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Hoops ended on the court, not in the mind

Thu., March 26, 2009

The basketball season ended last week. But for someone who became enamored with the sport early and once wrote a job application letter to become a professional basketball player (fat chance) as a writing assignment for my fifth-grade teacher and future Hall of Fame University High basketball coach Marv Ainsworth, I can never get enough:

•The Seattle Times and Tacoma News-Tribune announced their All-State teams. Shadle Park’s Anthony Brown made the first team on both. Lewis and Clark’s Jeneva Anderson was named first team on the TNT list and second team with the Times. LC’s Sarah Kliewer was second team on the Tacoma team.

The Times also selected Northwest Christian’s Chase Ramey and Ray Ricks, and Colfax’s Kayla Johnson and Corey Baerlocher as 2B boys and girls players and coaches of the year, respectively. Colton’s Clark Vining was 1B girls coach of the year.

•It was simply coincidence, but did you notice that Rogers and Shadle drew eventual finalists Columbia River and champ Franklin as their first-round opponents? Call it the “unluck” of the draw.

•During a break in games at the State 4A basketball tournament, freelance sportswriter Doug Drowley came up with a proposal in the event school officials opt to get away from the 16-team format.

The idea he bounced off me was to put not two, but three tournaments – the 4A, 3A and 2A – all in the Tacoma Dome at one time.

He drew out a floor plan that would put courts perpendicular on each side of the main court, for three simultaneous eight-team events.

“The goal,” Drowley later amplified via e-mail, “is to bring back the excitement of the state basketball tournaments, provide a spotlight for the state’s best and create a format that ensures the best possible basketball for fans and reduce operating costs.”

There would be a total of eight games, alternating girls and boys, on each court Wednesday and Thursday. The second day would include semifinals and consolation games.

Friday, teams would play for third, fourth, fifth and sixth places. The finalists would get that day off.

“It would afford championship teams the opportunity at a Friday morning run-through on the center, championship court,” Drowley wrote.

Saturday’s six finals would begin at 10 a.m. and conclude with an 8:30 p.m. game.

He theorized that it would cut expenses by more than half, saving on rent in particular.

A tournament like that would be similar to state football and wrestling, in which the championships in all classifications are determined on a weekend in the Dome.

The idea of changing the format has been broached on the West Side this year by the Tacoma News-Tribune’s Doug Pacey. Talking with Gonzaga Prep’s Mike Haugen following the Bullpups’ fourth-place victory, Pacey asked him what he thought of changing the existing tournament.

Haugen was against it, having experienced smaller tournaments in Montana. Having watched it change from 16 teams, to four teams, back to eight, then 12 and 16 again, I concur. There’s something special about the four-day tournament.

Economic reality, however, may force a different format, and Drowley’s idea intrigues.

Locals make football game

Rosters have been released for this summer’s 4A/3A Washington State Football Coaches Association All-State game this summer in Everett.

Local players on the East team are Central Valley quarterback Blake Bledsoe; Lewis and Clark receiver/defensive back Vaughn Kapiko and defensive end/tight end Chris Mastin; Ferris WR/DB Aaron Roberts and lineman Elliott Bosch; and East Valley running back Nick Bellomy and OL/LB Nate Guthrie.

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