Almira/Coulee-Hartline boys and girls basketball teams formed a state-qualifying twosome as they became among the first local teams to earn berths, in the Class 1B event in Yakima next week.
Other aspirants in the other classifications ramp up their bids during week-long district tournaments that began or resumed play on Monday.
The Warriors boys (18-4) play in the District 7 final Saturday against Curlew (14-8) for seeding following last weekend’s one-point thrillers that decided the two state spots. ACH beat Cusick 61-60. The Cougars upset Wellpinit (19-2) 67-66 to advance.
ACH girls (21-1) had through 2005 won five straight state trophies, including three finals appearances. They beat Cusick 67-53 for a state return and district finals berth against fellow Bi-County League team Sprague-Harrington (9-1) for state seeding. The Falcons won 58-52 over Curlew. The 2007 state champions returned to the Bi-County this year after a two-year stay in the Whitman County League. They’ve won six of their last seven games following a 3-9 start.
Seven different players had scored in double figures for Scott Isaak’s ACH boys. Freshman Derek Isaak, Kyle Tucker, Cody and Garrett Jess lead the pack. The girls of Ben Addink have lost only to 2B Colfax this year. Freshman Madeline Isaak, sophomores Sarah Gloyn and Nikki Osborne combine to score some 39 points per game.
Vying with Wellpinit and Cusick for the final boys state spots are Odessa and Inchelium. Wellpinit plays Inchelium at Riverside and Cusick and Odessa meet at Deer Park, both at 6:45 p.m. Thursday.
Columbia (17-4 following a district first-round upset loss to Curlew), plays Cusick at Deer Park while the Cougars play St. Michael’s for the other girls state berths at Riverside. Both start at 5 p.m. Thursday.
A switch was made to accommodate Cusick, keeping both teams at the same site.
•In District 9 1B boys, Rosalia (15-6) plays Touchet for the tourney championship and one state berth at 7:30 p.m. Friday. St. John-Endicott (15-3) and Colton (19-0) meet for the girls title and state berth at 6. Both games are in Endicott. Losers play Saturday against survivors of the losers’ bracket for the second berth.
Here’s a look at the other tournaments:
District 7 2B
Pairings for this week’s eight-team boys and girls tournaments at Mead and Mt. Spokane were decided in the Bi-County and Panorama league playoffs.
Half the games were played Monday. Today, Bi-County No. 1 Northwest Christian (22-0) boys play B-C No. 5 Liberty (9-13) at 5 p.m. following Panorama No. 2 Selkirk (14-7) vs. B-C No. 3 Reardan (12-11) at 3:30 p.m. at Mead.
Panorama No. 2 St. George’s girls (14-6) begin the day against Bi-County No. 3 Liberty (15-8) at noon, followed by B-C No. 1 Lind-Ritzville (16-8) vs. B-C No. 5 Reardan (11-11).
Tournaments run through Feb. 28 and qualify four teams of each gender to state.
District 9 2B
Pairings are set for the double-elimination tournaments that begin Friday at home sites.
In boys, Walla Walla Valley Academy (8-11) plays at Garfield-Palouse (17-3), Asotin (11-7) is at Waitsburg-Prescott (14-6), Dayton (9-10) is at Tekoa-Oakesdale (15-4) and Liberty Christian (17-3) plays host to tonight’s DeSales (5-14)-Pomeroy (2-18) victor.
In girls, Liberty Christian (4-16) is at Pomeroy (15-5), Asotin (8-11) is at DeSales (9-10), Waitsburg-Prescott (12-8) is at Garfield-Palouse (14-6) and Dayton (15-4) hosts either Walla Walla Valley Academy (1-18) or Tekoa-Oakesdale (10-9).
All games are 7 p.m.
The tournament continues Saturday in Colfax and next week it’s at Walla Walla Community College through Feb. 28.
District 8 4A
Tonight in double-elimination, the No. 1-seed Gonzaga Prep boys (18-2) are home against No. 4 Ferris (11-10), a 52-44 winner Monday over No. 5 Central Valley. Also, No. 2 Mead boys (11-9) play host to No. 3 Lewis and Clark (11-9). Both games are at 7:15 p.m.
No. 1 Lewis and Clark (20-0) girls entertain No. 4 University, a 49-41 winner Monday over No. 5 Gonzaga Prep. Also, No. 2 Mead (16-4) hosts No. 3 Central Valley (14-6). Both games are at 5:30 p.m. Games Thursday and Friday determine two regional qualifiers and will be played at the home gymnasiums of the highest seed.
District 8 3A
All four boys and girls teams have qualified for regional.
No. 1 Shadle Park (16-4) boys host Mt. Spokane (7-13) and No. 2 North Central (11-9) hosts Rogers (9-11), at 7:15.
No. 1 Shadle Park girls (15-5) hosts North Central (2-18) and No. 2 East Valley (10-10) hosts Mt. Spokane (7-13) at 5:30. Winners and losers play at the home of the highest seed to determine regional seeding.
District 7 1A
Regular Northeast A League season champions Freeman boys (18-1) and girls (19-0) play Wednesday at Mead, 8 and 6:30 p.m., against Lakeside (12-8) and Newport (14-8), respectively, for championships and top seeding to regionals.
Newport (10-9) and Chewelah (12-9) boys play Wednesday at 5 and Lakeside (12-8) and Kettle Falls (10-12) girls play at 3:30, also at Mead.
The tournament concludes Saturday.