Colton finds itself in familiar territory as it prepares for another state tournament appearance.
The Wildcats (21-2) are the top team in 1B, earning a bye to Thursday. They are on the opposite side of the bracket from second-seeded Pomeroy and third-seeded Almira/Coulee-Hartline.
It was another state title for Colton last season, its ninth title in 10 seasons. The Wildcats lost to ACH in the semifinals in 2017. They were back in form last year.
Coach Clark Vining said before last year’s tournament the Wildcats were back for redemption and they ended up cruising to first place, beating Pomeroy in the process.
“Beating Pomeroy four times is tough,” Vining said that night. “It’s one of those games you just have to gut it out.”
If seeds hold, his team may have to do that again.
The Wildcats boast a senior-laden team as six of their 10 players are seniors. Their strength is balance, as anyone is capable of scoring and taking over the game.
Southeast 1B MVP Dakota Patchen leads the team. Seniors Emily Schultheis and Jordyn Moehrle, and sophomore Rylee Vining are all-league selections.
This is definitely the team to watch when it begins play on Thursday against either Selkirk or Taholah at 10:30 a.m.
Odessa also has balance and postseason experience. The Tigers have only one senior, but they have a seasoned team of playoff performers. Their starting five all have the potential to lead the team in scoring.
“It is going to be nice that first game, because our guys have a lot of experience and it is exciting for the kids to play in the Arena, but it’s not like it’s their first time,” Tigers coach Larry Weber said. “They should be able to – once they get through that emotion – to be able to settle in and understand what we need to take care of the basketball and play our game and win the game.”
The second-seeded Tigers lost to ACH in regionals – the two split their season series 2-2 – forcing Odessa into a first-round, loser-out game against 10th-seeded Neah Bay on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.
Odessa and ACH could face off again in the championship if the cards fall that way, but Weber is looking for his team to play a complete game first.
“I am looking for a consistent effort for four quarters,” Weber said. “We have a lot of kids that can do some good things. We just sort of had three good quarters and one not so good at times. Just need to be more disciplined and consistent all four quarters.”