The Central Valley girls basketball team, reigning State 4A champs and winners of 52 straight games, are heavily favored to repeat.
So much so that one media person dubbed the tournament in the Tacoma Dome this week as the Central Valley Invitational.
The Bears (24-0) open play Thursday at 3:45 against the winner of the Woodinville (19-4)/Bellarmine Prep (23-2) loser-out opener Wednesday.
The Gonzaga Prep boys, meanwhile, proved they belonged among the best teams last year at state last year.
The Bullpups (23-1) return a more mature team. G-Prep plays Thursday at 2 against the winner of Wednesday’s game between Inglemoor (13-11) and Enumclaw (15-11).
Girls: If you try to rate the field based on the WIAA’s RPI system, CV would be considered the fifth-best team in the field.
And that’s totally ridiculous. The Bears, rated fifth in the last RPI, has beaten three teams ranked ahead of them – Sunnyside last Saturday, Moses Lake (51-39) and Kentlake (53-29), which bumped to No. 1 when previous No. 1 Bothell failed to get out of its district tournament.
CV didn’t need more motivation to repeat. But the fact that the Bears couldn’t rate higher than fifth in the RPI certainly has stoked additional fire.
Joining CV waiting for an opponent in the quarterfinals are Kentlake (23-4), Glacier Peak (22-1), which was seeded fourth, and Moses Lake (20-3).
Glacier Peak and Moses Lake are in the opposite half bracket from CV.
Odds are CV and Moses Lake will be playing for the title Saturday.
Sunnyside (18-3) and Camas (16-8) have the best chances of advancing from loser-out openers Wednesday.
Boys: Federal Way (24-2) has won the last two state titles. While it is the favorite there are more contenders this year.
Count G-Prep as one of the challenges. The Bullpups finished with a No. 2 RPI behind Union (19-4).
Other teams to watch are Curtis (21-4) and Richland (16-4).
The Bullpups played well enough to win in their Saturday regional game. But coach Matty McIntyre said his team will spend its next three practices working on fundamentals.
McIntyre said his team must shoot better and be more aware defensively at Tacoma.
If G-Prep plays like it has most of the season, the Bullpups could find themselves playing for the title come Saturday.
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