It’s going to sound strange, but first-year Mt. Spokane girls basketball coach David Pratt thought he had the makings of something special after spending six weeks with his team last summer.
“In all honesty, I envisioned this,” Pratt said of earning a trip to Tacoma. “I told them ‘you have every opportunity to get there. You’ll have to go through the fire a little bit and come together.’ I knew they had it in them.”
And Pratt gives a big nod to the Greater Spokane League for preparing the Wildcats for the postseason.
“We used the games against 4A teams to get battle tested,” Pratt said. “Central Valley and Lewis and Clark are obviously the pinnacle of our league, and we want to get to that pinnacle. They helped us prepare.”
The Wildcats (14-10) will open the State 3A tournament against a team on the same level as CV and LC. Mt. Spokane faces Bellevue (25-0) on Thursday. Tipoff is at 3:45 p.m.
So what impressed Pratt back in the summer?
“I learned that they’re very motivated and hard working,” he said. “They love the game and wanted to be coached and led. We developed a really close-knit group. These kids wanted it and wanted to put in the time and effort.”
The early league results didn’t show it. The Wildcats took some lumps and also endured some injuries.
“They had the skills we just needed to blend that all together,” Pratt said. “The pieces did come together.”
Along the way Mt. Spokane lost twice to 3A counterpart North Central, which suffered the loss of three-year starter and top player Megan Dean late in the regular season.
“Credit to North Central. They’re well coached and did a fantastic job,” Pratt said. “In all honesty, if Megan Dean doesn’t get hurt North Central would be right here with us.”
Senior guard Jordan Smith is amazed at how far Mt. Spokane has come this year.
“It’s like a Cinderella story,” Smith said. “I still haven’t come to the conclusion that this has happened. The key to us being successful is that the whole team has bought in. Our foundation is the family and atmosphere we have created.”
Pratt knows his players have their hands full against Bellevue.
“Our approach is we’re one of the eight teams at state and let’s go play,” Pratt said. “We’ll do everything in our ability to execute. We’ll enjoy the big stage and not worry about the other stuff. We’ll just go do our thing and see what happens.
“I’m so proud of these kids. We’re having so much fun together. I’m blessed to be around them every day.”
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