Shadle Park’s boys basketball team insisted on taking the hard road to state, and now the Highlanders are facing a hard road at state.
The Highlanders (20-5), who lost to Rogers in the Region 3A championship game and had to come back in consolation to earn their second-straight state trip, have drawn top-ranked Franklin in the 9 a.m. state opener Wednesday at the Tacoma Dome.
Both Shadle and the once-beaten Quakers have dropped down in classification this year. Franklin was fifth in State 4A in 2008 and returns virtually its entire lineup. The Highlanders were 1-2 at state last year and are experienced as well. They were ranked as high as third in the state this year.
Friday’s loss made for a tough state opener.
“That’s the way it goes,” coach Tim Gaebe said. “We’ve got to play teams like that sooner or later. It might as well be sooner. This could be the best thing for us, playing them right out of the chute.”
Rogers (12-13), making its first state trip in more than 30 years and only its fifth appearance in school history, is still on cloud nine following its regional title. The Pirates play at 7 p.m. Wednesday against Columbia River, ranked as high as sixth in various state polls.
“We’re pleased with where we’re at,” Pirates coach Tim Wood said. “We’d rather play later in the day. I don’t know a ton about Columbia River. All are tough teams no matter who you play.”
Shadle Park’s girls (19-5) are back at state for the first time since 2000 after Friday’s regional championship. They have been ranked among the state’s top 10. Their first opponent, at 5 p.m. Wednesday, is unranked Ferndale.
Clarkston’s boys and West Valley’s girls claimed the No. 1 Great Northern League berths to state, while Pullman’s boys and girls both came back to round out the league’s representatives.
The tournament, at the Yakima SunDome, also begins Wednesday.
The Bantams (15-8), led by Dustin McConnell and ranked 10th by the Associated Press, play unranked Sequim at 7:30 p.m. Pullman’s boys (17-7) face top-ranked Squalicum at 12:30.
The Eagles girls (18-5) are dominated by freshmen and sophomores. They came from third in league to win district and earn their second-straight state trip. They go against Burlington-Edison, ranked seventh by the AP, at 2 p.m.
Pullman (20-3), unbeaten in the GNL during the regular season and fourth at state last year, drew No. 2 Archbishop Murphy in the nightcap at 9.
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