007, Rice was named associate head coach.

Rice came to Gonzaga from Yakima Valley College where he was the head coach in 1999 and co-head coach with Dean Nicholson in 1998. The 1999 team went 31-2 and won the NWAACC championship. Including Rice’s two years as an assistant coach, YVC was 103-26 in his four seasons in Yakima.

Sources confirmed that Rice was offered the BSU job on Wednesday night.

More as details become available.

WSU’s spring ball starts today


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The 2010 football season gets underway today. Well, not really. It probably started back in December some time, but we’ll say it starts today because this is WSU’s first day on the practice field with the coaches. But before we get out there, we have to check out the morning reading material. We have it for you on the link. Read on.

Chiefs fall 2-1, lead series 2-1

Portland continued it’s success in the Arena, running its record to 5-0 for the season with a 2-1 win Wednesday night that sliced the Spokane Chiefs’ lead in the best-of-7 Western Hockey league series to 2-1. The next two games are in Spokane on Friday and Saturday.

The unedited game story is below.

Vandals embark on spring practice

Idaho’s 15-day spring football regimen starts Thursday, and the Vandals’ situation is much different than a year ago at this time. Read on for my story for tomorrow’s S-R and additional quotes from Robb Akey.

One more day until WSU spring football


COUGARS • UPDATED: 3:45 P.M.

We’ve put together an overview of WSU heading into spring practice, which starts tomorrow. If you’re interested – and I’m guessing if you are reading this you are – then click the link and read on.

Giacoletti on Toledo: “Not going to happen”

The Toledo Blade reported in today’s edition that Gonzaga assistant coach Ray Giacoletti is the frontrunner for the Toledo Rockets’ head coaching job. The short article is incorrect, Giacoletti said Wednesday.

“Print it: No interest, not going to happen,” Giacoletti said in a brief telephone interview. ”I don’t know where it came from or why or how. … It’s not even an option either direction.”

Giacoletti is good friends with Toledo A.D. Mike O’Brien, which might have prompted the speculation. Toledo is replacing Gene Cross, who resigned after two years with an 11-53 record. The Rockets were 4-28, 1-15 in the Mid-American Conference, last season.

Winterhawks remain hopeful

After dropping two games at home over the weekend the Portland Winterhawks remain optimistic with the next three games of their Western Hockey League best-of-7 series with the Spokane Chiefs at the Arena.

Why not, considering the ‘Hawks went 4-0 in Spokane. A note of caution, though, those four games were all in the first half of the season, the 2009 half. But you didn’t expect the Winterhawks to say they’re not going to show up, did you. Their side of the story from The Oregonian correspondent, Scott Sepich.

Back after tonight’s game.

Some Wednesday WSU links, notes


COUGARS

Funny thing about spring in the Palouse. It was a beautiful day yesterday, warm, sunny, clear. Then the sun went down. The cold was biting. Just a warning if you are planning on coming down for spring football practice. The last few drills can be awfully cold. We have some spring thoughts – and will have a story and notes early this afternoon – along with links and other stuff, so read on.

Graves injures thumb after win

Just kidding, but you might wonder why.

Kelly Graves was enjoying a little mid-day R&R when we found him.

One question had to be asked - and of course I asked more than one - but didn’t we leave you hanging with one big one after Gonzaga earned its first trip to the Women’s Sweet 16 last night? Aren’t we wondering how many messages a phone can hold after a team upends a two-seed 72-71 on national television?

Now we know. Keep reading.

And while you’re at it, here’s an ESPN.com piece on GU taking the next step; the College Station, Tex, newspaper story on the A&M loss (with all the reasons why, which we didn’t get to use because we were looking at all the reasons why the Zags won); San Antonio story; Seattle Times story and blog; Everett Herald story; and the Associated Press story.

Chiefs happy, but cautious with 2-0 lead

After taking two on the road, the Spokane Chiefs return home in command of their best-of-seven Western Hockey League playoff series with Portland.

They remain cautious, however, knowing they can be better. The unedited story is below.

Catching up on WSU reading


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After getting done with our stint in Buffalo – hey, at the S-R, we’re a team too, so when a teammate needs a hand, we pick each other up – it’s time to turn our attention back to WSU sports and college baseball. Read on for a little on both.

Zags a true team

The Gonzaga women’s basketball team is going whether no other has gone, the Sweet 16. The true talent of this team was on display in a 72-71 win over Texas A&M because they did it with the best player not at her best. S-R columnist John Blanchette’s column is below.

Will try to get to some links some time tomorrow but there’s a drive home, a hockey story to do and travel plans to make. I will get to it as soon as possible.

Gonzaga women off to Sweet 16

Vivian Frieson just couldn’t contain herself.

“How sweet it is,” she said, warning everyone before she said it that the cliche was about to come.

Why not, did a little bit of everything, including hitting the game winning shot, in a 72-71 decision over Texas A&M to send Gonzaga to its first Sweet 16.

The unedited game story is below and we’ll be back a little later with John Blanchette’s column.

Then and Now with Chiefs’ legend

It’s pretty hard to give you any hockey news while still in Seattle watching basketball, but that doesn’t mean we have forgotten about you. Tomorrow’s Then and Now is a hockey feature, check it out by reading the extended entry.

More on Chiefs 2-0 lead

The other angle - from The Oregonian - on the Spokane Chiefs taking a 2-0 lead on the Portland Winterhawks in the Western Hockey League playoffs.

GU women face A&M

A little morning surfing before the Gonzaga women face Texas A&M tonight in the second round of the NCAA women’s tournament. The game is  n ESPN2 and 1510 AM radio. Tip-off is about 6:40, after the 4 p.m. games that includes Tennessee.  Keep reading for stories we’ve found.

Photos from GU’s loss

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We’re trying to shuffle out of Buffalo this morning, but before we get out of this incredibly beautiful city, cough, we have a link to Chris Anderson’s photo report from last night’s game. You can find his pictures here. Jim will be back at some time in the future. I promise. In his absence here’s the Buffalo News’ game story and a column. Seems Robert Sacre tried to pump up his teammates before the game with some information about a couple of Syracuse players. Seems he was wrong. All of our stories can be found below.

Chiefs up 2-0 on Portland

Sorry for the delay - life gets in the way. Unfortunately I can’t be in two places at once, but it sounds like it would be enjoyable to be in Portland covering the Chiefs. They took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven Western Hockey League series with a solid win at Portland.

Jeff Bunch provides us with a story. The series resumes in Spokane on Wednesday, a game we’re looking forward to.

Bulldog women ready for rematch

Gonzaga women basketball players get a chance to erase the memory of their lowest point of the season with what would be the high point of their athletic lives, not to mention the high point in program history.

The Bulldogs play Texas A&M in the second round of the NCAA Tournament - the unedited game story is below - along with a couple of notes.

Gonzaga notebook

Back with the last post from Buffalo. It’s a unedited notebook. Take a look below.

Grippi column

OK, change of plans. Vince Grippi’s unedited column is posted below and we’ll have notes up in about an hour. Read on.

Zags crushed by Syracuse

Back with the game story from Gonzaga’s season ending 87-65 loss to Syracuse. Read on for the unedited version and check back in about 90 minutes for notes and column.

GU season ends in blowout loss

Gonzaga’s shooting woes continued in the second half. Syracuse’s deadeye shooting continued, too. Just like the first half, it was a bad combination for the Bulldogs.

Andy Rautins scored 11 points in a two-minute flurry early in the second half to blow open the game. Syracuse led by as many as 32 before settling for an 87-65 NCAA Tournament victory at HSBC Arena.

The eighth-seeded Bulldogs finished the season 27-7. Top-seeded Syracuse (30-4) advances to the Sweet 16 where it will face No. 5 Butler.

Gonzaga’s Elias Harris finished with 24 points and 8 rebounds. GU was 3 of 21 on 3-pointers.

 Wes Johnson and Rautins combined for 53 points and Brandon Triche chipped in 13.

More in a couple hours.

Zags down 15 at half

Gonzaga got off to a quick start offensively, hitting its first three shots (all coming on Matt Bouldin passes), but the Bulldogs paid for a 4:20 offensive dry spell midway through the half and during a big spurt by Syracuse in the closing 4 minutes.

The result: GU is down 47-32 at the break at HSBC Arena.

GU led by four early and then by five, 13-8, after Steven Gray’s 3-pointer from the corner, but the Orange caught up with jumpers and several offensive rebounds that led to key baskets. Rick Jackson’s putback gave Syracuse the lead for good, 17-15.

GU trailed 22-21 when it went scoreless for 4-plus minutes. The Orange capitalized with nine unanswered points, capped by Wes Johnson’s step-back jumper to extend Syracuse’s lead to 31-22. GU fought back within 32-28 when Elias Harris, who had a big half with 16 points, connected on a pair of free throws with 3:59 left.

Syracuse closed the half on a 15-4 run. Kelly Olynyk’s tip-in just before the buzzer left Gonzaga behind 47-32.

The Zags had success getting the ball inside and also had open looks on the perimeter, but they failed to hit most of their shots from distance. GU made 13 of 29 shots, just 2 of 11 from the 3-point line. Bouldin didn’t score and missed all three of his 3-point attempts.

Syracuse hit 17 of 28, 7 of 14 from distance. Johnson had three 3s and scored a team-high 15 points and Brandon Triche added 13 points.

More at the buzzer. 

Onuaku in sweats

There were indications Saturday that Syracuse’s Arinze Onuaku wasn’t going to play against Gonzaga because of a leg injury. The senior forward watched warm-ups in his sweats and headphones, so it definitely looks like he’ll miss today’s game, unless he’s majoring in theater.

More at halftime…

Chiefs win opener

Old friend, colleague and Chiefs beat writer Jeff Bunch now lives in Portland and is covering the Western Hockey League playoffs for us at the moment. Sounds like he had a dandy opener at the Chiefs rallied for a 5-4 win over the Winterhawks to take a 1-0 lead in the series that continues tonight.

The game story he sent us is below.

Gonzaga gets signature win

At times it appeared the Gonzaga women’s basketball team was playing against the jersey, which shouldn’t be surprising since the first round oppenent in the NCAA Tournament game was at North Carolina.

And there were moments it appeared the Bulldogs might be over-whelmed by the big, fast and athletic Tar Heels.

But in the end they proved they were an outstanding basketball team, emphasis on team, in an 82-76 win. The unedited game story is below.

Final post from Buffalo

And here’s a couple more items for your reading pleasure: Vince Grippi’s column and a side bar on the charitable efforts of the Boeheims and Fews.

Read on.

Gonzaga game preview and notes

Just about to wrap up a busy day in Buffalo. A couple of posts tonight: First up, here is my unedited game preview and notebook. Read on for those. Come back in a few minutes for more.

Sacre leaves ‘em laughing

Back with the final post of the night. My NCAA-issued wireless connection is operating about at the same efficiency as Florida State made shots Friday — roughly 35.6 percent.

So I’ll post quickly while it’s working. Read on for an unedited notebook.

Zags get the job done

Gonzaga’s impressive first half was enough to stave off Florida State on Friday. Gonzaga (27-6) will face No. 1-seeded and fourth-ranked Syracuse on Sunday at 9:10 a.m. PDT. Syracuse (29-4) cruised over Vermont 79-56 in Friday’s nightcap in front of an Orange-clad crowd of 18,948.

Click on the link to read the game story and Vince Grippi’s column.

Gonzaga rides first half to 67-60 win

Win and move on. The Gonzaga Bulldogs accomplished that crucial NCAA tournament task Thursday in Buffalo, N.Y., entertaining the 16,000 or so in the HSBC Arena with their first-half built first-round victory. The Zags played superbly in the first half and not so well in the second, using a lot of their at-one-spot 18-point lead but prevailing. Four Zag starters – Matt Bouldin (17 points), Steven Gray (15), Elias Harris (13) and Robert Sacre (13) – were in double figures and the fifth, Demetri Goodsen was instrumental in GU shooting 50 percent from the floor. The Seminoles, who finish the season 22-10, were led by reserve Deividas Dulkys, with 14 points. Jim will be back in a couple hours with the game story.

The color purple and more

Picked up a few notes from practices for the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament doubleheader at UW.

It includes an adverse reaction to the color purple, a presidential brush-off and Kobe. Keep reading, there are probably too many note to make Saturday’s paper.

Gonzaga leads 35-19 at half

If you were looking for Jim’s halftime post, this will have to suffice – his Internet connection keeps breaking down. Sort of like Florida State’s defense early in this one. … The Zags broke it down with ball movement and unselfish play. They broke out to a 22-7 lead by attacking the Seminoles’ man-to-man off the bounce and with sharp, crisp passes. The Bulldogs first nine baskets came off seven assists – the only two that didn’t were a Matt Bouldin steal and transition 5-footer along with a Robert Sacre follow. … On the other end, FSU struggled to get any consistency against GU’s man, but that’s been its case all year. What hasn’t been the case is the Seminoles couldn’t get to the offensive glass. They had just six in the first half, one in the first 13 minutes of the half. GU leads the rebounding battle 22-16. … And the Seminoles’ defense wasn’t forcing turnovers for easy points. The Zags had just six turnovers for the half, leading to no points. … And the Bulldogs got great shots, shooting 52 percent for the half. Remember, FSU has not had a game this year in which the opposition has shot better than 47 percent. … Elias Harris has 11 points to lead GU, but Bouldin has been the key with three assists and six rebounds. …The Gonzaga defense – let’s say the underrated Gonzaga defense – has limited FSU to 6 of 28 (21.4 percent) from the floor, 1 of 9 from beyond the arc. … Jim will be back with the end of game post.

Chiefs ready for Portland

Taking a quick break from bouncing balls, here is the unedited advance for the Spokane Chiefs’ opening playoff series, which starts tonight against Portland. Also, for your reading enjoy, the story Scott Sepich wrote for The Oregonian, which focuses on Luke Walker, who was a teammate, a linemate even, of Spokane’s Tyler Johnson on the gold medal World Junior Team. Read the extended entry.

Underdogs battle in Seattle

Both teams play the underdog role for the North Carolina-Gonzaga battle in the first round of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament. The unedited game story is below.

Also have the story on Eastern Washington’s loss to Oregon in the WNIT Thursday night.

Oregon loses its AD


COUGARS UPDATED: 11:45 A.M.

We’re in Buffalo with Gonzaga’s basketball team – the Zags play Florida State this evening – but we couldn’t resist passing this on. The University of Oregon has scheduled an 11:30 a.m. press conference to have an “announcement about leadership at Athletics Department.” Here’s the Oregonian’s John Canzano’s take and a story in the Eugene Register-Guard. We’ll have more later.

• UPDATE: It’s official. Mike Bellotti has stepped down as UO athletic director and will join ESPN. It must have been too tough to have to fire his former colleague Ernie Kent.

Game day from Buffalo

About six hours from tip of Gonzaga-Florida State, so we’ll get a quick post together while the wireless is still functioning (yes, it’s been hit or miss)..

Links: Here’s the S-R advance, notes and column. The Tallahassee newspaper preview, side bar, and glance at GU. Orlando Sentinel advance and capsule, the Sports Network,the National PostMiami Herald, A.P. and Tacoma News Tribune, The WCC’s Saint Mary’s thumped Richmond.

UPDATE: GU 2011 recruiit Kyle Dranginis has been named the player of the year in Idaho.

Shock shuffle up roster

The Spokane Shock are just a couple days into training camp, but they’ve already made numerous roster moves. A couple of the new additions were found at tryouts in Pullman and Los Angeles. Read more about all of Spokane’s moves here.

Fresno prep star commits to EWU

Rakim Brown, a 6-foot-7, 190-pound small forward from Central High School in Fresno, Calif., has made an oral commitment to play basketball for Eastern Washington University next winter.

Brown, who made an official visit to the EWU campus last weekend, averaged 22 points, eight rerebounds and three blocks per game as a senior and led his team to the quarterfinals of California’s D-I Central Section tournament, where he scored 29 points in a 91-88 loss to Bakersfield.

Brown decided not to take any other recruiting visits after receiving a scholarship offer from Eagles coach Kirk Earlywine, who recently received a one-year contract extention.

“It just felt like the right fit when I was there,” Brown explained. “I got along really well with the players, and I think the program is going to get a lot better, with all of the young guards they already have in the program.”

For more on Rakim check out this story from the Fresno Bee.

Gonzaga notes

Good evening once again. As promised, here’s an unedited notebook and Vince Grippi’s unedited column. Both will run in Friday’s S-R. Read on for more.

Zags, Seminoles clash in first round

Good evening from Buffalo. Weather’s great, the press conferences and team practices are over and we’ll give you a couple of posts tonight.

First up, my unedited game advance and a quick capsule look at the two teams. Come back in a while for a notebook and Vince Grippi’s column.

Read on.

Wahl, Beach, Cowen, Spurgeon honored

Spokane Chief forwards Mitch Wahl and Kyle Beach were named to the Western Hockey League’s Western Conference All-Star First Team on Thursday morning and defenseman Jared Spurgeon was named the Conference’s Most Sportsmanlike Player.  Jared Cowen, the Chiefs Captain and John “Hitman” Hern Defenseman of the Year, earned second team WHL All-Star honors.

Details below

Bekkering motivated for GU

I was a little remiss in providing stories in a timely fashion yesterday but I was a little busy.

There was the advance for the Eastern Washington WNIT game at Oregon tonight as well as a brief look at Gonzaga’s first-round opponent in the NCAA Tournament, North Carolina.

Tomorrow is a short feature with Gonzaga’s Janelle Bekkering. The unedited story I’m filing for tomorrow’s paper is below. Bekkering showed a great deal of maturity in dealing with the disappointment of a critical mistake late in last year’s NCAA Tournament loss, using it as motivation to become a better player.

EWU fans are gathering at Northern Quest for tonight’s game, which is at 7 p.m.

Americans moves

Tri-City gets a player and loses a player, both related to the Chiefs. Read the Tri-City Herald story below.

Spurgeon, Chiefs ready for playoffs

To start our Western Hockey League playoff coverage we’ll have a feature on popular defenseman Jared Spurgeon (18 above in a Jesse Tinsley photo from Sunday’s game). Click below for the unedited story.

As of this moment, Kyle Beach, the WHL’s leading scorer, is expected to play for the Chiefs when they open at Portland on Saturday. He was injured last Saturday at Tri-City. Ryan Letts, injured in the regular-season finale on Sunday, is day-to-day. Both took knee-to-knee hits.

Pains of the game

Good early evening. A couple of things to post. Here’s your first look at a notebook that will run in Wednesday’s S-R dealing with several key Zags who have played through nagging ailments this season. Nobody is immune to the aches and pains that come with playing heavy minutes, but players adapt and learn how to not only play, but play effectively.That’s below.

The worst kept secret in Eugene became official: Oregon fired coach Ernie Kent on Tuesday. There will almost certainly be speculation about Gonzaga’s Mark Few, an Oregon alum. The Ducks figure to have a lot to offer — a respected conference, money and a new arena — but I’m not convinced Few would leave to take over a program that finished ninth in the Pac-10.

Oregon made overtures to Few last year, but he seems quite content at GU.

UPDATE: Here’s another edition of the Gonzaga Roundtable on KGA 1510 with host Toby Howell. I joined Richard Fox and Max from Slipperstillfits.com Tuesday for the 40-minute show on GU basketball.

Read on.

Schuller coach of year

The women’s basketball notebook this week is a short visit with the local players for NCAA-bound Portland. As usual, there are more notes than will ever make the paper, so read the story below.

As expected Wendy Schuller is the Big Sky Coach of the Year.

The final polls are out. My vote and All-American vote are also below the notebook. After having some discrepencies all season, my final 25 is the same as the coaches with most teams close to the same spot, and there are only two differences in the AP vote.

Gonzaga’s Courtney Vandersloot is on the final for both the WBCA and Wooden All-America teams.

Forzani leaves WSU football


COUGARS • UPDATED: 4:25 P.M.

Washington State wide receiver Johnny Forzani has left the team and, according to a report in Cougfan, intends to try to play in the CFL this year. I talked with Forzani quite extensively the last home basketball weekend and, during the course of the conversation, asked him how offseason workouts were going and about school, my usual questions. He said both were tough but OK, the usual responses. Sometime in the past three weeks something changed. Anyhow, here’s a short we’ll have in the paper tomorrow, so read on.

Seminoles D-livering

Back with a notebook that will run in Tuesday’s S-R. I talked with FSU coach Leonard Hamilton and defensive whiz Chris Singleton today. The Seminoles are one of the top defensive teams in the country and we discuss that in the first item in my notebook.

I also touch on GU assistant coach Ray Giacoletti being on the short list for the head coaching opening at Hawaii. At first glance, he has the best resume and the most coaching experience of the names I’ve seen mentioned for the job. I also heard strong indications today that Gonzaga associate head coach Leon Rice and former Montana coach Larry Krystkowiak are on Boise State’s list of candidates, but it sounds like the process is just beginning and Rice will be busy with GU’s preparations the rest of the week. Stay tuned on that one.

Also, ex-Zag coach Dan Monson made an interesting NCAA Tournament champion prediction. And the winner is …. revealed below. 

Gonzaga women face Tar Heels

It’s the kind of matchups teams like Gonzaga crave - a name program on a neutral court.

That’s the first take on the Bulldogs’ NCAA Tourmanet bracket, a chance to play North Carolina.

But wait, Gonzaga is the higher seed, the Tar Heels having stumbled in the second half of the seed are were definitely a bubble team, landing a 10 seed to face No. 7 Gonzaga.

But wait some more, the game is in Seattle Saturday night and there’s a good chance, especially with the Gonzaga men getting shipped to Buffalo, N.Y., for a Friday game, the women will feel like they’re playing a home game. They definitely excited about it. The unedited story I filed for tomorrow’s paper is below.

Eastern Washington (19-11) plays at Oregon (16-15) on Thursday in the WNIT. The two teams met in Eugene the first week of the season with the Ducks rolling 86-48. Oregon’s coach is Paul Westhead, who coached in the NBA and WNBA as well as the high-flying Loyola Marymount teams of Hank Gathers-Bo Kimble fame.

One last look at WSU’s season


COUGARS

Washington State coach Ken Bone met with the media today on a conference call, answering questions about the year just past and the offseason right ahead. We have the unedited version of our story for tomorrow’s S-R on the link, so read on.

Shock tackle first practice

I attended part of the Spokane Shock’s first training-camp practice today, conducted by new head coach Rob Keefe (pictured above). You can read my unedited article below that will run in Tuesday’s S-R.

Sad news & kudos for Chiefs

A couple of nice compliments rolled in for the Spokane Chiefs after their effort on Sunday, a 3-2 win over Everett, in what was a meaningless game for them on the last day of the Western Hockey League season.

First, though, some sad news to pass along. The son of former Chiefs goalie Troy Gamble was killed in Afghanistan. The story is below.

As for the Chiefs’ win that gave Tri-City the Western Division title, Americans’ captain Jarrett Toll told Annie Fowler of the Tri-City Herald: “There was a pretty big eruption when Spokane won. It¹s an unbelievable feeling. Spokane already had their playoff position locked up and we were really expecting them to sit their better guys, but they played them. Kudos to them.”

Long-time WHL writer Gregg Drinnan of Kamloops, a respected observer of the league, said on this blog: “It says something about Spokane head coach Hardy Sauter, his coaching staff, the players and the entire organization. After losing their leading goal scorer in Kennewick, they easily could have lost to Everett, thus having a say in who finished atop the Western Conference and U.S. Division standings. The Chiefs didn’t do that, and it looks good on them!”

Day after Selection Sunday

Good morning. It’s going to be a crazy week — trying to line up interviews with Florida State and the Shock opening training camp today — but we’ve got links from Sunday’s NCAA Tournament announcement.

Here’s my article on GU’s first-round matchup, John Blanchette’s view, the Seattle Times, Tacoma News Tribune, Tallahassee Democrat, Miami Herald, Buffalo News and Niagara Gazette.    

Also, Mark Few was named NABC District 9 coach of the year.

Zags to face Florida State in Buffalo

As you all know by now, Gonzaga will face Florida State in Buffalo on Friday. When the pairing flashed on the TV screen, I quickly checked the weather in Buffalo: 38 degrees, windy, wind chill of 28. Driving to Gonzaga’s media session Sunday afternoon, the temp was 56 degrees.

Oh well. I’m guessing it’ll be about 70 inside the HSBC Arena.

Read on for my contributions to Monday’s S-R. There’s an article on GU’s reaction to the draw and a look at the four teams in Gonzaga’s bracket. I’ll post John Blanchette’s column in the morning.

Chiefs close with win, await playoffs

With more reasons to lose than win, the Spokane Chiefs would have none of it, smothering the Everett Silvertips 3-2 Sunday night to close out the Western Hockey League regular season.

The Chiefs, who now play Portland in the first round of the playoffs, handed the top-seed to Tri-City and assured themselves they will play Everett in the second round if the playoffs hold to form. Everett was 6-4 against the Chiefs this year, Tri-City 4-8.

The unedited game story is below.

Even though Spokane has home-ice over Portland, the Winterhawks get to start at home because of the NCAA basketball tournament. The schedule is:

Saturday-Sunday at Portland; Wednesday-Friday-Saturday (if necessary) in Spokane; Monday (if necessary) at Portland; Wednesday (if necessary) in Spokane.

The Chiefs handed out the following awards before the game:

Player of the Year, Mitch Wahl

Players’ Player, Jared Spurgeon

John “Himan Hern” Defenseman of the Year, Jared Cowen

Most Sportsmanlike, Jared Spurgeon

Humanitarian of the Year, Tyler Johnson

Rookie of the Year, Brady Brassart

Scholastic Player of the Year, Brady Brassart

 

Zags going to Buffalo

The Zags are No. 8 seed in the West Region, but they will be traveling all the way to Buffalo, N.Y., to face ninth-seeded Florida State on Friday in the first round of its 12th consecutive NCAA tournament.
The Bulldogs won the West Coast Conference regular season, but lost to Saint Mary’s in the WCC Tournament and lost any chance of being able to play in Spokane for the first round.
The Washington Huskies are a No. 11 seed in the East Region and will play Marquette in San Jose in the first round.

WSU decides not to extend season


COUGARS • UPDATED: 2:35 P.M.

Just got off the phone with WSU sports information basketball contact Jessica Schmick - I had asked earlier today about postseason - and she said coach Ken Bone had decided it would be best not to pursue a berth in the CBI or any other postseason tourney. That means WSU’s season, Bone’s first in Pullman, will end 16-15.

UPDATE: Read on for more on WSU’s decision.

Eastern women fall

The magic ended for Eastern Washington as sixth-seeded Montana State pulled away in the closing minutes to defeat the Eagles in the Big Sky Conference Tournament semifinals at Reese Court on Friday.

Mike Vlahovich’s unedited game story is below.

However, the season isn’t over as the Eagles head off to the WNIT, pairings to be announced after the NCAA pairings Monday night.

The season did come to an end for Idaho in a tough loss to in the WAC semifinals to league-champion Fresno State. Vandal coach Jon Newlee got into a little trouble with the league for his comments after the game.

WAC commissioner Karl Benson announced that Newlee has been publicly reprimanded for violating the WAC’s sportsmanship code. During the postgame press conference, Newlee extensively criticized the officiating of the game won by Fresno State, 80-66.  In doing so, Newlee violated the WAC’s sportsmanship code and any further violations of the code may result in a minimum of a one-game suspension.

 

Tri-City edges Chiefs

Any hope the the Spokane Chiefs had of finishing first was dashed with a mediocre effort in a 4-3 loss to Tri-City Saturday night at the Arena.

It also ended any hope of wrestling the No. 3 seed from Everett. They’ll need to rebound at Tri-City tomorrow or beat Everett Sunday at home to hold off Portland for home-ice in their four-five matchup when the playoffs open next weekend.

Our unedited game story is below.

Area teams out of title picture

The Shadle Park boys and girls basketball teams lost in the semifinals of the State 3A basketball tournaments in Tacoma while the previously undefeated West Valley girls team lost in the 2A semifinals at Yakima.

The Shadle boys lost to Enumclaw 46-34. The Highlander girls fell to Holy Names 47-42.

Prosser defeated the West Valley girls 55-41.

More mud for the Pac-10


COUGARS

Just when you have this called Pac-10 basketball figured out, you find you’re totaled wrong. Completely wrong. The Arizona State Sun Devils were playing for an NCAA Tournament bid, right? So they had to play with passion and effort Thursday. There was no way they were going to let a Stanford team upset them, was there? Wham. The conference takes another punch to the stomach. Read on.

Akey agrees to contract extension

The Lewiston Tribune this morning reported Idaho football coach Robb Akey has agreed in principle to a contract extension. The deal comes after prolonged negotiations. No details were given in the story. “We needed to come to an agreement on what the contract was going to be, to get it extended so that it would be a good thing so we can keep taking this thing forward,” Akey told the paper. “And we got details worked out, and we came to an agreement this week that needs to go to have their approval.”

3A boys: Shadle, NC win

Click the tab below to read by State 3A boys basketball tournament story.

3A boys: Shadle up at half

The Shadle Park Highlanders played well in the first half, building as much as a 10-point lead before going into halftime with a 36-28 lead over the O’Dea Irish.

Senior point guard Robby Douglas led the Highlanders with 12 points. O’Dea trimmed Shadle’s lead to 26-23 with 2:33 to go before intermission, but a 10-5 spurt opened a comfortable margin back up for the Highlanders.

More later.

3A girls: Shadle, EV win

Click the tab below to read my unedited State 3A tournament girls basketball story.

WSU women fall to Arizona


COUGARS

We didn’t post right after the game, but we do have to unedited version of our game story about the women’s team loss to Arizona. Read on.

Nevada hands UI season-ending loss

The first sign that something was amiss came in Game 2 of the season on Nov. 15, when Idaho traveled to Texas Southern after toppling Utah and lost by 7. Don Verlin seemed at a loss to describe the loss to such a pedestrian team after a quality opening win, but that was just the start to a topsy-turvy season that officially came to an end tonight in a 87-71 loss to host Nevada in the quarterfinals of the WAC tournament. The Vandals close the year at 15-16.

Click below for more. 

EWU to face MSU

It’s a good thing we told you in the advance the Big Sky Conference women’s basketball court at Eastern Washington’s Reese Court was all about parity or you might think the first day was full of upsets with the No. 6 and No. 5 seeds winning. What was upsetting is they won big, No. 6 Montana State 89-66 over No. 3 Sacramento State and No. 5 Portland State 75-61 over No. 4 Idaho State.

Today’s schedule has PSU against No. 2 Montana at 3:30 and MSU against No. 1 EWU at 6. We have a quick look at the Eagle matchup below.

In other news, Washington State lost by two to Arizona at the Pac-10 Tournament (look for Vince Grippi’s post shortly) and last night Idaho won it’s WAC opener and faces league champion Fresno State on Friday. 

A short bracketology update: ESPN has Gonzaga as a No. 7 at Notre Dame against Middle Tennessee, which thundered the Zags in their first NCAA Tournament in 2007, College RPI has them as an 8 in Minneapolis against North Carolina; both those have EWU/Big Sky as a 16 at Stanford; and Realtime RPI has GU as a 5 in Austin against Bowling Green with EWU as a 15 in Tempe against Notre Dame.

3A girls: Shadle out quickly

The Shadle Park Highlanders played a solid first half, taking a 24-14 lead into halftime.

They welcomed the return of sophomore standout Aleisha Hathaway, who scored seven of Shadle’s nine first-quarter points.

But she had to sit out the second quarter with two fouls.

More later.

WSU women face Arizona


COUGARS

We’re in the Galen Center for the opening game of the women’s Pac-10 basketball tournament. The Washington State band is in attendance. A few administrators and a sprinkling of fans. As the Cougars prepare to face the Arizona Wildcats the one thing that stands out is the paucity of Wildcats. There are only eight players on the UA team – heck, it’s hard for them to run shooting drills – but that hasn’t stopped the Wildcats from posting a 13-16 overall record, though they were just 6-12 in Pac-10 play. … The Cougars are 8-21, 3-15 in conference. But they lost their first 10 Pac-10 games, which means they are 3-5 since, including wins over third-place USC (18-11) and fifth-seed ASU (17-12). … The last three games, WSU coach June Daugherty has changed her starting lineup, going with 6-foot junior Katie Madison and bringing 6-1 Rosie Tarnowski off the bench. … Arizona’s Ify Ibekwe, a 6-2 post, has 16 double-doubles this season and the junior has 38 in her career. One came against WSU (12 points, 11 rebounds) in the recent 73-66 win in Tucson. She averages a Pac-10 best 11.3 rebounds a game. … The Wildcats also won 67-60 in Pullman early in January. … WSU freshman post Carly Noyes posted her career high with 15 points in the first meeting between the teams. Sophomore guard April Cook averaged 14 points in the two meetings. … We’ll be back at the end of the game with a quick post.

3A girls: East Valley survives 2 OTs

Try as they might to give it away in regulation, the East Valley Knights prevailed over the Mount Rainier Rams 77-72 in double overtime in the State 3A tournament Thursday at the Tacoma Dome.

Jenni White and Kimmie Thatcher led the Knights with 22 points apiece.

More later.

3A boys: North Central stays alive

The North Central Indians used balance and better execution to pull away from the Bremerton Knights 71-55 at the State 3A tournament Thursday morning at the Tacoma Dome.

Four players ended up in double figures led by Lucas Evans (18 points) and Brendon Olsen (15).

NC (16-12) takes on defending state champ Franklin (16-13) Friday at 11 a.m.

More later.

WSU Pac-10 loss, the morning after


COUGARS

The worst thing about overtime games, if you are on the losing side, is the sense afterward that one thing, one little thing, one block out, one shot, one pass, may have made the difference between winning and losing. Or 13 missed free throws. We have some links, so read on.

WSU falls 82-80 in overtime


COUGARS

One more overtime game between the Ducks and WSU. One more close loss for the Cougars. One more tough defeat. Two WSU stats stick out: 17, as in turnovers, 12 of those in the first half; and 12 of 25 from the line in an overtime game. We have our unedited game story on the link, so read on. By the way, I spent most of the end of the game preparing a post-buzzer post only to see it disappear into nothingness when my internet connection dropped. Sorry.

3A boys: Shadle wins, NC loses

Click the tab below to read my uneditied State 3A boys basketball tournament story.

Oregon leads 37-32 at the half


COUGARS

Folks, I’ve been at high school tournaments that have been run better. We’re sitting here watching the Cougars play the University of Oregon and have no access to statistics – at any time. Even gametracker is either way behind or off line. So you’re going to have to rely on my stats. The Cougars jumped out to an 11-5 lead, then forgot how to play transition defense - or take care of the ball. In the final 8 minutes, 47 seconds, Oregon scored 17 of its 24 points in transition. Fastbreak layups, transition 5 footers, kick outs for 22-footers. You name it, Oregon scored it. If it wasn’t for WSU’s 3-point shooting – I have the Cougars 5 of 12 from beyond the arc – this would be ugly. Oh, and the play of Brock Motum off the bench. The freshman had six points – complimenting Klay Thompson’s 11 points – and a team-high five rebounds – plus kept two other possessions alive with hustle. But unless WSU takes care of the ball (11 turnovers) and does a better job in transition – and the Cougars keep Malcom Armstead and Tajuan Porter in front of them a little better – it won’t have a shot at a comeback. More at the end of the game …

3A boys: Shadle up big at half

The Shadle Park Highlanders got out to a 16-2 lead, then pushed it to 35-15 before settling for a 39-23 lead at halftime.

The Highlanders attacked fullcourt pressure the best way possible - by attacking the rim.

Sophomore Brett Boese led with 12 points.

More later.

3A girls: Shadle wins, EV falls

Click the tab below to read my unedited 3A girls state tournament story.

A few thoughts before Oregon


COUGARS

Less than an hour to tipoff and we finally are getting you our pregame post. You ticked or happy? Either way, read on. We also have some football news.

3A girls: EV falls to champ

The East Valley Knights gave a respectable account of themselves, pushing No. 1-ranked and defending state champ Kennedy Lancers to the finish before falling 61-55 at the State 3A tournament Wednesday.

EV senior point guard Jenni White had 17 points.

More later.

Vandals take on UNR in WAC tourney

Can the Vandals finally string together a few stellar games and make some noise in the WAC tournament? We’ll find out starting tomorrow night when Idaho faces host Nevada in Reno. Click below for a story on the matchup — and UI’s adversity this season.

3A boys: NC starts fast, loses

The North Central Indians opened a 20-9 in the first quarter, but they gave up all of that advantage and borrowed some.

The Union Titans took advantage of 19 NC turnovers en route to a 63-54 win in a State 3A tournament opener at the Tacoma Dome.

More later.

3A girls: Shadle pulls it out

the Shadle Park Highlanders, 3A state runners-up last year, survived their first-round game Wednesday with a 47-46 win over the Capital Cougars.

The Highlanders played without leading scorer Aleisha Hathaway, a sophomore who averages 14 points per game.

Senior guard Jenna Humphrey was one of a handful of Highlanders who stepped up in place of Hathaway. Humphrey scored a game-high 17 points, including two key baskets late in the fourth quarter when Shadle took its first lead.

More later.

Will tonight be WSU’s last chance?

COUGARS

It’s hard to believe this could be the final day of Washington State University men’s basketball for the 2009-2010 season. But that is a possibility should the Cougars lose tonight. Is there still a chance of postseason play, of say a CBI bid? Sure. But the possibility became less and less realistic with each defeat as the season wound down. Another loss tonight might just put an ax in WSU’s year. We’ll see. Read on.

Impressive win for the Chiefs

 The Spokane Chiefs came up with a solid all-round effort to pick up a critical 5-2 over Kelowna Tuesday night to move within two points of the lead in the Western Division playoff chance with the end Western Hockey League season five days away.

 “Our penalty kill was great in the second period, our power play gets us a goal when we could really use one and they had the one partial breakaway in the third but other than that we were pretty solid defensively,” Chiefs coach Hardy Sauter said. “And goals from some unusual suspects, which is OK. … It’s all a result of hard work and trusting our teammates.”

And the mental game was just as impressive. The unedited game story is below.

 

West Valley girls after state title

Click the tab below for a feature on West Valley girls basketball coach Lorin Carlon and his Eagles that will be published in Wednesday’s newspaper.

Carlon is pictured above at practice.

Shadle seniors ready for state

Click the tab below to read a feature on the Shadle Park boys basketball team’s seniors that will appear in Wednesday’s newspaper.

Special news from EWU women

Attention shifts away from Gonzaga, safely in the NCAA Tournament, to the hopes of Eastern Washington, Idaho and Washington State, who play in league tournaments this week.

The Eagles have the best shot as Big Sky Conference champion and host for the league tournament, which begins Thursday at Reese Court.

But while we managed to touch bases with Cougar coach June Daugherty, our attention in the basketball notebook this week goes beyond the court, posted below along with a lot of notes that basically have no chance to make it into the paper. I also need to correct yesterday’s post, it was Brianne Ryan who earned co-Defensive Player of the Year honors and she was the third Eagle to win that, joining Michelle Demetruk in 2003 and Joanna Chadd in 2006.

Washington State freshmen KiKi Moore and Carly Noyes were recognized in the first Pac-10 media post-season voting.

Finally, while the Zags went down a spot in the AP Poll, they moved up to 15th in the ESPN/Coaches Poll.

Day, er, night after Saint Mary’s

We got an early start flying out of Las Vegas and a late start on the day-after post. But we’re home, welcomed by some wind and snow, and here’s a recap of Saint Mary’s 81-62 win over the Zags in the WCC title game.

Links: S-R gamer, John Blanchette column, Chris Anderson photos, San Francisco Chronicle gamer, Contra Costa Times here and here, A.P. gamer, Seattle Times column, Tacoma News Tribune gamer and Las Vegas Review-Journal gamer.

Read on.

Dillon joins Packers, Unertl joins Shock

Busy day for the Spokane Shock, who signed DB Jeremy Unertl, released WR Robert Redd and said goodbye to WR Charles Dillon (No. 5 pictured above), now a member of the Green Bay Packers.

More on Dillon here. More on Unertl, who has over 300 tackles in his five-year AFL career, and Redd here.

WSU faces familiar foe


COUGARS

The Washington State men’s basketball team is in Southern California, getting ready for the Pac-10 Tournament that starts with its game tomorrow night at 8 on FSN. The women will follow the same route in about 24 hours (the Pac-10 women’s tourney starts a day later at the Galen Center). In advance of the men’s game, we have our look at the Oregon game (seems like I typed those same words just the other day) on the link, so read on.

UI’s Watson won’t play in WAC tourney

Idaho basketball coach Don Verlin confirmed this afternoon that senior guard Kashif Watson will not travel with the team to the WAC tournament in Reno, Nev. Watson was suspended indefinitely Friday for making critical comments on Twitter directed toward Verlin. He missed his final home game and it appears his career is over if the Vandals do not get a postseason tournament bid. UI plays host Nevada on Thursday at 6 p.m.

Gaels take it to Gonzaga, 81-62

Back with my unedited game story from Gonzaga’s 81-62 loss to Saint Mary’s on Monday night. Read on for the article that will appear in Tuesday’s S-R and check back tomorrow (probably in the early afternoon) for a day-after post.

WSU’s All-Pac-10 selections


COUGARS

We have one item for you this evening. It’s our story on Washington State’s All-Pac-10 selections. The unedited version of the piece that will appear in tomorrow’s S-R is on the link, so read on.

Zags fall in title game

Saint Mary’s Mickey McConnell scored 26 points and Ben Allen added 20 as the Gaels defeated Gonzaga 81-62 in the WCC men’s championship game Monday.

The two combined for eight 3-pointers as the Gaels hit 10 of 21 from long distance. The Gaels took advantage of 14 Gonzaga turnovers to hold an 18-2 edge in points off turnovers.

Steven Gray led GU with 16 points and Matt Bouldin added 14.

More in about two hours.

Half: Gaels 30, Zags 29

Guard Mickey McConnell scored the game’s first seven points and had 14 in the half as Saint Mary’s took a 30-29 lead over Gonzaga at the break in the WCC men’s tournament championship game.

Gonzaga was sluggish on offense, hitting just 8 of 22 shots. Matt Bouldin scored 12 points (7 of 7 free throws) and Steven Gray had six (4 of 4 FTs). Elias Harris missed his first six shots before making a 3-pointer. The Bulldogs pulled even, but never took the lead.

The Gaels didn’t shoot much better (37.5 percent), but they hit four 3-pointers, two each by McConnell and Ben Allen, who finished the half with 10 points. Omar Samhan was 0 of 5 and didn’t score in 18 minutes.

More at the buzzer.

Piper is Big Sky MVP

Eastern Washington junior Julie Piper is the Big Sky Conference Player of the Week, which came out shortly before the league announced the 6-2 junior from Roseburg, Ore., was the league MVP.  The Eagles have never had a league MVP before and haven’t had a first-team pick since 2006. Kyla Evans, a junior from Brewster, made the second team and sophomore Brianna Russell is co-Defensive Player of the Year, another Eagle first. (Tonya Schnibbe, a senior at Weber State out of University High School, is honorable mention.)

You can bet you last dollar Eastern’s Wendy Schuller will be named Coach of the Year tomorrow.

The Eagles are host to the Big Sky Tournament beginning Thursday. Ticket information and pairings are here.

Gonzaga easily won the WCC championship and finds out in a week where it will be for the NCAA Tournament.  Courtney Vandersloot repeated as the tournament MVP - and gets some kind words from the Nebraska point guard on The Seattle Times blog - and Heather Bowman becomes the first four-time all-tournament pick, and is joined by Vivian Frieson.

The Zags dropped a spot to 18th in the AP poll, (my vote below) Texas moved past them after a pair of wins. It’s too hard to argue, the Big 12 has seven teams in the Top 25 and behind unbeaten Nebraska they’re beating up each other and two of them have beaten the Zags, Baylor and Texas A&M.

On the broadcast the women’s game it was suggested the Bulldogs could get a four-seed. ESPN has them now at a No. 6, going to Cincinnati to face NC State with a possible second matchup with Xavier, last year’s first-round victim (but much stronger this year). That’s in the Sacramento Region with Stanford No. 1 (which would draw EWU/Big Sky champion first)  and Charlie Creme says the four one-seeds are set with UConn, Stanford, Nebraska and Tennessee, with all but Tennessee still facing league tournamaments. If the Zags were to get to a four, or even a five, there’s a good chance they would go to Seattle.

Realtime RPI has GU as a six facing Boston College in Berkeley. That’s in the Dayton Regional with Nebraska No. 1. Geogetown would be the likely second-round foe. College RPI has the Zags at 9 facing North Carolina in the KC regional with Nebraska No. 1.

 

Bulldogs earn third tourney title in four years

Gonzaga has another string of school and WCC firsts after throttling Pepperdine 76-48 in the WCC women’s tournament title game Monday. Those are detailed below in my unedited game story.

Chiefs could still be first

The Spokane Chiefs have four games remaining and there is still a possibility they could end up as the top seed in the Western Division when the Western Hockey League playoffs begin next week.

We look at the possibilities in the story posted below.

Arop out with broken foot

Freshman wing Manny Arop, a key contributor off Gonzaga’s bench, is out for the year with a broken left foot. He suffered the injury during the second half of GU’s 77-62 win over Loyola Marymount in the WCC Tournament semifinals Sunday night.

Arop averages 3.5 points and 3.8 rebounds. He’s expected to have surgery Wednesday and recovery time is typically eight weeks.

Zags cruise past Waves

Top-seeded Gonzaga took all the suspense out of the WCC women’s title game with a 26-5 run early in the second half and went on to pound No. 3 Pepperdine 76-48 on Monday at the Orleans Arena.

The victory gives No. 17 Gonzaga (27-4) an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. It was GU’s second consecutive WCC Tournament championship. Gonzaga thumped the Waves (20-11) 107-64 and 87-45 in the regular season.

Courtney Vandersloot had 19 points and eight assists. Heather Bowman scored 14 points and grabbed four rebounds. Kayla Standish chipped in 10 points and a team-high 14 rebounds. Vivian Frieson added seven points and 12 boards.

More in about two hours.

 

Bulldogs lead by 8 at half

Gonzaga jumped out to a 13-2 lead five minutes into the game and later led 28-14, but the Pepperdine Waves dominated the final 7 minutes, closing within 34-26 at halftime.

GU’s Courtney Vandersloot hit a pair of early 3-pointers to help Gonzaga’s early surge. Vivian Frieson and Kayla Standish dominated the glass, but the Bulldogs struggled to make shots. They made just 11 of 32 shots (34.4 percent) and their offense bogged down when the Waves went to a zone defense.

Vandersloot scored 14 points. Heather Bowman and Tiffanie Shives each had six. Standish collected 11 rebounds in nine minutes and Frieson had nine boards.

Miranda Ayim missed her first six shots, but warmed up to finish with eight points. Lauren Bell had nine points.

More at the final buzzer.

WSU’s Thompson, Casto and Moore earn Pac-10 honors


COUGARS

Of course I was en route to Pullman when the Pac-10 announced its awards, so we’re a little late with the link. Cal’s Jerome Randle was the player of the year, OSU’s Seth Traver earned the defensive award, Derrick Williams of Arizona the freshman honor, USC’s Nikola Vucevic the most improved and ASU’s Herb Sendek was named coach of the year. Washington State’s Klay Thompson was a first-team selection, DeAngelo Casto was named to the honorable mention group (along with earning defensive honors) and Reggie Moore made the all-freshman team. We’ll have more on this later. You can access the entire Pac-10 release here.

Day after Loyola Marymount

Back with the day-after post following Gonzaga’s 77-62 victory over Loyola Marymount, the first half of which was better known as the Steven Gray Show.

First the links: S-R men’s game story, Chris Anderson photos, John Blanchette’s Gray column, Tacoma News Tribune’s gamer, Seattle Times’ column, and gamers on Saint Mary’s routing Portland. The women’s links: S-R gamer, photos, game story on Saint Mary’s-Pepperdine in the Contra Costa Times, and a double gamers (SMC and Santa Clara) in the San Francisco Chronicle

More below on Gray, GU and thoughts from Saint Mary’s players and coaches after they dispatched Portland in Sunday’s nightcap.  

Back at halftime of the women’s title game with an update.

Tourney week begins at WSU


COUGARS

The Pac-10 Conference is slated to announce its awards today, based on a vote of the coaches. With that in mind, on the link we’ll take a look at the major awards and who will probably win them. There usually is a surprise or two, but for the most part the coaches play it pretty close to chalk. Read on.

Gonzaga marches on

Back with the game story from Sunday night’s rugby scrum, er, basketball game. Gonzaga battled past Loyola Marymount 77-62 to advance to the WCC Tournament title game.

My unedited game story is below. Saint Mary’s is leading by 22 with about 3 minutes left, so that will set up the third showdown between the Gaels and Bulldogs.

Check back tomorrow for a day-after post.

State 3A basketball draw

I didn’t get back from Tacoma - after a stop at the office - and start calling coaches until about 6:15 p.m.

So I apologize that I didn’t post this earlier.

Click the tab below to find out the draws for the Shadle Park and North Central boys and the Shadle Park and East Valley girls.

State 2A basketball draw

I didn’t get back from Tacoma - after a stop at the office - and start calling coaches until 6:15 p.m.

So I apologize for not being able to post this story earlier.

Click the tab below to check out the draw for the West Valley, Pullman and Clarkston girls and the WV, Deer Park and Clarkston boys.

Mead girls enjoyed the ride

Because of the lateness of Saturday’s 4A state championship girls basketball game, I wasn’t able to get any reaction from coach or players afterward.

So I filed this story tonight that will be published Monday.

Click the tab below to read.

Chiefs get help

Spokane native Tyler Alos scored and Burke Gallimore had two goals as Seattle handed Tri-City it’s third loss in a row.

That means the Spokane Chiefs can pass the Americans if they win their last four of the season. Two of those are a home-and-home with the Americans next week. Tri-City is four up on the Chiefs.

However, to win the lWest, the Chiefs will need help. Everett is also four up on the Chiefs and they only meet one time, next Sunday in Spokane to end the regular season.

Kelowna is at Spokane on Tuesday when Everett goes to Portland, which is four points behind Spokane.

Seattle is at Tri-City Wednesday.

Friday Tri-City is at Spokane, Seattle is at Everett, Portland goes to Chilliwack.

Saturday Spokane is at Tri-City, Chilliwack goes to Everett and Portland is at Seattle.

Sunday Everett is at Spokane.

Zags hold off LMU, 77-62

Gonzaga will play for the West Coast Conference Tournament title for the 13th straight season. The Bulldogs withstood a Loyola Marymount comeback in the second half and registered a 77-62 semifinals victory Sunday at the Orleans Arena.

GU led by 16 at the break, but LMU fought back within six before Gonzaga pulled away. Robert Sacre hit a pair of free throws and Bol Kong drained a 3-pointer to hike Gonzaga’s lead to 66-55. A 6-0 spurt about a minute later sealed it.

Steven Gray finished with 18 points, seven assists and six rebounds. Elias Harris added 16 points.

Back with the game story in about two hours.

Gonzaga jumps out to 16-point lead

Gonzaga scored the first eight points of the game and didn’t let off the throttle. The Bulldogs, behind Steven Gray’s 14-points and four assists and significant contributions from reserves Manny Arop and Bol Kong, moved in front 41-25 against Loyola Marymount at half.

Gonzaga made 13 of its first 17 shots and finished the half 16 of 28 (57.1 percent). LMU was just 8 of 25 (32 percent), committed eight turnovers and didn’t have an assist.

Gray took a hard fall on his side when he bit on Drew Viney’s pump fake, but he returned after a rest of less than two minutes. He made 5 of 7 shots and 3 of 4 free throws. Arop added four points and six rebounds. Kong had a pair of three-point plays and an assist. Demetri Goodson added five points and four rebounds as GU leads the latter category 18-13.

More at the final buzzer.

Hopson gets honorable mention

Idaho senior Mac Hopson, a first-team all-WAC point guard last year, was one of five honorable mentions (essentially the third team) by the conference this afternoon. He was on the conference’s preseason first team and averaged 15.6 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists per game. Also, center Marvin Jefferson was named to the All-Defensive team.

Click below for more.

Pepperdine upends No. 2 Saint Mary’s

Gonzaga’s opponent in the WCC women’s tournament championship will be third-seeded Pepperdine, which rallied from nine down in the second half to defeat No. 2 Saint Mary’s 62-56.

Miranda Ayim led four Waves (20-10) in double figures with 13 points, including a jumper with 17.5 seconds left to put Pepperdine in front 60-56.

Gonzaga crushed Pepperdine 107-64 and 87-45 during the regular season. Tipoff is at noon.

“I think it’s a mental thing,” guard Lauren Bell said of the title matchup. “Gonzaga has always been the team to beat and I think a lot of teams are intimidated by them, I think if we come out ready to play and know who we are, then we’ll be fine.”.

Added Waves coach Julie Rousseau: “Every time we’ve played them we have not played well. It’s going to take every bit of mental toughenss and belief in ourselves that we can get the job done. We know how great a team Gonzaga is and we know our work is cut out for us. … We’re not going to forfeit the game. We’ve got to play it and we’re excited about being there.”

Gonzaga runs away from SCU

Back with the unedited game story from Gonzaga’s 87-47 blowout over Santa Clara. Read on.

Kloke 2nd team All-WAC

A busy day for women’s basektball. In an effort to get more recogniton, most conferences play their league tournaments a week before the men so some of the biggest leagues wrap up today and get television exposure. That includes the SEC with Tennessee facing Kentucky in about 90 minutes on ESPN 2 before the Gonzaga men’s game.

Gonzaga had an easy time in its WCC semifinal, being handled on Sportslink by Jim Meehan, but we have plenty of other news.

Rachel Kloke is the only Idaho Vandal recognized in the All-WAC honors, making second team. The awards are listed below. The Vandals are the fourth seed in the WAC tournament in Reno and play No. 5 New Mexico State at Wednesday afternoon. A win would send them into the semifinals against the 1-8 winner, probably league champion Fresno State, Friday afternoon.

The Cougars finish the regular season today, Pac-10 honors should be released Tuesday, I just filed my media vote. Big Sky coaches have a conference call tomorrow but I would guess the release could be coming on Tuesday.

By the way, Eastern Washington (as well as Gonzaga) are assured of post-season play because the WNIT does take league champions if they don’t win their conference tournament. GU, unbeaten in league, is close to a lock for the NCAA berth, and could still get an at-large, though projections suggest that is not a given. EWU has beaten every team in the league but still lost to four teams in the tournament (sweeping only Montana State).

Will be back later when I file my Top 25 vote to link to news that comes along.

Gonzaga rolls 87-47

Gonzaga coasted to an 87-47 win over Santa Clara in the WCC women’s tournament semifinals. The Bulldogs (26-4) will face the winner of Pepperdine-Saint Mary’s, which tips in about 35 minutes.

GU led 46-23 at half and continued to pull away. Heather Bowman led GU with 18 points. Vivian Frieson added 12 points and five rebounds.

Game story in about 90 minutes.

Bulldogs take command in first half

After a sluggish start, Gonzaga broke away with a 28-5 burst to take a commanding 46-23 halftime lead. Those 28 points came in a 7:30-minute flurry, fueled by Santa Clara turnovers.

At one point, Gonzaga’s two leading scorers, Courtney Vandersloot and Heather Bowman, were 0 of 6 as the Broncos kept it close through the first nine minutes. But Bowman got rolling with a post-up layin and Vandersloot broke loose for seven points, four rebounds and three assists. Bowman finished the half with 8 points. Vivian Frieson had eight points, four rebounds and two steals.

GU piled up an 19-2 advantage in points off turnovers and 14-4 edge in second-chance points. Santa Clara’s Lena Gipson, who came in averaging 12.5 points, was held scoreless and picked up her third foul with 8:48 left.

Gonzaga made 5 of its first 16 shots, but finished the half 20 of 40.

Back after the game.

Morning wrap

A number of links as Gonzaga’s women prepare to take on Santa Clara in WCC Tournament semifinals in about 25 minutes.

There are reports out of Oregon that Ernie Kent has already been fired, which will start the annual Mark-Few-to-Oregon conjecture. There’s several more articles on Kent’s situation here.

Here are the WCC men’s links: Portland bounced San Diego, and LMU eliminated USF.,

And the women’s links: Santa Clara continued to be the surprise of the tourney, beating Portland.

Back at half of the GU game for an update. 

WSU’s loss at Mac Court, the day after


COUGARS

After an uneventful drive up from Eugene – hit the usual ground fog just south of Salem, but that’s it – we’re in the Portland airport, waiting for the Horizon flight back to Spokane. It’s the first Sunday in March. Some teams have already punched their ticket for the tournament and others, like WSU, await their conference tourneys, hoping to catch lightning in a bottle and advance. As DeAngelo Casto said after the loss to Oregon last night, “as I see it, right now we’re 0-0.” Whether the left side of that number will change Wednesday night, no one knows. We know the Cougars haven’t defeated Oregon yet. Read on for more on the second loss.

4A girls: AR Ravens top Mead

The Auburn Riverside Ravens capped an undefeated season by holding off the Mead Panthers 56-52.

Click the tab below to read my unedited game story. Because of the lateness of the game and our deadline, I couldn’t track down quotes from the coach or players.

Pilots eliminate San Diego

The other semifinal matchup is set at the WCC men’s tournament. No. 3 Portland defeated San Diego 72-57 late Saturday night. The Pilots advance to take on No. 2 Saint Mary’s. That game follows the Gonzaga-Loyola Marymount contest, which tips at 5:30.

Beach nets 50

Kyle Beach scored two goals, giving him 51 on the season, and the Spokane Chiefs dominated Seattle 4-1.

Beach is the first  Chief since Ryan Duthie in 93-94 to get 50. Duthie had 57. There has been only one 50 goal scorer in the WHL in the last four years - Joel Broda notched 50 for Moose Jaw & Calgary last year.

The Chiefs remain four points behind Everett with four to play, three at home. However, reeling Tri-City is just four points ahead. The Chiefs have a home-and-home with Tri-City and close the season with Everett visiting the Arena on next Sunday.

5A boys: PF ends season on top

Click the tab below to read our story about the Post Falls Trojans capturing a state championship.

4A girls: Mead leads at half

Imagine this: The Mead Panthers are leading at halftime for a change.

In a game featuring mostly atrocious shooting from the field - especially by Mead - the Panthers have a 23-22 lead. Senior guard Jazmine Redmon hit a 3-pointer with nine seconds to go before halftime.

Mead didn’t make its first field goal until 5-minute, 41-second mark of the second quarter. The Panthers missed their first 17 shots. And they led 7-3 at the end of the first quarter without having made a basket. What kept the Panthers in the game in the first half were free throws - a result of the Panthers aggressively attacking the basket, even if they couldn’t make many. Mead made 13 of 15 foul shots.

More later.

More on Gonzaga’s semifinal matchups

The second half of the Portland-San Diego men’s game just started (Pilots 39-28 at the time of this post), so I thought I’d go ahead and post this look ahead to Gonzaga’s assignments Sunday at the West Coast Conference tournaments.

Before we get to that, here’s an article on ex-Zag Jeff Brown’s induction into the WCC Hall of Honor on Saturday morning.

Read on.

WSU ends regular season with a loss


COUGARS

The Cougars said their goodbyes to Mac Court on Saturday, playing the role of accommodating guest. Their most important going-away gift? How about 36 missed shots? Or 21 missed 3-point attempts? They certainly didn’t give this one away – their 11 turnovers were four less than they had in the first half Thursday – but the shot themselves out of it. Our unedited game story is on the link, so read on …

Clean sweep to state for GSL 3A hoops

The Greater Spokane League swept all four available berths to 3A state today when North Central’s boys and East Valley’s girls captured the final two during games at Rogers today. Shadle Park boys and girls, the Indians and Knights will play in Tacoma Wednesday-through-Saturday.

Both of today’s games were high-powered and high-scoring. NC won 80-72 over Rogers, EV won 66-63 over Hanford in overtime. Those teams were last in state in 2007.

Here is my unedited story: 

Johnson, Vandals overwhelm Hawaii

How good were things for the Idaho Vandals and their fans Saturday night? After UI connected on its 10th 3-pointer — it went on to make 14 — the crowd erupted when the P.A. announcer declared that everyone was getting a free Wendy’s hamburger. Who knew that promotion even existed?

The Vandals pulled away from Hawaii 78-69 on the strength of eight 3s and 28 points from Steffan Johnson. My story with more details is below.

5A boys: Post Falls captures title

The Post Falls Trojans topped the Eagle Mustangs 68-60 to claim the State 5A championship.

Check back later and we’ll post our game story.

3A boys: Priest River takes state

The Priest River Spartans capped a winter sweep by the school’s basketball teams by capturing the 3A state championship.

Click the tab below to read our unedited story.

Zags to take on LMU in the semifinals

A quick post before I head to the interview room. Gonzaga will play Loyola Marymount, which eliminated San Francisco 84-76, in the semifinals Sunday at the WCC men’s tournament.

The Lions lost twice to USF in the regular season, but they won Saturday to extend their season. LMU defeated Pepperdine 87-84 on Friday.

I’ll have a story up in about 45 minutes on GU’s men’s and women’s semifinals matchups.

WSU falls to Oregon, 74-66


COUGARS

Washington State waited a lot longer to dig a big hole for itself Saturday night, staying close to Oregon until the second half. But a 16-5 run helped the Ducks build a 15-point edge in the first 7 minutes, 33 seconds after intermission. The Ducks struggled from beyond the arc in the first half, but started the second half with a couple pick and pops for E.J. Singler, who buried both, igniting the rally. Tajuan Porter, held scoreless by foul trouble and Marcus Capers, attacked Xavier Thames to open the second half, his last at Mac Court. Before you knew it, he had eight points. Capers came back but picked up his fourth personal 1:17 later and sat again. The Cougars pulled within 10 midway through the half, but Oregon went on a 7-0 run to build an insurmountable lead. We’ll be back in about two hours with our game story. Until then …

Oregon leads 29-27 at half


COUGARS

Sorry, but there are no stats here at Mac Court, and the ESPN box isn’t working, so I had to spend a few minutes figuring out my own. Anyhow, the Cougars are once again shooting poorly – I have them 8 of 29 (27 percent) from the field, 1 of 12 from beyond the arc. However, they are getting to the free throw line, hitting 10 of 13 from there (What is it about this place? Last year the Cougars set a Pac-10 record here). They also are holding their own on the boards (20 apiece) and taking care of the ball (just six). WSU had the ball at the end of the half with a chance to tie, but Reggie Moore made a big mistake, taking the ball into the key and throwing up a wild shot with 7 seconds left. The Ducks took advantage, throwing it up to Matt Humphrey, who was fouled by Marcus Capers with 1.9 left. Humphrey missed both free throws, but Capers’ foul was his third. That might make a difference in the second half. Klay Thompson and DeAngelo each have 11 points for WSU. We’ll be back at the end of the game. Until then …

EWU women play like champs

Eastern Washington played like Big Sky champions Saturday afternoon, turning back Portland State 78-68. The game story is below.

Now the Eagles await the Big Sky tournament, which begins Thursday in Cheney. The Eagles have a bye until Friday.

Thursday, March 11

3:30 p.m. :: No. 3 Sacramento State (15-14, 10-6 BSC) vs. No. 6 Montana State (16-13, 9-7 BSC)

6:00 p.m. :: No. 4 Idaho State (15-14, 10-6 BSC) vs. No. 5 Portland State (15-14, 9-7 BSC)

Friday, March 12

3:30 p.m. :: No. 2 Montana (15-13, 10-6 BSC) vs. highest remaining seed

6:00 p.m. :: No. 1 Eastern Washington (19-10, 12-4 BSC) vs. lowest remaining seed

Saturday, March 13

2:05 p.m. :: Championship game

 

In other news, Jen Mountain’s eighth-seeded Santa Clara Broncos pulled off a second-shocker at the WCC tournament and their reward is a game against Gonzaga at 11 a.m. Sunday in Las Vegas. The Zags won the regular-season games by 38 and 33. The other side of the bracket held true with No. 3 Pepperdine facing No. 2 Saint Mary’s.

Angie Bjorklund hit 4 3’s as Tennessee advanced to the SEC championship game.

The Cougars finish the regular season tomorrow against last-place Oregon State and, if I’m not mistaken, could play the Huskies in the Pac-10 tournament next weekend.

Idaho closes the regular-season tonight.

Back when possible.

A few thoughts before WSU at Oregon


COUGARS • UPDATED: 5 P.M.

We’re going rogue here. Instead of writing about tonight’s game, which I know you all are excited as heck about, I’m going to check in with some of your questions, comments and thoughts from the previous few days. If you care, read on.

UPDATE: Cal holds on and tops Stanford, 71-61. Also, Joevan Catron decided not to suit up.

GU women will face Santa Clara

I’ve arrived in Las Vegas — I know this because the wireless is finally free and I stood next to Penn on the tram ride to baggage claim. The man is a small forward, a good 6-foot-6 (no wonder Teller looks so short). They have a show tonight at the Rio.

The show continues at the WCC men’s and women’s tournaments at the Orleans Arena. And so do the surprises, at least on the women’s side. No. 8-seeded Santa Clara pulled its second upset in as many days, storming past No. 4 Portland 74-61 in the quarterfinals. The Broncos came into the tournament 3-26, but they’ve pulled off two straight wins, Saturday’s fueled by a 43-25 advantage in the seconnd half..

Santa Clara, coached by ex-Zag player and assistant coach Jennifer Mountain, advances to take on top-seeded Gonzaga in the semifinals Sunday. I arrived at the Orleans with about 1:15 left in the second half of the SCU-Portland game, but I caught GU coach Kelly Graves before he departed to conduct a late afternoon practice.

I’ll have more later tonight on the women’s and men’s matchups tomorrow. GU’s men await the winner of No. 5 Loyola Marymount-No. 4 San Francisco. That game tips at 6 p.m.

4A boys: Mead takes fifth

The Mead Panthers built a 15-point lead and held off a late charge to top the Skyline Spartans 49-39 at the State 4A tournament Saturday.

Click the tab to read my unedited game story.

4A boys: Mead up at half

In a largely sluggish first half, the Mead Panthers used a late flurry to take a 20-15 lead at halftime.

Jeremy Beck and Brendon Myers hit 3-pointers in the final minute, then Aaron Dunn got a steal and took a shot and was fouled as time expired. He made one free throw to cap a 7-0 surge.

More later.

WSU’s hoop season winds down


COUGARS

It’s the last Saturday of the Pac-10 basketball regular season. Next week is the Pac-10 Tournament at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The week after that is the postseason – for a few conference teams. After tonight we’ll know the seeding for next week and next week we’ll figure out the week after. But for now, all we know is the past. And that recent past hasn’t been kind to the Washington State Cougars. Read on for more.

5A Idaho boys: PF to play for title

The Post Falls Trojans will play for the state championship tonight when they take on the No. 1-ranked and favored Eagle Mustangs. The game can be seen via a webstream on Idahosports.com.

Click the tab below to read our unedited story.

Highlanders au deux return to state

The Shadle Park Highlanders - boys and girls - are regional 3A basketball champions and headed to state in Tacoma. That gives the school a sweep of all four regional winter titles, a first in all likelihood said principal Herb Rotchford. Earlier Shadle won regional gymnastics and wrestling titles. Let the bagpipes peal.

The boys escaped North Central on a 3-point basket by Robby Douglas with 9 seconds left. The girls won easily 54-41 over East Valley in all-GSL finals. Unfortunately, the girls game was inconsistently officiated and led to a flagrant technical foul call and ejection of players who must sit out their next games as a result. EV will be without Amber Swyers in Saturday’s winner to state, loser out game against Hanford. Shadle will be without Aleisha Hathaway, in the state opener. She is the team’s season scoring leader.

NC and Rogers boys play at 2 p.m. for the second state berth as well. Both games are at Rogers.

Attached are my unedited game stories:

4A girls: Mead rallies - again

The Mead Panthers will be playing for the State 4A championship Saturday thanks to another miraculous comeback.

Mead rallied to knock off Garfield 54-53 at the Tacoma Dome.

Click the tab below to read my unedited game story.

Eagles win title; Cougs come back

Eastern Washington won the Big Sky championship, its first, without taking the the court and Washington State shut-down high-flying Oregon and came back to win its third Pac-10 game with one of its biggest rallies ever.

Chiefs blank Portland

James Reid got his fifth shutout of the season and second agianst Portland as the Spokane Chiefs moved four points ahead of the Winterhawks in the race for playoff positioning.

Mitch Wahl and Kyle Beach scored first period goals, the league-leading 49th for Beach, with Kenton Miller adding a marker in the second and Matt Marantz in just his second game back from an injury scored in the fourth.

Reid made 28 saves.

4A girls: Mead trails at half - again

The Mead Panthers trail the Garfield Bulldogs 28-21 at half.

Probably just setting us up for another comeback.

The Panthers got off 34 shots, but could only make seven. They had 12 more shots than Garfield.

More later.

Idaho 5A boys: PF to play for title

The Post Falls Trojans will play for the State 5A championship on Saturday. The Trojans defeated Madison of Rexburg 78-57.

Senior guard Shawn Reid had 24 points and 10 rebounds and sophomore guard Marcus Colbert had 24. The Trojans’ opponent is still to be determined.

Lake City was eliminated. The Timberwolves lost 72-52 to Rocky Mountain.

ALSO: Moscow and Priest River will be playing in the 4A and 3A state finals.

4A boys: G-Prep done, Mead alive

Mead will play for fifth or eighth place Saturday while Gonzaga Prep was eliminated.

Click the tab below to read my unedited story.

Spokane releases QB Hansen

Spokane announced Friday that it has released QB Casey Hansen. That leaves the team with three quarterbacks — Erik Meyer, Kyle Rowley and Chris Crane — entering training camp, which begins March 15th.

UI’s Watson suspended indefinitely

In less than 24 hours, Kashif Watson went from watching himself on SportsCenter to being suspended for his final home game of his career. The punishment stems from critical comments Watson made on his Twitter page.

After seeing the comments last night, I asked Don Verlin and Watson about them. Verlin said he hadn’t seen them, but he surely has now. You can read my story below.

4A boys: G-Prep’s season over

The Decatur Gators eliminated the Gonzaga Prep Bullpups 48-45 in the State 4A tournament.

Bullpup seniors Ryan Nicholas scored a game-high 26 points and tried to will Gonzaga Prep to victory. But the Bullpups didn’t have much left after their emotional loss in the quarterfinals.

More later.

One more Pac-10 game for WSU


COUGARS

One more Pac-10 game for the Washington State University Cougars. And one more for Mac Court. Walked to the top seats in the venerable gym – calling it an arena would just be wrong – and took in the ambience one last time. My first game there was in 1981 and I was shocked how much it bounced and how old it seemed then. Almost 30 years later and it seems to be holding up better than I am. Anyhow, that’s off the point. I’ve got a story on the link that’s a little off the wall. So read on.

4A boys: Mead earns trophy

The Mead Panthers secured just its fourth state trophy in history by holding off the Lincoln Abes 57-52.

Mead will play for fifth/eighth places Saturday.

More later.

4A girls: LC eliminated

Lewis and Clark’s string of five straight state trophies was snapped in a 56-53 loss to Edmonds-Woodway.

LC’s season ends with a 17-11 record.

More later.

4A girls: Mead win away from final

Perhaps no hole is too deep for the Mead Panthers.

Mead rallied from 11 points down to stop the defending state champion Kentwood Conquerors 74-71.

NOTE: I botched the post last night. Here’s the story with a correction. Mead hasn’t won state title since 1996. I said in the story published today that Mead hadn’t won a state title since 1992. My bad. Rookie mistake!

Vandals down San Jose State

From Kashif Watson’t 60-foot bank shot at the buzzer to San Jose State’s furious rally attempt, there was some entertaining basketball Thursday night at the Cowan Spectrum. And how many people were there to see the Vandals’ 86-76 win? Just 961.

Click below for my story.

UPDATE: In my story, I mention that UI can get as high as the sixth seed in the WAC tournament. Because of tiebreakers, it can actually only climb to the No. 7 spot by beating Hawaii. Meanwhile, if Hawaii beats Idaho, Boise State loses to San Jose State and Nevada tops La Tech, the Warriors will get the eighth spot and BSU will miss out.

WSU’s loss to OSU, the day after


COUGARS

After a game at Gill Coliseum, you talk with the visiting players and coach in a hallway outside the locker room. To one side is a bedsheet hung from the walls as a screen. To the other is the media room. WSU coach Ken Bone came out from behind the curtain Thursday night and tried to explain another poor first half by his team. He reminded me just a few weeks ago we were talking about how the Cougars were struggling at the end of games. And now it’s poor first halves. Maybe Bone has it right. “We showed our youth once again,” he said and that might be the crux of the matter. The Cougars have four underclassmen starting, rely on two freshmen, either true or redshirt, for depth and the lack of experience shows. Consistency isn’t the hallmark of most young collegiate players in any sport. The star for OSU on Thursday night, true freshman Jared Cunningham, has had games like last night and games where he was putrid. But OSU has a strong group of upperclassmen to fall back on. WSU doesn’t. We have more on the link. Read on.

Despite another rally, WSU falls again


COUGARS

Once more Washington State fell behind. Once more the Cougars rallied. Once more they fell short. Thursday night the Oregon State zones trapped them into first-half oblivion. But the second half, with the court spread better, the ball moved quicker, the Cougars shot their way back into, led by Klay Thompson who was 6 of 10 after halftime, including 4 of 6 from beyond the arc. Still, with Reggie Moore unable to buy a bucket all night - he was 0 of 8 from the floor, making him 11 of his last 44 - there proved to be too little firepower down the stretch - though Moore hit double figures thanks to 10 free throws. The long version of the game story is on the link. Read on.

Idaho 5A boys: PF wins, LC falls

The Post Falls Trojans held off the Vallivue Falcons 55-53 while the Lake City Timberwolves fell to the Borah Lions 52-46 in 5A state tournament openers at the Idaho Center in Nampa.

Click the tab below to read our unedited story.

OSU defeats WSU, 59-55


COUGARS

They made it interesting, really interesting, but the WSU Cougar couldn’t overcome their early mistakes Thursday night and fell to Oregon State in a crucial Pac-10 game. WSU fell behind by 18 at the half, 19 early in the second. Then the Cougars started moving the ball quicker, got open looks and started nailing 3-pointers. The main weapon was Klay Thompson, who started shooting like he did earlier in the season. WSU got within one midway through the half but couldn’t get over the hump. Then the Cougars got within one twice in the final minute but couldn’t get a key rebound or foul. The defeat all but sealed WSU’s fate as far as the Wednesday game next week. We’ll be back in about 90 minutes with our game story.

4A boys: G-Prep loses tearjerker

For the second year in a row, the Gonzaga Prep Bullpups fell in a quarterfinal overtime game.

Click the tab below to read my unedited story.

5A boys: Lake City loses

The Borah Lions topped the Lake City Timberwolves 52-46 in a state tournament opener at the Idaho Center in Nampa.

More later.

OSU leads 33-15 at half


COUGARS

Oregon State lives on turnovers. The Beavers’ offense needs them to survive. And tonight, it’s getting them. Fifteen of them, in fact, including three consecutive possessions to open the game and three more in the final minute of the half. No one on WSU is taking care of the ball, not Reggie Moore, not Xavier Thames, not anyone. Some of the turnovers are forced by OSU’s swarming defense, whether the Beavers are playing their usual 1-3-1 zone or in the 2-3 they play after misses. But many of them are just dumb decisions that turn into freebies for OSU. … A lot has been made of Klay Thompson’s poor shooting lately, which didn’t continue in the first half partly because Thompson made the only (yes, only) shot he took, a breakaway dunk after a steal. But Moore is struggling with his shot as well, missing all six of his attempts – many open – dropping him to 11 of his last 42, 26.2 percent. When a team’s two leading scorers are unable to put the ball in the basket, not many of them are going to win. … WSU has made four shots. It has as many turnovers as points. Other than Nik Koprivica (2 of 3, seven points) no one is being aggressive with the ball. The Cougars trailed 11-2, got within 13-11, then were outscored 20-4 in the final 10 minutes. … Freshman Jared Cunningham, besides flying around at the bottom of the 1-3-1, leads all scorers with 15 points on 5 of 6 shooting. He also has six steals. … We’ll be back when it’s over.

GU men, women prep for WCC tourneys

I filed separate previews for Gonzaga’s men’s and women’s teams as they get ready to travel to Las Vegas this weekend for the WCC tournaments. Read on for those unedited articles. I’ll have an update Saturday night when GU’s semifinal matchups are finalized.

Also, here’s a link to a GU Roundtable segment (click on GU roundtable under recent audio) on KGA 1510. I sat down earlier today with KGA’s Toby Howell, GU radio analyst and ex-Zag Richard Fox and Max from Slipperstillfits.com for a lengthy discussion on Gonzaga basketball.

4A boys: G-Prep stopped in OT

Just like what happened a year ago in the quarterfinals, Gonzaga Prep fell to top-ranked and defending state champ Federal Way 60-59 in overtime.

The Bullpups had Federal Way beat in regulation and let it slip away.

Isiah Umipig went coast to coast for a driving basket with seven seconds left for the game winner.

More later.

Unfamiliar foe for WSU


COUGARS

The last weekend of Pac-10 play is always interesting in one regard. Though the conference is one of the few major ones that still plays a double round-robin, the way the Pac-10 works the schedule (you play weekends against 1-2-3-4-5 then 2-3-4-5-1) schools go a couple months between games with their first weekend opponents. In fact, as Ken Bone pointed out this week, the Cougars last played Oregon in 2009. We have some more thoughts about the schedule and tonight’s opponent, the Oregon State Beavers, on the link, so read on.

4A boys: G-Prep trails at half

The defending state champ Federal Way Eagles lead 30-22 at half in an entertaining game.

Federal Way is as good as advertised. The Eagles got out to a 18-6 lead, but the Bullpups fought back. They tied it finally at 21-21 when Ryan Nicholas took a superb feed from Chris Sarbaugh.

Then FW closed out the half with a 9-1 spurt - aided by some controversial call/no calls in my opinion.

Seriously, FW has college-level talent.

More later.

4A boys: Mead survives, 52-45

The Mead Panthers broke a curse of sorts - finally winning on the court where they lost the state championship in 2003 - as they knocked off Lake Stevens 52-45.

Mead (20-6) will play to get into a state trophy game Friday when it takes on Lincoln (19-8) at 12:30.

Panthers senior Aaron Dunn, who struggled and scored just seven points Wednesday, bounced back to for a game-high 22.

More later.

5A boys: Post Falls wins

The Post Falls boys won its opener, 55-53, over Vallivue of Caldwell.

More details as they become available.

4A boys: Mead down 2 at half

The Lake Stevens Vikings -known more for their wrestling prowess than basketball - lead 24-22 over the Mead Panthers at halftime in an otherwise sloppy game thus far.

Mead senior post Aaron Dunn picked up his obligatory two first-half fouls, but managed to score 14 of the Panthers’ 22 points.

More later.

4A girls: LC stays alive

Lewis and Clark is familiar with this route. The Tigers stayed alive, romping past the Rogers Rams 69-49 in a loser-out game. 

Click the tab below for more.


Zags to play in CBE Classic in November

We’ve mentioned this being part of Gonzaga’s 2010-11 schedule, but more details were released Thursday about the O’Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic in November.

Gonzaga, Duke, Kansas State and Marquette will get together (pairings haven’t been finalized) for the championship rounds of the tournament Nov. 22-23 in Kansas City, Mo. Those four schools will host regional games Nov. 14-17 before moving on to the Sprint Center the following week. A total of 12 teams will be involved in the tournament.

Texas won the 2009 event. More below.

WSU begins key weekend


COUGARS

We’re traveling this morning, which is why this post is a little later than usual. But we’ve got your Washington State news on the link, so read on.

Just like old times

The Lake City boys basketball team returns to state today for the first time in eight years and the first time in coach Jim Winger’s return to the job he started when the school opened in 1994.

Click here to read the story.

Lots at stake in Vandals’ last homestand

Over the next three days, the Vandals host San Jose State and Hawaii — two teams in the middle or bottom tier of the WAC. Normally a homestand like this wouldn’t hold much intrigue, but that’s the not case this time. Click below to read about what’s at stake and Don Verlin’s comments about his senior class.

4A boys: G-Prep wins, Mead falls

The Gonzaga Prep Bullpups looked like state champs Wednesday. Now, they’ll find out if they can be state champs when they take on defending champ Federal Way on Thursday.

Mead, meanwhile, ran into a wall against Kentwood.

Click the tab below to read my unedited story.

Chiefs lose shootout

Kyle Beach and Mitch Wahl came up empty in a shootout while the Kelowna Rockets scored on their first two shoots, handing the Spokane Chiefs a 3-2 loss Wednesday night. (Story from Kelowna paper below.)

It was a game the Chiefs only mustered 21 shots through overtime but picked up a short-handed goal by Tyler Johnson in the second period to tie the game at 1 and a rebound goal by Brenden Kitchton midway through the third period to tie the game at 2.

The Chiefs, 1-2 in shootouts, picked up a point to move two points ahead of fourth-place Portland in the U.S. Division and now trail Everett by four and Tri-City by eight with six games to go.

4A boys: Mead trails big

UCLA-bound Josh Smith - who takes up much space at 6-foot-9 and 285 pounds - scored early, often and whenever he wanted as the Kentwood Conquerors manhandled the Mead Panthers 35-13 in the first half.

Smith had 19 points on 9-of-12 shooting, most of his shots coming from - I kid you not - 3 feet or closer. He owned the key. Mead couldn’t move him.

Kentwood opened a 13-0 lead before Brendon Myers hit a 3-pointer with 3:40 to go in the first quarter.

More later.

4A girls: Mead wins, LC falls

Mead strolled to victory and Lewis and Clark fell in a heartbreaker in 4A state tournament openers Wednesday.

Click the tab below to read my unedited game story.

WSU’s weekend will determine seeding


COUGARS

The weekend will decide the Pac-10 Tournament seedings – only Cal, the No. 1 seed, is locked in – with six teams trying to stay out of the Wednesday night game. We have a story for tomorrow’s S-R about WSU and that game and will spend most of tomorrow night, after the Oregon State game, trying to figure it out even further. Two things we know: WSU wins two this weekend and is free of the play-in game; it loses two and is assured a spot. Read on for more.

Primer for Chiefs at Kelowna

A little primer for tonight’s Chiefs’ game at Kelowna from our friend Doyle Potenteau at The Daily Courier, read below.

The Everett Herald took a look at the stretch run prior to the Silvertips win last night, when Shane Harper sent a franchise  record with his 39th goal.

F Todd Kennedy of the Tri-City Americans has been suspended for seven games for his high hit on Portland Winterhawks D Eric Doyle on Feb. 23. Kennedy, who already has sat out four games, was given a charging major on the play. Doyle has a concussion and is out indefinitely. In fact, there is some question as to whether he will play again this season. This is the harshest suspension delivered by Richard Doerksen, the WHL’s vice-president, hockey, this season. Kennedy missed the game Spokane won 5-2 on Saturday but will be back before their two meetings next week. The Americans were without G Drew Owsley (concussion) when they met the Portland Winterhawks on Tuesday night in the Rose Garden. Owsley was injured Saturday in a collision with Spokane F Blake Gal. That means the Americans will be riding G Alex Pechurskiy for a bit and he was up to the task, making 51 stops in a 5-1 win at Portland on Tuesday.

4A girls: LC falls 51-49

Lewis and Clark led 49-41 with 3:51 remaining, but Issaquah rallied, taking advantage of three turnovers to trip the Tigers

More later..

The Seattle Times is doing live updates from the boys and girls tournaments. Click here to check it out.

Day after Cal State-Bakersfield

Back with the day-after post following Gonzaga’s 78-59 (it wasn’t that close) win over Cal State-Bakersfield.

The links: S-R gamer, S-R photos and A.P.

The rest below.

4A: G-Prep boys roll

Gonzaga Prep cruised past the Auburn Trojans 65-33 Wednesday morning.

Click the tab below for more. And the Seattle Times has minute-by-minute updates. Check out the link in the comments.


Wednesday morning WSU post


COUGARS

I had written an entirely different lead-in for this blog post, one that I felt was just the right blend of humor and newsworthy notes. Then I re-read it. The humor wasn’t humorous enough, the news wasn’t newsy enough. So we deleted it. Instead we can offer you links and a couple thoughts, so read on.

State 4A feature, notebook

UPDATED: Wednesday morning

Click the tab below to read an unedited State 4A feature and a state notebook.

I’m headed to the Tacoma Dome for the Gonzaga Prep boys’ breakfast opener. Here are some links:

Seattle Times: 4A boys capsules.

Seattle Times: 4A girls capsules.

Tacoma News Tribune: 4A girls capsules.

Tacoma News Tribune: 4A boys capsules.

Zags send seniors out with easy win

Gonzaga made quick work of Cal State-Bakersfield, leading by 28 at half and 37 early in the second half before settling for a 78-59 victory Tuesday night, sending seniors Matt Bouldin, Chris Pontarolo-Maag and Will Foster out with a victory in their final home game.

Bouldin led the way with 15 points. Foster had six points and ‘P-Maag’ scored his first basket of the season.

Read on for my unedited game story and check back in the morning for a day-after post.

WSU’s Tuesday afternoon report


COUGARS

With the trip to Oregon looming this weekend, Washington State coach Ken Bone held his usual teleconferences today, talking about last week, this week and the Pac-10 tourney in another week. For more on what he had to say, along with a practice report, read on.

Interesting weekend ahead for women

A nice week coming up for women’s basketball. Idaho’s game on Wednesday is on ESPNU, 8 p.m. tipoff and on Saturday afternoon Eastern Washington tries to add to its historic season. The Eagles, assured of a share of their first Big Sky title, try to win it outright - and the host role for the league tournament next weekend. That’s the subject for this week’s women’s notebook (extended post). Then Gonzaga heads to the West Coast tournament, patiently awaiting the first two rounds to see who emerges from the first two rounds for their semifinal game Sunday morning. The title game is on ESPNU on Monday - but it’s at noon.

Gonzaga is up to No. 17 in both polls - and still considered a bubble team at best in ESPN’s bracketology, (and story) and still headed to Stanford (along with EWU) in the projections. I think Gonzaga’s in, but considering the numbers the Bulldogs put up against league foes, it would be best to leave nothing to chance. The Realtime RPI bracket is sending GU to Norman, Okla, as a No. 6, which is quite complimentary, and a possible second-round rematch with Texas A&M while EWU would go play Tennessee. The problem with that - no Oklahoma at Oklahoma ain’t gonna happen. Realtime has Gonzaga’s RPI at 31 and Strength of Schedule at 121, which is impressive considering their two “victims” last weekend are 302 and 304. However, Sagarin RPI has GU at 21, but Santa Clara and USF are 273 and 280, respectively. (When in doubt, go with NCAA RPI, which dropped GU four spots to 34 after 31 and 48 point wins. However, USF went from 301 to 298 after losing to the Zags and Portland, Santa Clara fell from 300 to 301.) In other words, ignore it all.

 Also, Tennessee junior Angie Bjorklund (U-Hi) earned first team All-SEC honors and while Lady Vols coach Pat Summitt may never be pleased, her team still rebounded from last year’s disappointment to win the SEC without a senior on the roster.

Chiefs Johnson honored

Spokane Chiefs Tyler Johnson has beennamed the Western Hockey League Player of the Month for February after scoring 24 points (including 10 goals) as the Chiefs went 11-2.

For more information on Johnson and the Chiefs, read the extended entry.

Eags will open 2010 football season at Nevada

Eastern Washington announced Tuesday morning that it will open its 2010 college football season on Thursday, Sept. 2, in Reno, where the Eagles will face Nevada.

EWU was originally going to open the season against Oregon State on Sept. 4, but that meeting was postponed to enable OSU the opportunity to play Texas Christian that same weekend at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

You can get more details on the change, and check out future EWU schedules here.

 

Eastern extends Earlywine’s contract

Eastern Washington’s athletic director Bill Chaves announced Tuesday morning that the school has extended the contract of Kirk Earlywine, the Eagles’ third-year head men’s basketball coach.

You can read more here.

State 4A boys and girls tourneys

UPDATED: Tuesday, 10 a.m.

I’ll be posting a 4A feature and state notebook tonight when I arrive in Tacoma.

Continue the conversation about the tournaments.

Quality, not quantity, for WSU’s Tuesday


COUGARS

What were we doing? Oh ya, talking Washington State basketball. Well, not much to add this morning, but we did find some interesting items to share on the link, so read on.

Trio await GU Senior Night

Back with the final post of the day (I think), and this one is about Gonzaga’s three seniors, who will play in their last game at the McCarthey Athletic Center tomorrow.

Read on below for an unedited article that will run in Tuesday’s S-R.

Also, a quick note from today’s WCC coaches’ conference call. Portland’s Eric Reveno said senior guard Nik Raivio (strained Achilles’) won’t play in the WCC Tournament.

“It’s just taking it’s time (to heal),” Reveno said of Raivio, younger brother of ex-Zag Derek Raivio. “He’s working really hard. My heart goes out to him. As a senior you keep thinking this is the week he turns the corner.”

Reveno said it’s possible Raivio could play if Portland advances to a post-season tournament.

More on Vandersloot, Gonzaga awards

When Kelly Graves took his turn on the West Coast Conference pre-tournament conference call he was asked to comment about all the honors his team swept.

Not surprisingly he couldn’t say enough about his players but on his fifth Coach of the Year award he joked, “When you get as heavy as me and as bald as me they feel sorry for you.”

How else to you respond to the embarassment of riches, both in talent and awards?

Joining Graves with more hardware are Player of the Year Courtney Vandersloot (21, pictured above), All-WCC Heather Bowman (30) and Vivian Frieson, honorable mention Tiffany Shives (34) and Newcomer of the Year Katelan Redmon. The unedited version of the story I filed for tomorrow’s paper is below.

More on Bouldin, WCC awards

As promised, here’s an expanded version of the All-WCC awards and the major individual awards that were announced Monday afternoon. One correction to the previous post: Elias Harris was newcomer of the year (not freshman).

Read on for an unedited article.

Also, Gonzaga stayed at No. 18 in the A.P. rankings and moved up one spot to No. 14 in ESPN/USA Today. More here.

GU women dominate WCC awards

All kinds of deja vu for the Gonzaga women and the West Coast Conference post-season honors.

Courtney Vandersloot repeats as MVP, Vandersloot, Heather Bowman and Vivian Frieson repeat as first-team selections, Kelly Graves is Coach of the Year for the fifth time in 10 seasons, Katelan Redmon is Newcomer of the Year and Tiffany Shives is honorable mention.

And those are some pretty significant numbers for Gonzaga: Bowman is only the third player to be all-league four times, Vandersloot is only the third player to repeat at MVP, Graves is the first five-time winner.

About what you’d expect from a team that has moved into 17th in the AP poll (my vote below) after only the third perfect season in the WCC, and second by Gonzaga, which is riding a 14-game winning streak..

Check back later for the expanded story. We’ve got an interview with Graves in about an hour and hopefully Vandersloot will be available.

 

Bouldin named WCC player of year

Gonzaga senior guard Matt Bouldin was named the WCC player of the year, the league announced Monday afternoon.

GU’s Elias Harris was selected freshman of the year and Mark Few was chosen coach of the year. Saint Mary’s center Omar Samhan was voted defensive player of the year.

Bouldin, Harris and Steven Gray were first-team All-WCC selections. Bouldin has been on the first team the last three seasons. The rest of the first team: Portland’s T.J. Campbell and Robin Smeulders; San Francisco’s Dior Lowhorn; Saint Mary’s Mickey McConnell and Samhan; and Loyola Marymount’s Vernon Teel and Drew Viney.

Bouldin, the versatile 6-5 guard from Highlands Ranch, Colo., is averaging a career-high 16 points and 4.1 assists per game this season.

Joining Harris on the All-freshman team: Saint Mary’s Matthew Dellavedova, LMU’s Ashley Hamilton, San Diego’s Chris Manresa and Santa Clara’s Robert Smith.

Check back later for an expanded article on the All-WCC awards and a feature story on GU’s upcoming Senior Night.

D3 bracket: Whits open at home

The Whitworth men’s basketball team drew a first-round bye in the NCAA Division III Tournament bracket and will host the winner of the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps at Chapman game that will take place on Thursday night.

The Pirates will play that winner on Saturday. You can read more below in the unedited reaction story that will appear in Tuesday morning’s S-R, and you can click here for the entire bracket.

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