The Great Northern League and the Northeast A League have to join with other leagues in order to reach state. This year, it was tough getting through the glue for the local teams – and the regional round provided even more resistance.
Those advancing to the Yakima SunDome for elimination games on Wednesday and quarterfinals on Thursday have plenty of good storylines though.
Boys: GNL player of the year Tru Allen scored 27 points and No. 7 Clarkston (18-5) upended No. 2 Toppenish 53-49 in a regional on Saturday.
The Bantams advanced to a quarterfinal on Thursday at 9 p.m. and will face the winner of (8) Mountlake Terrace and (9) Black Hills.
Allen, the younger brother of Idaho guard Trevon Allen, has been first-team all-league the past three years and is a career 1,500-point scorer.
Allen is supported by eight fellow seniors, including senior guard Trey Dreadfulwater. But forward Gus Hagestad suffered a serious knee injury in the regional game and is out for the season.
“With Gus out, we’ll need to make up for those deficits on both ends of the floor,” coach Justin Jones said. “But we have a deep team and capable group of players to do that.”
The Bantams cruised through league play with just one loss. Of their five losses, two were particularly notable: a 54-53 decision to 4A Walla Walla (17-6), the second-place team in the Mid-Columbia Conference, and a 52-50 loss to Post Falls, (20-3), an Idaho 5A State tourney participant, in December.
Girls: No. 8 West Valley (18-5) was the GNL champ but fell to No. 11 Clarkston in the District 7 championship. Both managed to win their crossovers against Central Washington Athletic Conference competition to qualify for the regional round.
The Eagles earned a protected spot, but at No. 8 was matched up against top-ranked Lynden (22-1), and Ruby Vander Haak scored 16 points and the Lions downed the Eagles. That sent West Valley to an elimination game on Wednesday against No. 9 Black Hills at 2 p.m.
“We will try to make sure we keep pressure on them and wear them down,” coach Rick Jones said. “It’s our first time in Yakima in a long time. We’ll be working on making the players mentally strong in this very exciting environment.”
WV’s Hailey Marlow has been a first-team all-league pick each of her four years and has committed to Seattle Pacific. Senior guard Alyssa Amann joined her on the first team this season, while sophomore guard Neveah Sherwood and senior guard Jillian Taylor were second-team selections.
Clarkston had a bit of an up-and-down season, losing five times in league play. But the Bantams got hot at the end of the season, winning five straight through the end of league, districts and crossover, then eliminating 14th seeded Franklin Pierce 56-31 in a regional showdown.
Clarkston was led that day, as it is most days, by two-time GNL Player of the Year and three-time all-league guard Ashlyn Wallace. Still just a junior, Wallace – who has committed to Idaho – averaged nearly 20 points this season and has accumulated more than 1,500 in her career.
Seniors AJ Sobotta and Lauren Johnson were all-league second-team picks for the Bantams, who face another elimination game, against No. 6 Port Angeles at 9 a.m. on Wednesday.
The 1A ranks in the region were hit hardest, with just one team getting though crossover and regional play.
That one team is the No. 4 Freeman girls. The Scotties needed to rely on their protected status to reach the SunDome as Trista Hull scored 26 points and defending state champ and fifth-seeded La Salle (21-3) beat the Scotties (20-3) 55-32 in a regional game.
Freeman is led by all-league first-team selections Jordyn Goldsmith and Ellis Crowley and second-teamer Sydney McLean.
The loss in regionals sends the Scotties into an elimination game against No. 12 Elma on Wednesday at 7:15 p.m.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.