Mike Arte got his wish Sunday.
It has nothing to do with the Gonzaga Prep girls basketball team’s quarterfinal opponent when the Bullpups return to action Thursday at the Hardwood Classic at the Tacoma Dome.
No, it had everything to do with the game time.
The Gonzaga Prep coach watched the draw on the WIAA webcast and saw when his team’s name was placed in the half of the bracket with the two latest game times – 7:15 and 9. G-Prep landed in the 7:15 slot.
“I like our time,” Arte said. “I didn’t want the 9 o’clock game time. The time we got is a normal time – a game time we’re used to.”
By the way, the defending State 4A champions – No. 1-ranked, 24-0 and winners of 47 in a row – face Bothell (20-5).
The team that finished ranked second in the final Associated Press poll, Inglemoor (23-1), is in the other half of the bracket and opens against Bellarmine Prep (22-2) of Tacoma.
If G-Prep wins its opener, it would face the winner of Walla Walla and Todd Beamer.
Todd Beamer (25-1) is considered the second-best team in the state and it is making its first appearance at the Tacoma Dome.
G-Prep is familiar with Walla Walla (21-3), having beaten the Blue Devils 52-46 in a subregional game. Walla Walla is making its first trip to state in 25 years.
Moses Lake (21-2) is in the other game in the bracket with Inglemoor. The Chiefs open against Skyview (20-3) of Vancouver at 5:30.
Arte is certain of one thing. His team will be ready come Thursday.
He knows his team can’t fly under the radar. They’re tied for the 11th-longest winning streak in state history and with three wins would move into a tie for eighth with Lakeside (Nine Mile Falls), Tekoa-Oakesdale and Cle Elum-Roslyn.
“We had a target on our back all year,” Arte said. “This has been a great life lesson. Everybody right from the start was saying how we’re supposed to be there (Tacoma). They’ve been saying that since November. Our girls have responded to that pressure. For 16-, 17- and 18-year old girls, I’ve been impressed. They’ve done a good job of handling that pressure. I’ve been checking my mailbox every day for the golden invitation. We had to earn our way in there.”
Returning starters Otiona Gildon, Laura Stockton, Lauren Weir and Oona Harrington experienced winning the title last year. This is the fourth trip to Tacoma for three-year starters Gildon, Stockton and Harrington.
“They’ve played in a lot of big games,” Arte said. “They understand that when the lights get bright what to do and what to expect.”
• The team with the longest win streak in state history, Colton’s girls, could reach 70 with three more wins.
They’re heavily favored to claim a seventh straight State 1B championship.
Colton (24-0) opens against Pateros (21-1) at the Spokane Arena on Thursday in a 2 o’clock matinee.
Republic (24-0) takes on Evegreen Lutheran (17-8) in the opener at 9 a.m.
• In the 1B boys, Cusick (16-9) takes on Seattle Lutheran (20-6) at 3:45 and Curlew (19-5) goes against Shorewood Christian (10-11) in the late game at 9.
• In the 2B girls, defending champ Colfax (22-3) faces White Swan (19-5) at 3:45 at the Arena. Colfax is the lone Northeast 2B team to advance from the regional round.
• In the 2B boys, Liberty (24-2) goes against Life Christian Academy (25-1) in the lunchtime game at 12:15. In the morning opener at 9, Northwest Christian (19-7) faces Auburn Adventist (22-2).
• In the 2A girls, East Valley (19-2) goes against unranked Sammamish (13-11) in the late game at the Yakima SunDome at 9.
• In the 2A boys, Clarkston (23-1) will be out to extend it to three years that a Great Northern League has captured the state title when the Bantams face Fife (16-9), an unranked team, at 2.
• In the 1A girls, Lakeside (22-1) of Nine Mile Falls takes on defending champ Lynden Christian (19-4) at 2 at the SunDome.
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