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Eastern Aaa Tourney Has Different Look

Chris Derrick And Dave Trimmer S Staff writer

The Eastern AAA regional tournament won’t look the same as when the Greater Spokane League last hosted it in 1994.

First, when the event moved to the Tri-Cites for two years, the sponsor changed from Evans Craven & Lackie law firm of Spokane to Lamb-Weston.

More importantly, the schedule is changing. Now the championship games on Saturday night at Eastern Washington University are at the same time as the critical third-place, winner-to-state games at Gonzaga University. The girls play at 6 p.m. and the boys at 8 p.m.

Because the teams in the third-place game have to play a loser-out contest in the morning, the finale game used to be after the championships. The change was necessary because EWU needed to save a block of time (2-6 p.m.) in case either Eagles team needed to play a Big Sky game.

Another change is all Friday night semifinals are at EWU, alternating girls and boys. Previously, the girls games were at GU. The boys and girls loser-out games are at GU.

Stretch run

The top two teams in the GSL during the regular season are guaranteed berths in the regional, although they play the district tournament for regional seeding.

The Shadle Park and Ferris boys and Central Valley and Mead girls have the regional spots locked. If the teams remained tied for first, Shadle and CV are the No. 1 seeds in district because they won the matchups in the second round of league play.

The only ties played off are for second and sixth, the last district spot.

The Rogers girls could win a district spot for the first time since 1989 with one win or a Shadle loss.

Exploring the Frontier

The seven-team Frontier League will send two to the 16-team boys State AA basketball tournament in Tacoma, March 12-15.

Washington has 81 boys AA teams. The Frontier, with less than 9 percent of that total, has been awarded 12.5 percent of the berths.

This can’t sit well with the 13-team Mid-Valley League, which will also send two to state. Through the end of January, Mid-Valley members Ephrata, Prosser, West Valley (Yakima), Selah and Ellensburg (9-4) were all playing better than .690 ball.

Cheney junior Anna Getz is 50 points shy of 1,000 career points after scoring 22 last Saturday.

Micah Lundberg, the second-leading scorer for Riverside’s boys, has missed five games with a knee injury and will not return this season.

Lundberg suffered the injury during a practice. He played four Frontier games and averaged 11 points.

Trivia time

Lakeside boosters are asking if any other NEA school has produced league champs in boys and girls basketball and wrestling in the same season, as the Eagles have done this winter. Lakeside athletic director Glen Payne said he doesn’t recall such an accomplishment in his 30-plus years.

Lakeside junior and NEA scoring leader Brianne Jolley sat out Saturday’s win over Freeman and is expected to miss Friday’s league-ender against Medical Lake.

B landmarks

LaCrosse-Washtucna’s boys had quite a week, wrapping up a perfect Whitman County League season while watching seniors Clint Ledbetter and Troy Nealey reach 1,000 career points.

Speaking of Whitman stars, Tricia Lamb of St. John-Endicott is 97 points shy of 2,000 for her career. Lamb, however, missed two free throws with 1 second left last Friday in SJE’s 43-42 loss to Tekoa-Oakesdale to decide the league crown.

B tournament changes

State B boys and girls semifinals, March 7 at the Arena, will be held concurrently this year, at 7 and 8:30. Last year the girls played at 5 and 6:30, the boys at 8 and 9:30.

The switch will allow Friday morning’s sessions to start at 11 rather than 9.

In another change, girls will play on the championship floor all day Wednesday. Boys used the floor for the entirety of the 1996 tourney.

, DataTimes

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