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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Boys state capsules: Five Greater Spokane League teams lead 13 Spokane-area teams to state venues

Play begins at the state basketball venues in Tacoma, Yakima and Spokane with round-of-12 elimination games on Wednesday and quarterfinals on Thursday.

Here’s a look at the 13 boys teams from the Spokane area to reach the state venues this season.

4A–Tacoma Dome

(3) Gonzaga Prep Bulldogs (20-5, 7-2, GSL 4A/3A second).

Coach: Matty McIntyre, 15th year. District: First, beat Richland 69-64. Regional: Beat (6) Federal Way 62-40.

State matchup: Quarterfinal vs TBD, Thursday 7:15 p.m. Last state appearance: 2023. Last state title: 2019.

Key players: Henry Sandberg, sr. (17 ppg); Nate Christy, jr. (13 ppg); Dylynn Groves, so. (12 ppg).

Outlook: Defense and teamwork. Any of five players could lead the team in scoring on any given night. Sandberg headed to DII Seattle Pacific; Christy most improved player this season.

Quote: “We lost some close games in December and early January that were valuable learning experiences. We have been steadily getting better as the season progresses. We are playing our best basketball now which is all you can ask for this time of year.” - McIntyre.

3A–Tacoma Dome

(6) Mt. Spokane Wildcats (21-4, 8-1, GSL 4A/3A first).

Coach: David Wagenblast, ninth year. District: Second, lost to North Central 64-59. Regional: Beat (3) Garfield 74-64.

State matchup: Quarterfinal vs TBD, Thursday 12;15 p.m. Last state appearance: 2023 (seven straight). Last state title: N/A.

Key players: Ryan Lafferty 20 ppg, 7 reb, 5 asst, 2 steals); Andrew Rayment 12 ppg, 5 reb); Bode Gardner 11 ppg); Nalu Vargas 10 ppg); McKay Smith 9 ppg).

Outlook: Played in several big games this year, including four games in a national tournament. These games along with tough GSL helped to prepare team for a deep run at state. Will need to continue to execute at a high level on both ends of the floor.

Quote: “This team has been so much fun to coach. They have been playing together for years now, and it shows when they are on the floor. They have really put their stamp on Mt. Spokane basketball, and the coaching staff will be using this team as an example for years to come.” - Wagenblast.

(8) North Central Wolfpack (19-5, 7-3, GSL 4A/3A third)

Coach: Rob Sacre, first year. District: First, beat Mt. Spokane 64-59. Regional: Beat (1) Auburn 60-54.

State matchup: Quarterfinal vs TBD, Thursday 10:30 a.m. Last state appearance: 2011. Last state title: N/A.

Key players: Eli Williams, sr. (17.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 5.0 apg, 1.5 spg); Jacori Ervin, sr. (15.4 ppg, 2.1 bpg); JuJu Ervin, jr. (11.4 pg, 5.9 rpg).

Outlook: District champs for the first time in 32 years. Wolfpack present matchup problems all over the floor, as all five starters go 6-foot-3 or better, including 6-11 Jacori and 6-9 JuJu Ervin. Williams is the catalyst – can score off the drive, find the open shooter or stick the jumper.

Quote: “We have seen it all this season – played in close games, experienced teams that slow it down and play fast. It’s about execution and we are doing that well at the right time.” – Sacre.

2A–Yakima Valley SunDome

(7) Rogers Pirates (16-6, 8-2, GSL 2A second).

Coach: Karim Scott. District: First, beat Pullman 63-53. Regional: Lost to (2) Grandview 72-63.

State matchup: Round-of-12 vs (10) Sammamish, Wednesday 5:30 p.m. Last state appearance: 2015. Last state title: N/A.

Key players: Treshon Green, jr. (12.6 ppg); Aaron Kinsey, sr. (11.6 ppg); Brady Krebs, jr. (12.0 ppg).

Outlook: The 6-6 Green has nice inside/outside game. Kinsey uses tremendous leaping capability to be a strong rebounder, and Krebs provides a soft touch on the perimeter.

(9) Pullman Greyhounds (17-6, 9-1, GSL 2A first).

Coach: Craig Brantner, 18 years. District: Second, lost to Rogers 63-52. Regional: Beat (16) Enumclaw 61-44.

State matchup: Round-of-12 vs (8) Prosser, Wednesday 9 p.m. Last state appearance: 2023. Last state title: 2014.

Key players: Champ Powaukee, sr. (17.8 ppg, 8 rpg, 5 apg); Austin Hunt, sr. (11.6 ppg, 7 rpg); Daniel Kwon, sr. (11 ppg, 6 rpg).

Outlook: The 6-10 Hunt is a physical presence in the paint on both ends, while Powaukee is fast and knows how to fill it up. Entered the tourney as No. 1 seed last year and finished third.

Quote: “As a team we have really improved from the beginning of the year until now. Our players have done an excellent job of accepting their roles with a team-first attitude.” – Brantner.

1A–Yakima Valley SunDome

(4) Freeman Scotties (20-3, 12-0, NEA first).

Coach: Kyle Olson. District: First, beat Lakeside 60-52. Regional: Lost to (5) Seattle Academy 68-65 in OT.

State matchup: Round-of-12 vs (13) Sultan, Wednesday 12:15 p.m. Last state appearance: 2023.

Key players: Colton Wells, jr.; Tanner Goldsmith, jr.; Micha Hodges, so.; Finn LaPointe, so.

Outlook: Young team (no seniors) with multiple options on offense. Will go 6-6, 6-5, 6-4 across the front.

(11) Riverside Rams (18-6, 10-2, NEA second).

Coach: Jordan Dutton, second year. District: Third, Beat Quincy 52-38 crossover. Regional: Beat (14) Bellevue Christian, 68-58.

State matchup: Round-of-12 vs (6) Royal, Wednesday 9 a.m. Last state appearance: 2014. Last state title: N/A.

Key players: Jake Graham, jr. (NEA MVP, 20 ppg, 5 rpg, 2 spg); Daniel Schneider, sr. (19 ppg, 9 rpg, 2 bpg); Jake Gaffaney, so. (12 ppg, 6 apg, 5 rpg).

Outlook: Can defend anybody in the tournament. If Rams are making shots, they will be a hard out in the tourney.

Quote: “I’m so proud of these guys and the growth they have shown in my first two years here at Riverside. The togetherness these guys have and how hard they play when they step on the court makes them truly a blessing to coach.” – Dutton.

2B–Spokane Arena

(3) Colfax Bulldogs (26-0, 14-0 league, NE 2B first).

Coach: Reece Jenkin, 16th year. District: First, beat St. George’s 48-40. Beat Manson 71-46 in crossover. Regional: Beat (6) Toutle Lake 53-32.

State matchup: Quarterfinal vs TBD, Thursday 7:15 p.m. Last state appearance: 2022. Last state title: 2012.

Key players: Seth Lustig, sr. (14 ppg); Adrik Jenkin, so. (18 ppg); Jayce Kelly, jr. (15 ppg); JP Wigen, sr. (10 ppg).

Outlook: One of three 2B boys teams in the state still undefeated. Lustig, Jenkin, Kelly could all score 30 on any given night. Wigen provides good size at this level.

Quote: “This has been a special season with a great group of kids who love to compete and who get along really well. We have had a great journey and hope to have a great finish.” - Jenkin.

(7) St. George’s Dragons (19-7, 13-2, NE 2B North first).

Coach: Ryan Peplinski, 23rd year. District: Second. Beat Liberty Bell 67-59 in crossover. Regional: Lost to (2) Napavine 70-47.

State matchup: Round-of-12 vs (10) Adna, Wednesday 5:30 p.m. Last state appearance: 2020. Last state title: 2013.

Key players: Shawn Jones, jr. (NE 2B MVP, 18 ppg, 5.5 apg), Elden Pierce, jr. (18 ppg, 9 rpg), Mason Zarlingo, jr. (11.6 ppg, 3.3 apg).

Outlook: Solid defense throughout the year and a good rebounding team. Scored well at times and have played a tough schedule along the way. Will need to defend and create good scoring opportunities.

Quote: “It is great to be back in the Arena. This is the best-run tournament and venue for student-athletes in our state. It is an incredible experience created for the players, fans, and communities.” - Peplinski.

(9) Northwest Christian (17-9, 14-5, third in NE 2B).

Coach: Aaron Spuler, 19th years (sixth with boys). District: Fourth, beat Brewster 51-50 in crossover. Regional: Beat (16) White Swan 88-51.

State matchup: Round-of-12 vs (8) Chief Leschi, Wednesday 9 p.m. Last state appearance: 2023. Last state title: 2016.

Key players: Avi West, jr. (19.2 ppg, 6.9 rpg); Asher West, sr. (14.2 ppg, 3.6 rpg); Ben Slade, jr. (10.1 ppg, 5.4 rpg); Titus Spuler, sr. (9.2 ppg, 5.8 rpg).

Outlook: Beat a tough Brewster team by one point in the crossover. Avi West is a nonstop motor. Slade provides good size (6-7).

Quote: “We are grateful to be a part of the tradition of State B basketball here in Spokane,” - Aaron Spuler.

1B–Spokane Arena

(2) Wellpinit (21-2, 12-1, NE 1B first)

Coach: Billy Flett Jr. District: First, beat Cusick 82-55. Regional: Beat (7) Mossyrock 58-47.

State matchup: Quarterfinal vs TBD, Thursday 2 p.m. Last state appearance: 2023. Last state title: 2023.

Key players: Grant Denison, sr.; Jordan Montgomery, sr.; Andrew Moyer, jr.

Outlook: Defending champions look primed for a repeat.

(6) Cusick Panthers (19-4, 11-1, NE 1B second).

Coach: Rob Seymour. District: Second, lost to Wellpinit 82-55. Regional: Lost to (3) Moses Lake Christian 64-54.

State matchup: Round-of-12 vs (11) Muckleshoot Tribal, Wednesday 9 a.m. Last state appearance: 2023. Last state title: 2022.

Key players: Bode Seymour, sr.; Roland Campbell, jr.; Chris Mackey, sr.

Outlook: Seymour a dynamic player at this level.

(12) Oakesdale Nighthawks (17-7, 11-1, SE 1B first-tied).

Coach: Carl Crider, 12th year. District: Second, lost to DeSales 72-42. Regional: Beat (13) Sound Christian 56-44.

State matchup: Round-of-12 vs (5) Neah Bay, Wednesday 12:15 p.m. Last state appearance: 2020. Last state title: 1993 (Tekoa-Oakesdale), 1973 (Oakesdale).

Key players: Logan Brown, sr. (9.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 2.9 apg, 2.3 spg; Will Lanius, sr. (8.5 ppg); Emeric Anderson, so. (11.6 ppg, 7.3 rpg); Ryker Reed, fr. (13.8 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 4.4 apg, 2.9 spg).

Outlook: Determination, teamwork, positive responses to setbacks.

Quote: “Competing at the State 1B tournament in the Spokane Arena is a dream come true for the Oakesdale players and coaches.” – Crider