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The years roll by but prep playoffs remain as competitive

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Funny thing when you get into a Twitter spat with someone. They often times try to insult someone of my advancing years by exaggerating my age. Like, say, insinuating I'm 80 or something. Little do the youngsters know, when you get to these senior years, 80 starts to look really good. As in, "I hope I'm still around when I'm supposed to be 80."  Read on.

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• I felt like I was 80 last night. After boring everyone to death on the radio, I covered a high school basketball game. The character in "Dazed and Confused" had it wrong. High school kids don't stay the same age. They actually get younger. Or they at least seem that way as the gap in years grows. But the essence of the game, the competition, that's still the same. How points are scored, how defenses play, how the fans act, that all may change with the passing years, but the will to win doesn't. That was obvious last night as I watched Ferris High try to take down undefeated and second-ranked Richland in a regional game. The Bombers proved to be up to the test but that doesn't mean the will wasn't there – on both sides. Don't let anyone tell you different. High school athletes still work as hard – or harder – than they ever did. It still hurts as much to lose as it ever did. And the thrill of victory is still as sweet. You can see all of it in the faces of the players as the game goes on, as it winds down and when it is over. Check it out if you don't believe me. Even if it's been years since you've been to a game – either when you were in high school or your kids were – get out and see one. The admission price might shock you a bit – hey, inflation has hit everywhere – but the action on the court or field won't. It is still what you remember, even if your high school memories have grown a bit fuzzy. After all, turning 80 is a ... well, you know.

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• WSU: Kind of a quiet day in Cougarville yesterday. Remember when the Pac-10 used to play basketball games on Thursday and Saturday? Yep, I'm showing my age again. The Cougars aren't back on the court until Sunday, when they face the Oregon Ducks. Oregon, by the way, will be wearing throwback uniforms to its one NCAA title year, 1939 (pictured). Or when I was entering high school. ... Despite the lull, Jacob Thorpe has a morning post with links as well as a blog post from yesterday on former Cougar Ed Gayda being named to the Pac-12 Hall of Honor. I hate it that athletic director Bill Moos keeps nominating his classmates for these things. And yes, that is another joke. Moos is a lot older than that. ... Oregon is now becoming the team no one wants to play in the Pac-12 tournament. ... The WSU women couldn’t get the ball to go into the basket last night and as a result lost to Oregon State, 67-53. ... And that's it for today. Oh, wait. I guess I have to pass along the mailbag from ESPN.com's Pac-12 blog. It's a tradition like none other (and yes, I am ready for the Masters).

• Gonzaga: Jim Meehan returned to the blog yesterday with his day-after post covering the BYU defeat. Then he turned his eyes forward and wrote this piece on Gonzaga and the NCAA tournament. Yes, Jim is right. The Zags have yet to clinch a tournament spot, mainly because their resume isn't as highlighted by wins over strong non-conference foes as it usually is. But, really, if the Bulldogs play so poorly down the stretch as to put themselves on the NCAA bubble, then they really don't deserve a bid anyway, do they? ... BYU will hold senior night (not really) tonight missing one key element: seniors.

• Idaho: The Vandals will have senior day today and they do have a trio of seniors, including Stephen Madison. Josh Wright has more in this blog post.

• Whitworth: Not a good night for the Pirates in Portland as they were upset by Lewis & Clark, 73-70.

• Chiefs: The road was also cruel to the Chiefs as they lost 3-2 in Kootenay. ... Home, road, it doesn't matter to Portland. The Winterhawks won their 18th consecutive game, 4-2 over Kamloops. ... Everett got past Seattle, 2-1.

• Preps: There is a lot going on as the winter prep season winds down. Over in Tacoma, Greg Lee is watching dozens of wrestling matches – seemingly all at once – and has stories from the 4A, 3A and the rest of the state tournaments. ... In 4A basketball, both the Gonzaga Prep girls and boys won last night, with the girls moving on with a 53-41 win over Chiawana – Dave Trimmer has the story and Colin Mulvany the photographs – and the boys staying alive with 64-39 rout of the same school. Ferris will host the G-Prep boys tonight after falling to Richland 81-64 while the Central Valley girls will travel to Pasco after eliminating Walla Walla 63-52. ... In 3A, Jim Allen watched as the University boys got past Mt. Spokane, 63-49. The Titans will host Shadle Park, a 63-60 winner at Kennewick, tonight, while Mt. Spokane travels to Kennewick. In the girls, both U-Hi and Shadle Park lost so they will face-off in a loser-out game tonight at University. ... We also have roundups of the other boys and girls playoff action. ... Over in Idaho, Coeur d'Alene will play for the state title once again tonight, facing a Rocky Mountain team that rallied from a 17-point second-half deficit to defeat Lewiston. ... The Timberlake girls will play for the 3A title. ... Mead gymnasts did their best at the state tournament. It wasn't enough to win a title.

• Seahawks: It seems NFL fans can't get enough of the league's scouting combine, though the Hawks' Doug Baldwin doesn't seem like much of a fan of the process. ... Pete Carroll loved everything about the last football season. ... It's not official yet, but it's just a matter of time before Sidney Rice is a former Seattle Seahawk. ... Take our coach, please.

• Mariners: There are a lot of roster holes but Jack Zduriencik says he doesn't anticipate any more big moves just yet in spring training. Really? You think Dustin Ackley is good enough to be your everyday left fielder? The outfield is good enough? Actually, no. But he's going to wait to move. ... A healthy Scott Baker thinks he's good enough to join the M's rotation.

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• That's it for this fine Saturday. By the time we get back together here again, we all could be under the effects of a Snowmageddon. We'll see. Until then ...




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Vince Grippi





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