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Sports >  High school sports

State basketball preview: Eastern Washington well represented at state tourneys

Central Valley’s Lacie Hull  stops a shot by Lewis and Clark guard Dominique Arquette  during the District 8 4A title game on Feb. 16 in the Spokane Arena. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Central Valley’s Lacie Hull stops a shot by Lewis and Clark guard Dominique Arquette during the District 8 4A title game on Feb. 16 in the Spokane Arena. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

Eastern Washington has produced some good prep basketball this season. And the best stuff is still to come.

After regional play last weekend, the Spokane region sent 27 teams to the state tournaments, including 12 straight into the quarterfinals.

It’s not just the quantity of teams from the area that are still playing. Spokane brings the sizzle too, as the city boasts the No. 1-seeded 4A boys and girls teams – both undefeated.

The Central Valley girls team is on a mission to correct its only flaw last year: a quarterfinal loss to Bellarmine Prep. It’s the only loss for the Bears in the past three seasons.

Coach Freddie Rehkow’s team is ranked No. 2 in the nation by USA Today, with three players signed at Division I programs next season – reigning state Gatorade player of the year Lexie Hull and twin sister Lacie Hull are on their way to Stanford and forward Hailey Christopher is an Idaho Vandal recruit.

Meanwhile, the Gonzaga Prep boys feature Gonzaga commit Anton Watson and fellow junior Jamaari Jones and are ranked No. 12 nationally by USA Today.

There are seven undefeated boys and girls teams in the state, and five of them play in Eastern Washington, including 1A Freeman (22-0) and 2B St. George’s (24-0) boys and 1A Medical Lake girls (22-0).

The area has two more No. 1 seeds: 2A East Valley (20-1) girls and 1B Colton (23-1) girls.

If you’re heading to Tacoma or Yakima, here’s your guide to area teams that still have a chance for a state title.

Boys

4A: Tacoma Dome

(No. 1 seed) Gonzaga Prep

Record: 23-0, 14-0; Greater Spokane League champion, District 8 champ

When: Thursday at 5:30 p.m., quarterfinal

Regional: Defeated No. 8 seed Sunnyside 80-44

Key players: F Anton Watson (22.1 ppg; 8.5 rpg; GSL MVP), F Jamaari Jones (12.7 ppg, 6.0 rpg; first-team All-GSL), G Sam Lockett (second-team All-GSL).

Outlook: Beat Richland 64-57 in state third-place game last season and 56-53 in this season’s district title game. Could have a semifinal showdown with the Bombers this year. Bullpups have spent all season No.1 in the state RPI and are ranked No. 12 in the nation by USA Today.

Quote: “We have had a very successful season and will have to beat three really good teams to win it. As always, the winning team will need to catch a break or two and execute well to be successful. I am looking forward to spending time with a team that is very close and plays for each other. We are excited for another opportunity at State.” – coach Matty McIntyre

(9) Lewis and Clark

Record: 17-8, 10-4 GSL; District 7 4A third seed

When: Wednesday at 9 p.m. vs. No. 8 seed Sunnyside

Regional: Beat No. 16 seed Bellarmine Prep 59-34

Key players: F Naje Smith, sr., PG Griffin Effenberger, jr., G Jonny Love, sr., F Xavier Guillory, jr.

Outlook: 12-3 in 2018, with two losses to Gonzaga Prep and first-round loss in districts to Chiawana. Rebounded to win next three, including 68-51 win over Ferris, to earn district’s third seed. Naje Smith scored 30 points with 19 rebounds and four blocked shots in regional win.

3A: Tacoma Dome

(15) Mt. Spokane

Record: 17-6, 10-4 GSL; District 7 3A champion

When: Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. vs. No. 2 seed O’Dea

Regional: Beat No. 10 seed Marysville-Pilchuck 72-67

Key players: G Jerry Twenge, jr. (16 ppg, second-team All-GSL), G JT Smith, jr. (11 ppg, honorable mention All-GSL), C Tanner Brooks, jr. (7 ppg, honorable mention All-GSL), F Tyson Degenhart, fr. (12 ppg)

Outlook: Earns tough first-round draw against No. 2 seed O’Dea (23-3), which was upset at regionals by No. 7 seed Rainier Beach. The winner will play No. 1 seed Garfield on Thursday.

Quote: “I really believe in our team. If the boys play with confidence, I see no reason why we won’t be playing for a trophy on Saturday.” – coach David Wagenblast

2A: Yakima SunDome

(6) Pullman

Record: 19-2, 12-0 Great Northern League; District 7 champion

When: Wednesday at 3:45 p.m. vs. No. 11 seed Renton

Regional: Lost to No. 3 seed Foss 56-44

Key players: G Jake Wells, jr. (GNL MVP), F Zane Wilson, sr., F Cole Hawes, sr. (second-team All-GNL), G Isaiah Strong, so. (first-team All-GNL)

Outlook: Last year went in as No. 3 seed and lost to No. 13 seed Foss 84-69 in quarters. Foss went on to win state title. Coach Craig Brantner named GNL coach of the year.

1A: Yakima SunDome

(2) Freeman

Record: 22-0, 14-0 Northeast A; District 7 champion

When: Thursday at 2 p.m., quarterfinal

Regional: Beat No. 7 seed Cascade Christian 57-42

Key players: G Michael Coumont, sr. (19.1 ppg, 4.5 rpg; NEA MVP), F Quin Hopkins, sr. (9.8 ppg, 6.5 rpg; second-team all-NEA), F Jackson Clark, sr. (10.6 ppg, 7.5 rpg; first-team all-NEA), G Dylan Oja, jr. (12.3 ppg; first-team all-NEA), PG Rhys McVay, sr. (5.1 assists, 7.1 ppg; second-team all-NEA),

Outlook: Undefeated Freeman was state runner-up the past two seasons and could face league opponent Newport in the second round. The Scotties own a pair of wins over the Grizzlies: 55-43 on Dec. 8 and 77-72 on Jan. 16.

Quote: “We want to get it done this time. With all that’s happened since last season, we’d love to get it done for the whole community for a lot of reasons.” – coach Marty Jessett

(8) Newport

Record: 17-6, 11-3 Northeast A; won crossover

When: Wednesday at 2 p.m. vs. No. 16 seed King’s

Regional: Lost to No. 1 seed Lynden Christian 91-71

Key players: Danny Bradbury, jr. (first-team all-NEA), Koa Pancho, sr. (first-team All-NEA), Owen Leslie, sr. (first-team All-NEA)

Outlook: Lost in quarterfinal last year and finished sixth. With first-round win would face undefeated league opponent Freeman.

Girls

4A: Tacoma Dome

(1) Central Valley

Record: 24-0, 14-0 Greater Spokane League; District 8 champion

When: Thursday at 10:30 a.m., quarterfinal

Regional: Beat No. 8 seed Camas 54-17

Key players: F Lexie Hull, sr. (21.2 ppg, 8 .6 rpg; GSL MVP, reigning Gatorade POY, Stanford commit), G Lacie Hull, sr. (9.6 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 4.8 asst, 3 steals; all-GSL first team, Stanford commit), P Hailey Christopher, sr. (9 ppg, 4 rpg; all-GSL first-team, Idaho commit).

Outlook: In search of second title in three seasons. Ranked No. 2 in the nation by USA Today and have been No. 1 in the state RPI almost all season. CV has one loss in the past three years – a 56-55 defeat to Bellarmine Prep in last year’s quarterfinals. The Bears have played some of the toughest teams in Washington and Idaho (including wins over Idaho 5A State champ Post Falls and state qualifiers Bellarmine Prep and Woodinville during the Cam Jam Clash in December) to try and prepare themselves for the state tournament. If they stay focused, consistent and play pressure defense, they have a good chance to win it all.

Quote: “This team has worked extremely hard to put themselves in a position to avenge last year’s disappointing loss in the quarterfinals. If they can work together, trust the process, and play for one another, they could very well be holding up the big gold ball on Saturday. There are some good teams in the tournament and our path won’t be easy. However, we’ve been on a mission all year, and hopefully we can complete that mission.” – coach Freddie Rehkow

(12) Lewis and Clark

Record: 16-8, 11-3 GSL; District 8 second seed

When: Wednesday at 12:15 p.m. vs. No. 5 seed Woodinville

Regional: Beat No. 13 seed Glacier Peak 55-36

Key players: F Jacinta Buckley, jr. (first-team All-GSL), G Dominique Arquette, jr. (second-team All-GSL), F Kaylee Bishop, jr. (honorable mention All-GSL), G Andie Zylak, fr., C Anna Reeves, jr.

Outlook: Young team with no seniors. Three of its eight losses to GSL champ Central Valley. Lost first three games of season, including 84-67 to Idaho 5A State champ Post Falls. Beat Walla Walla and Chiawana in district tourney. Would face No. 3 seed Kentridge in quarterfinals with first-round win.

Quote: “I’m proud of all of us, and especially for (first-year coach Gabe Medrano). To come to a new team and none of us know each other. The first couple weeks were rough, but look at us now. We have chemistry now and it’s a good feeling.” – Bishop

(14) University

Record: 16-8, 11-5 GSL; District 8 third seed

When: Wednesday at 9 a.m. vs No. 6 seed Bellarmine Prep

Regional: Beat No. 11 Sunnyside 73-65

Key players: G Ellie Boni, so. (first-team All-GSL), G Claire Dingus, sr. (second-team All-GSL), F Kinsley Barrington, so. (second-team all-GSL), F Jasey Ramelow, sr.,

Outlook: Got better as season went along. Lost first four games – including two-point loss to Post Falls – but went 12-3 in 2018, with two of three losses coming to Central Valley.

3A: Tacoma Dome

(14) Mt. Spokane

Record: 14-10, 7-5 GSL, District 8 second seed

When: Wednesday at 3:45 p.m. vs. No. 3 seed Garfield

Regional: Beat No. 11 seed Peninsula 52-48

Key players: G Aspyn Adams, jr. (first-team All-GSL), F/G Alyssa Powell, jr., P Emily Nelson, jr.

Outlook: PG Averi Adams, an All-GSL honorable mention, out for remainder of season with injury. P Emily Nelson was injured in district title game and did not play in regional win. Powell had 23 points and Aspyn Adams added 20 in regional.

2A: Yakima SunDome

(1) East Valley

Record: 20-1, 11-1 Great Northern League; District 7 champion

When: Thursday at 10:30 a.m., quarterfinal

Regional: Beat No. 8 seed White River 75-62

Key players: P Genesis Wilkinson, jr. (12 ppg, 9 rpg; GNL MVP); PG Brie Holecek, so, (11.5 ppg, 7 rpg, first-team all-GNL), G Faith Adams, (10 ppg, second-team all-GNL), F Sydney Moore, sr. (co-captain), F Emily Fletcher, sr. (co-captain).

Outlook: Lost to Wapato 57-53 in the Wednesday game last season as a No. 10 seed, the Knights have been looking forward to this opportunity for a year now and are ready to play. The experience should be helpful. Will get No. 7 Lynden/No. 10 Washougal winner on Thursday.

Quote: “Every team is looking for the same thing and we all have the same opportunity. The teams that show up ready to play each game for 32 minutes will be playing on Saturday. I believe that our girls are ready and prepared for the challenge.” – Rob Collins, GNL coach of the year

1A: Yakima SunDome

(5) Medical Lake

Record: 22-0, 14-0 Northeast A; District 7 champion

When: Thursday at 3:45 p.m., quarterfinal

Regional: Beat No. 4 seed Zillah 72-51

Key players: G Jayda Noble, so. (13 ppg, 11 rpg; first-team All-NEA), F Makayla Geiger, sr. (11 ppg; first-team All-NEA), G Lexie Redell, so. (11 ppg, second-team All-NEA).

Outlook: Lost in regionals against La Salle last season 47-45. First state tournament appearance since 1991. Currently ranked No. 5 in state RPI. Awaits winner of No. 6 La Center and No. 14 Freeman in quarters.

Quote: “We are very excited to play in the state tournament this year, which was one of our main goals. Our girls have worked extremely hard during the summer and this season to accomplish that goal. We look forward to competing against some very good teams this week.” – Kyle Lundberg, NEA girls coach of the year

(7) Lakeside

Record: 17-7, 12-2 NEA; district second seed

When: Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. vs. No. 10 seed Seattle Christian

Regional: Lost to No. 2 seed Cashmere 70-43

Key players: G Sienna Swannack, sr. (15.9 ppg, 7.0 rpg, three-time NEA MVP, committed to Carroll College); F Hallie Jensen, sr. (13.7 ppg, 9.9 rpg, two-time first-team all-league).

Outlook: RPI No. 7 because of tough nonleague schedule (including state participants Colfax, St. George’s, East Valley). Returning to tournament after second-place finish in 2015. Tough matchup against Seattle Christian, which has had multiple games of 40-plus 3-point attempts.

Quote: “We are a team that has really come together over the course of the season. The tough nonleague schedule helped prepare us to get to state. If we come out and play to our potential, we could very well grab a trophy down there.” – coach Jeff Pietz

(14) Freeman

Record: 15-9, 9-5 NEA; District 7 third seed

When: Wednesday at 3:45 p.m. vs. No. 6 seed La Center

Regional: Beat No. 11 seed Montesano 50-30

Key players: Isabelle Miller, sr. (second-team All-NEA), Grace Holt, so., Sage Aldendorf, jr., Anna Chisholm, fr.

Outlook: Balanced scoring, with any of six players the high scorer on a given night. Beat Omak 50-40 in crossover game to reach regional, as four players scored eight points apiece. With first-round win would draw the district champ, undefeated Medical Lake, in the quarterfinals.

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