The “regional” round of state is this weekend with 16 area boys teams and 14 girls teams involved in either a protected seeding game or an elimination game to reach the “round of 12” at state venues in Tacoma, Yakima and Spokane.
The Greater Spokane League has been one of the premier girls basketball leagues in the state since its inception, producing 18 state champions, twice as many state placers, hundreds of college athletes – including several dozen Division I players – and even more than its fair share of professionals.
Tuesday marked the first state basketball games in Ridgeline school history. While both teams played in elimination games, the girls had the luxury of playing at home, while the boys were on the opposite side of the state.
Gonzaga Prep had split a pair of games with Chiawana this season already, falling in the first game of the season but getting revenge in the first round of the district tournament last week. The grudge match, Saturday at Gonzaga Prep, carried the winner-to-state, loser-out pressure that two teams ranked in the top 10 in state should not have had to bear.
Even though both teams had already claimed a berth to state, Saturday’s meeting between Mt. Spokane and North Central still meant a lot. At stake was the district title, a potential protected seed to next week’s regional round, and perhaps, pecking order in the Greater Spokane League 3A ranks.