A GRIP ON SPORTS
There is so much ground to cover, let's get right at it. Read on.
• We're No. 1. There are a few local basketball teams, including one at the major college level, who can make that claim this morning. The high school squads from Mead, Pullman, St. George's, Reardan and Colton can make it knowing full well their season is over and no one can take it from them. The Gonzaga Bulldogs know their season is really just beginning and they will have to claw and scratch and battle to keep the index finger up in the air for the next month. Still, today is a day to enjoy the ascension. So for all those winners out there, enjoy the moment, you've earned it.
• Gonzaga: The Kennel was full yesterday afternoon, with media from all over to the GU fans wanting to honor their seniors. The only thing lacking was a quality opponent. Not that Portland didn't try. But no one in the WCC was going to be up to the task of ruining a day like Saturday for the Zags. Jim Meehan was one of the group jammed into McCarthey and he filed this story and post-game blog. He also has a day-after post. … John Blanchette was also there and his column gives some perspective to GU earning the right to be No. 1 in the nation. … There is also this photo story from Dan Pelle. … Bud Withers stopped by to chronicle the Zags journey to the top ranking. … The San Diego Tribune columnist has decided, though Bill Grier is a great guy, it's time for a change at USD, who defeated Pepperdine yesterday. … St. Mary's won it what may have been Matthew Dellavedova's final home game – baring an NIT invitation. It was also the first game since the awful NCAA had the temerity to penalize the gritty little Gaels. … BYU bounced back with a close win at Loyola Marymount. … Finally, not sure where to put this feature from Jim Allen on basketball players and tatoos, so we'll link it here.
• Washington State: The Cougars finally return to the basketball court – the break seems almost as long as the one the football team has been on – today when they face UW in Seattle. Christian Caple will be there, but first he has this morning post and an advance.
• EWU: The Eagles' season will more than likely end with the regular season as there is little chance they'll make the Big Sky tourney after yesterday's home loss to North Dakota. Jim Allen was there and has this story. … Portland State won't be in the post season either.
• Idaho: The Vandals will, however, despite suffering through an awful February. They got back on the winning track Saturday and Josh Wright has a few thoughts in this blog post. … Utah State is slowly sinking in the WAC. … Denver solidified the No. 2 spot with a win over New Mexico State.
• Whitworth: The Pirates struggled a bit but held on to defeat Redlands in the first round of the NCAA Division III tournament. Steve Christilaw was in attendance and filed this game story.
• NIC: The home-court advantage didn't prove to be enough down the stretch as Southern Idaho defeated the Cardinals. Dave Trimmer's game story explains what happened and how NIC is hoping for an at-large berth to the playoffs.
• Chiefs: Another road game in Victoria, another big win. The Chiefs kept a slim hold on fourth in their division even though Tri-City also won, defeating Seattle. … There are some cracks showing in Portland's façade right now.
• Preps: Where to begin? Being the selfish sort, I guess I'll begin with my story. It covers St. George's 2B boys title victory over defending champion Colfax. Yesterday I questioned whether the Dragons could overcome the loss of starting guard Mark Kenney, thinking the loss of a glue guy who averaged almost 10 points in the previous four encounters with the Bulldogs would be too much. I was wrong, very wrong. … Chris Derrick pulled double duty, covering Colton's 1B girls win and then turning around a couple hours later and chronicling the Reardan girls' 2B win. He also ran down a few quotes for me after the late game. Thanks. … Mike Vlahovich covered the other game at the Arena, Sunnyside Christian's win over Neah Bay in 1B boys. By the way, I did a little research recently, counting the winners of the State B title since 1978, when a girls championship began. In the time since, including last night, there have been 86 titles contested, counting boys and girls and, recently, 1B and 2B. Only 10 of those titles have been won by schools from the West Side of the mountains. That's 11.6 percent of the championships from schools that comprise more than 50 percent of the schools in the classifications. … We also had a photo story from the arena. … Mead won the girls 4A title in dominating fashion and Greg Lee was there to file this story. … Greg also has a story on the CV boys (which includes some other boys action) and the Gonzaga Prep and U-Hi girls. … Pullman took home its first 2A boys title. … We also want to pass along links to the Seattle Times' coverage of the local teams in the 4A and 3A tournaments, including Mead's title.
• Mariners: So I guess the real question right now is simple: Are these Mariners for real or just a mirage (I almost wrote “Memorex” but that commercial was so long ago no one remembers it, or even cassette tapes)? The M's keep pounding the ball and winning games. It might just be a mirage because Franklin Gutierrez is healthy and playing a part. Or it could be real because Felix has yet to pitch.
• Sounders: We better hope these Sounders aren't real. The new-look club couldn't score – despite some great chances – and lost its MLS opener at home 1-0 to Montreal. … To clear space for a possible striker, the Sounders officially cut ties with midfielder Christian Tiffert.
• It's been a long time since I've seen the clock click over to 1 a.m. without having been asleep yet. It happened last night following our sojourn at the Arena covering St. George's state title win over Colfax. A late game, a bunch of Diet Coke to keep me awake through the end and an inability to come down from the deadline rush conspired to keep me awake about eight hours past my usual bedtime. Maybe I'll make it a habit. Until later …