High School Sports

Previews? Staff predictions? Everything you need to know about this weekend’s state high school basketball games

Timberline guard Erik Stevenson (10) blocks a shot by Peninsula guard Sam Miller (3).
Timberline guard Erik Stevenson (10) blocks a shot by Peninsula guard Sam Miller (3). dmontesino@thenewstribune.com

BOYS BASKETBALL — REGIONAL ROUND OF STATE PREVIEWS

Friday-Saturday at select WIAA-selected regional sites

CLASS 4A

Curtis basketball
Curtis' Zach Paulsen (1) at the Curtis High School vs. Puyallup High School boys basketball game at Curtis High School in University Place, Wash., Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. David Montesino dmontesino@thenewstribune.com

Winner to quarterfinals, loser to first round

No. 7 ENUMCLAW HORNETS (20-5) VS. No. 9 SKYVIEW STORM (23-3)

6 p.m. Saturday at Battle Ground

About the Hornets: They enter with a tremendous amount of confidence after handing third-ranked Federal Way its first loss in the 4A district title game and getting their first district title win since 2010. Senior F Kaden Anderson (20.3 ppg, 10.6 rebounds) leads the way. He had 21 points and 13 boards in the win over the Eagles.

About the Storm: This team has been one of the state’s surprises, starting the season 17-0 after going 14-7 last season. But the Storm have struggled lately with two losses to Union and a first-round district loss to Kennedy Catholic before four straight wins. Junior G Alex Schumacher (17 ppg) has the hot hand for Skyview after scoring 31 points in its recent 74-69 win over Kentwood.

TNT pick: Enumclaw, 82-75

No. 3 FEDERAL WAY EAGLES (24-1) VS. No. 4 UNION TITANS (20-5)

8 p.m. Saturday at Battle Ground

About the Eagles: After falling to Enumclaw in the district title game, they will attempt to get back on track with their second meeting in three games against Union, a team they comfortably blew past, 82-62. The Titans have to bring the defense in order to contain Federal Way’s 6-foot-9, junior wing Jaden McDaniels (20.9 points, 10 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 3.3 blocks).

About the Titans: They like to shoot 3s — a lot of them. They enter this matchup riding some momentum after a 65-61 come-from-behind win over Curtis. Junior G Ethan Smith (14.5 ppg) has two different games where he’s tied reigning 4A state player of the year Cameron Cranston’s record for 3-pointers in a game (seven) and he’s made 84 total from long range. Senior G Tyler Combs (16.7 ppg) had made 53.

TNT pick: Federal Way, 92-68

Winner to first round, loser out

BELLARMINE PREP LIONS (15-10) VS. LEWIS AND CLARK TIGERS (16-8)

6 p.m. Friday at West Valley (Spokane)

About the Lions: You got to hand it to coach Bernie Salazar: He’s got them in state for the sixth time in the past seven seasons. But they’ve been without their leading scorer, sophomore G Jaylen Scott (19.1 ppg), for the past nine games.

About the Tigers: There are few players in the state like 6-foot-7 guard Naje Smith (15.6 ppg). He’s a matchup nightmare (just ask Ferris) and he’s hoping to lead the Tigers to their second Tacoma Dome trip in the past three seasons.

TNT pick: Lewis and Clark, 60-55

KAMIAK KNIGHTS (15-8) VS. KENTWOOD CONQUERORS (19-7)

4 p.m. Saturday at Auburn Mountainview

About the Knights: The Knights have won 10 of the last 13 games, including nine of the last 10. G Carson Tuttle (22.6 ppg) is a Texas A&M-Commerce commit and is the Everett Daily Herald’s reigning All-Area player of the year.

About the Conks: Though they are the defending 4A state champions, the Conks are a completely different team with only four returning players. Senior G D’Angelo Minnis is the team’s leader in points (14.7), assists (2.5), steals (2.3) and he led the NPSL in 3-pointers (47).

TNT pick: Kentwood, 55-49

CURTIS VIKINGS (17-7) VS. No. 6 BOTHELL COUGARS (20-2)

6 p.m. Saturday at North Creek (Bothell)

About the Vikings: This is their eighth consecutive state trip, but it’s also a unique team for coach Tim Kelly. They rely on 3-pointers as much as any team he’s had, though junior wing Zack Paulsen (16.8 ppg) is an inside-outside threat.

About the Cougars: Both these teams have a former players currently in the NBA (the Bulls’ Zach LaVine is from Bothell and the Lakers’ Isaiah Thomas played at Curtis). Senior G Cameron Tyson (26.7 ppg, 3 assists) lights up the scoreboard about as much as they both did.

TNT pick: Bothell, 63-62

CLASS 3A

Wilson Lincoln basketball
Wilson's Daniel Santana (4) rejects a shot by Lincoln's Daemon Dillingham during a boys basketball game at Wilson High School in Tacoma on Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018. Tony Overman toverman@theolympian.com

Winner to quarterfinals, loser to first round

CLASS 3A

No. 5 TIMBERLINE BLAZERS (19-5) VS. No. 6 KELSO HILANDERS (20-4)

Noon Saturday at Battle Ground

About the Blazers: They’re guaranteed their second consecutive trip to the Tacoma Dome behind Wichita State signee G Erik Stevenson (23.7 ppg). Timberline’s career scoring leader is now much more than a pinpoint shooter. He’s also a beast in the paint. Watch out.

About the Hilanders: Thought the 3A Tacoma Dome favorites would be from Seattle or Tacoma? Kelso made an emphatic statement their district tournament, ripping through Peninsula, Wilson, North Thurston and then unbeaten Lincoln for the title behind 6-foot-5 junior F Shaw Anderson (21.8 ppg).

TNT pick: Timberline, 65-60

No. 9 EASTSIDE CATHOLIC CRUSADERS (20-5) VS. No. 2 LINCOLN ABES (23-1)

6 p.m. Saturday at Puyallup

About the Crusaders: Their only losses this year? Garfield, Rainier Beach, O’Dea and Seattle Prep. Their 6-foot-1 quick-trigger guard Brock Mackenzie (18.5 ppg) keeps them in every game. EC’s second-leading scorer? That’s freshman Shane Nowell (9.5 ppg), the younger brother of Garfield grad and current UW guard Jaylen Nowell.

About the Abes: How do the Abes regroup from their first loss? Coach Aubrey Shelton hopes its through defense, led by 3A PCL defensive player of the year F Willie Thomas (13 ppg, 6 rebounds, 3 blocks) and some improved outside shooting led by G Emmett Linton (17 ppg).

TNT pick: Lincoln, 64-61

No. 10 WILSON RAMS (20-5) VS. No. 1 GARFIELD BULLDOGS (24-1)

8 p.m. Saturday at Bellevue College

About the Rams: Adversity or opportunity? Wilson will be without UConn-bound senior Emmitt Matthews Jr. (22.3 ppg, 9.4 rebounds) because he broke his hand in last week’s district tournament. But coach Dave Alwert says it’s a chance for players like junior G Daniel Santana (9.3 ppg) and fifth-year senior G Londrell Hamilton (9.3 ppg, 3.5 assists, 3.3 steals) to step up.

About the Bulldogs: Welcome back to state, Brandon Roy. The four-time NBA All-Star is 43-1 in his two seasons in the coaching ranks and he has an all-star cast of players at his alma mater, like G PJ Fuller (15.7 ppg), who played for Roy at Nathan Hale last year. (So did Marjon Beuchamp, 11.4 ppg.) F Jamon Kemp’s (9.0 ppg) dad is former SuperSonics great Shawn Kemp, and F J’Raan Brooks (11.2 ppg) has been committed to USC and then St. John’s.

TNT pick: Garfield, 80-55

Winner to first round, loser out

No. 7 SEATTLE PREP PANTHERS (16-10) VS. No. 8 NORTH THURSTON RAMS (21-3)

4 p.m. Saturday at Tumwater

About the Panthers: You won’t find a better 10-loss team in the state. And no other team can say they’ve beaten No. 1-ranked Garfield and No. 4 Rainier Beach … and Prep did that in the same week. Their 6-11 center Nic Lynch (16.4 ppg) helped them eliminate Timberline last year.

About the Rams: Too bad this is a loser-out game because both these teams are worthy of the Tacoma Dome. The 3A SSC-champion Rams have to continue relying on super-scoring guards Jeremy Spencer (21.5 ppg) and Clay Christian (20.2). But coach Tim Brown will have to find answers in the paint for Lynch if he plans to make his first Dome appearance since 2007.

TNT pick: Seattle Prep, 61-58

CLASS 2A

Clover Park basketball
Clover Park's Davien Harris-Williams practices at Clover Park High School in Lakewood, Wash., on Monday, Feb. 12, 2018. Joshua Bessex joshua.bessex@gateline.com

Winner to quarterfinals, loser to first round

No. 10 PULLMAN GREYHOUNDS (19-2) VS. No. 2 FOSS FALCONS (19-4)

2 p.m. Saturday at Mount Tahoma (Tacoma)

About the Greyhounds: They’ll be ready, especially after squandering a halftime lead in a loss to Foss in last year’s 2A state semifinals. Pullman returned its top scorer from that one, junior wing Jacob Wells (20.1 ppg), when it lost 84-69 and Foss went on to take the state title.

About the Falcons: So we learned Foss is truly vulnerable to 2A teams. The Falcons lost their first 2A game in two years in the district semifinals against Fife. Expect that to light a fire in 2A SPSL Mountain MVP G Demetrius Crosby (21 ppg) and sidekick G Micah Pollard (20.5 ppg, 7 rebounds).

TNT pick: Foss, 70-60

Winner to first round, loser out

BURLINGTON-EDISON TIGERS (13-12) VS. No. 7 FIFE TROJANS (20-5)

6 p.m. Friday at Puyallup

About the Tigers: They are coming off a tough 58-48 loss to Mountlake Terrace. Luckily, the Tigers have a talented frontcourt combo in Caleb Sheldon and Wyatt Walker. The duo produced 20 points each in their last win over Sedro-Woolley.

About the Trojans: After their loss to North Kitsap, Fife looks to hit the reset button in a loser-out game against Burlington-Edison. Despite the loss to the Vikings in their previous game, the Trojans will likely turn to Malachi Afework for a second straight game after he had 14 points, a steal and two crucial free throws during the Trojans’ 62-58 win over Foss last week.

TNT pick: Fife, 78-70

CLOVER PARK WARRIORS (17-8) VS. No. 8 RENTON INDIANS (19-5)

8 p.m. Friday at Auburn Mountainview

About the Warriors: Senior G Davien Harris-Williams (21 ppg) was made for this time of year, and it’s only fitting that his first state opponent is the same one that’s given the Warriors fits all year. But they’ve won 10 of their past 11 games since last losing to Renton. It was just seven years ago that they won the state title.

About the Indians: They enter this game with confidence and the upper hand. Renton is 2-0 against the Warriors in 2A SPSL regular-season play this year, taking the league title. Except the Indians just took back-to-back losses against North Kitsap in the district semifinals and then Foss. Seniors Malik Coats, Jaloni Garner and Deondre Russ were all first-team all-league selections.

TNT pick: Renton, 75-69

CLASS 1A

Winner to quarterfinals, loser to first round

No. 6 CASCADE CHRISTIAN COUGARS (14-8) VS. No. 3 FREEMAN SCOTTIES (21-0)

8 p.m. Friday at University (Spokane Valley)

About the Cougars: Look who is at 299 career coaching victories: Cougars coach Jerry Williams has his Cougars on another late-season roll, having won seven of their past eight games to sneak into the top eight of the WIAA RPI rankings, thanks in part to G Dylan Cooley (17.5 ppg).

About the Scotties: The Rockford community has rallied around Freeman’s sports teams in the wake of the school shooting there in September that saw one student killed and three others wounded. The Scotties’ basketball team rolled to the 1A Northeast League title and haven’t even been tested since a five-point win on Jan. 16 over Newport. Their 6-foot-3 G Michael Coumont (19 ppg) scored a season-high 38 against Chewelah.

TNT pick: Freeman, 64-51

CLASS 2B

Life Christian basketball_2
Life Christian Academy coach Mark Lovelady coaches son, Luke, (top) the three-time reigning 2B Pacific league MVP, while wife Jennifer, who scored 1,800 points in her high school career, averaging 25.3 ppg, and daughter Landyn, lower right, a freshman on Life Christian's girls basketball team can hold their own on the court against the boys. The Life Christian Academy boys team is the No. 1-ranked team in the 2B level. Monday 02/06/17 Dean J. Koepfler dean.koepfler@thenewstribune.com

Winner to first round, loser out

ORCAS ISLAND VIKINGS (10-8) VS. No. 8 LIFE CHRISTIAN EAGLES (21-4)

8 p.m. Saturday at Mount Tahoma (Tacoma)

About the Vikings: Orcas Island was in this position a year ago against another 2B Pacific opponent, losing to Chief Leschi (65-60). The Vikings are paced by explosive guards Vanya Bullock and Hayden Simpson, the team’s best perimeter shooter. But they need to control tempo to limit Life Christian’s fast-paced attack.

About the Eagles: What a four-year run it has been for the 2B Pacific champions, who has won 100 games during that span and placed no worse than fourth at the state tournament. Freshman G Omari Maulana (16.7 ppg, 5.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists) plays wise beyond his years, and team is glad to have C Keegan Bitow-Woods (foot) back from injury.

TNT pick: Life Christian, 71-56

CLASS 1B

Winner to quarterfinals, loser to first round

TACOMA BAPTIST CRUSADERS (22-4) VS. No. 2 MUCKLESHOOT TRIBAL KINGS (24-2)

10 a.m. Saturday at Auburn Mountainview

About the Crusaders: The pieces are in place, with 1B all-state pick and senior P.J. Talen (20.5 ppg) back to go with Joey Pascua (17.4 ppg) and spark-plug eighth-grader Bradley Swillie (17.8 ppg). One problem: Three of their four losses this year are against Muckleshoot, including a 114-55 loss on Jan. 10.

About the Kings: Nevermind that the Kings have not lost since playing 2B Napavine on Dec. 28, and they beat Christian Faith 76-0. Yes … 76-0. They are 3-0 against Tacoma Baptist, though the last two meetings have both been decided by 10 points or fewer.

TNT pick: Muckleshoot Tribal, 90-58

Winner to first round, loser out

POPE JOHN PAUL II EAGLES (14-12) VS. TULALIP HERITAGE HAWKS (20-6)

2 p.m. Saturday at Jackson (Mill Creek)

About the Eagles: They’ve won five of its last eight games, earning a fifth-place finish in the tri-district tournament. The Eagles will need a heavy dose of accuracy from senior scoring leader Ibi Ceesay (16.5 ppg) to get past the 21-win Hawks. He was also a standout wide receiver for the 4A Olympia football team.

About the Hawks: They enter this one looking to rebound from a 68-50 loss to Cedar Park Christian. The Eagles have played the Hawks just once this season, winning 50-44.

TNT pick: Tulalip Heritage, 55-49

MT. RAINIER LUTHERAN HAWKS (18-10) VS. GARFIELD-PALOUSE VIKINGS (18-6)

4 p.m. Saturday at Pullman

About the Hawks: Their strength is their balance and youth. Junior Adam Bailey (19.9 ppg, 9.4 rebounds, 3.4 steals) scored a season-high 37 points with 10 rebounds in a win over Northwest Yeshiva.

About the Vikings: If they plan to continue their impressive season and hand the Hawks their fourth loss in six games, they will need to play the best defense of any game this season. In their last win over Colton, the Vikings leaned on Blake Jones, who led the team with 18 points.

TNT pick: Mount Rainier Lutheran, 65-62

GIRLS BASKETBALL — REGIONAL ROUND OF STATE PREVIEWS

Friday-Saturday at select WIAA-selected regional sites

CLASS 4A

Kentlake basketball
Kentlake's Aniston Denckla cuts thru two Kentridge defenders to fire her shot off at Kentridge High School in Kent on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. Lui Kit Wong Staff photographer

Winner to quarterfinals, loser to first round

No. 7 BELLARMINE PREP LIONS (20-4) VS. No. 3 KENTRIDGE CHARGERS (23-2)

Noon Saturday at Auburn Mountainview

About the Lions: The big question is the status of Arizona signee Shalyse Smith (ankle), who missed last week’s district title game loss to the Chargers. If she sits another game, Lions will be hard-pressed to find scoring elsewhere.

About the Chargers: The defending Class 4A state champions pound teams on the low block and dare their opponents to stop them. Sophomore post Jordyn Jenkins (17.5 ppg, 7.4 rpg) is one of the region’s young standouts.

TNT pick: Kentridge, 58-51

Winner to first round, loser out

ROGERS RAMS (18-9) VS. No. 7 KENTLAKE FALCONS (18-7)

6 p.m. Friday at Auburn Mountainview

About the Rams: They don’t have a lot of height, but they do have opportunistic guards who are lethal in transition. That group is led by sophomore Reagan Barrett (21.5 ppg, 3.1 steals), a 4A SPSL first-teamer.

About the Falcons: Nobody likes facing this Falcons team. They are a big, physical, grinding group that clamps down on opponents, led by all-4A NSPSL first-team forward Aniston Denckla (11.8 ppg, 6.0 rpg).

TNT pick: Rogers, 57-53

UNION TITANS (17-7) VS. No. 10 TODD BEAMER TITANS (20-5)

8 p.m. Friday at Puyallup

About the Union Titans: They already have a program record for wins in a season. Point guard Mason Oberg (14.7 ppg), one of two transfers from Washougal High School, is a streaky perimeter shooter.

About the Beamer Titans: Even in a down year, the 20-win Titans are in regionals for a sixth consecutive year. Post player Makenzie Bond (15.6 ppg, 12.5 rpg) is a real back-to-the-basket presence (and has a school-record 17 double-doubles), and forward Chasity Spady (16.3 ppg) does damage off the dribble.

TNT pick: Beamer, 67-59

CLASS 3A

Lincoln Bethel basketball
Bethel's Esmeralda Morales (3) in game action against Lincoln's Faith Brantley (1). Lincoln played Bethel in a basketball game at Bethel High School in Spanaway, Wash., on Friday, Jan. 5, 2018. Joshua Bessex joshua.bessex@gateline.com

Winner to quarterfinals, loser to first round

No. 3 PRAIRIE FALCONS (21-3) VS. No. 5 GIG HARBOR TIDES (18-6)

6 p.m. Friday at Mount Tahoma (Tacoma)

About the Falcons: Still on the short list of state favorites, Prairie has a little extra motivation after a terse loss to Lincoln in the district semifinals. 3A GSHL player of the year Brooke Walling (18.1 ppg) is a crafty post who can score inside and outside.

About the Tides: For the third consecutive season, Gig Harbor has reached regionals. Guard Brynna Maxwell (20.3 ppg, 7.8 rpg) is a difficult matchup because of her length and quickness. The Tides’ shaky ball-handling is again a concern.

TNT pick: Prairie, 65-58

No. 4 BETHEL BRAVES (21-3) VS. No. 1 LINCOLN ABES (23-1)

4 p.m. Saturday at Puyallup

About the Braves: Is the fourth time a charm? Bethel has lost to the Abes three times, including last weekend’s 51-43 loss in the district finals. Point guard Esmeralda Morales (16.8 ppg, 3.5 steals) sets it all up for sisters Tianna and Tiarra Brown.

About the Abes: Can Lincoln win it all? The 3A WCD champions are certainly playing championship-caliber defense. The backcourt of Kondalia Montgomery (10.0 ppg, 4.0 apg, 3.0 steals) and Faith Brantley (10.0 ppg, 3.0 spg) has been terrific.

TNT pick: Lincoln, 62-60

Winner to first round, loser out

MT. SPOKANE WILDCATS (13-10) VS. No. 10 PENINSULA SEAHAWKS (16-8)

8 p.m. Friday at Mount Tahoma (Tacoma)

About the Wildcats: Never underestimate a school from the Greater Spokane League. This team placed fourth in the 3A tournament two years ago, and has a talented junior class, led by G Aspyn Adams (17.8 ppg, 2.0 apg).

About the Seahawks: What a turnaround for this program, which is making its first round-of-16 trip since 1989. Forward Belle Frazier (21.4 ppg, 10.4 rpg), the 3A South Sound Conference player of the year, does damage all over the court.

TNT pick: Mount Spokane, 58-51

CLASS 2A

White River basketball
White River head coach Chris Gibson directs the Hornets during girls basketball practice at White River High School outside Buckley on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018. Tony Overman toverman@theolympian.com

Winner to quarterfinals, loser to first round

No. 5 WHITE RIVER HORNETS (20-4) VS. No. 2 EAST VALLEY KNIGHTS (19-1)

4 p.m. Saturday at University (Spokane Valley)

About the Hornets: They might be a smaller team on the court than last year when they had TNT All-Area player of the year Kendall Bird (now at University of San Diego), but they can attack from different angles thanks to twins Georgia and Sofia Lavinder. Georgia (15.3 ppg) is one of the area’s top 3-point shooters.

About the Knights: The Knights are led by Great Northern League MVP Genesis Wilkinson, who finished their game against West Valley with 10 points and 14 rebounds.

TNT pick: East Valley, 51-43

Winner to first round, loser out

LIBERTY PATRIOTS (14-11) VS. No. 7 BLACK HILLS WOLVES (20-4)

8 p.m. Friday at Tumwater

About the Patriots: Senior G Sydney Argosino (18.5 ppg) and freshman G Devyn Warns (15.4 ppg) are the two leading scorers for the Patriots. However, they are coming off of two losses to Lynden in the district tournament.

About the Wolves: They’ve won 10 out of the past 13 games entering this one, and all three losses have come against No. 1-ranked W.F. West. But now that F Maisy Williams (10.3 ppg) has returned, this is a different team, pairing her with senior G Lindsey Nurmi (14 ppg).

TNT pick: Black Hills, 55-45

FIFE TROJANS (15-9) VS. No. 10 WASHOUGAL PANTHERS (19-5)

4 p.m. Saturday at Battle Ground

About the Trojans: Guards Christina Willis (12 ppg), a four-time first-team all-league selection, and Breanna Hernandez (9.5 ppg) are the two big scorers for the Trojans. They are in the state tournament for the first time since 2009 and just the second time since 1998.

About the Panthers: The offense revolves around 2A Greater St. Helens League MVP Beyonce Bea. Bea (16.8 ppg) helped them rebound from a first-round loss in the district tournament to win three consecutive loser-out games to clinch a trip to state.

TNT pick: Washougal, 43-41

CLASS 2B

Winner to first round, loser out

ORCAS ISLAND VIKINGS (10-8) VS. No. 8 LIFE CHRISTIAN EAGLES (16-5)

6 p.m. Saturday at Mount Tahoma (Tacoma)

About the Vikings: Orcas Island has struggled in state or regional opening games over its history (0-10 record), including a 57-47 loss to Toutle Lake in its previous regional appearance in 2013-14. G Katy Minnis has the ability to break defenses down.

About the Eagles: A trapping zone defense spearheads one of the state’s top scoring defense (33.2 ppg). Life Christian has scoring weapons, too, in guards Alea Yun (16.8 ppg), Landyn Lovelady (13.0 ppg, 5.7 steals) and Jaelyn Turner (11.5 ppg).

TNT pick: Life Christian, 49-33

CLASS 1B

Winner to quarterfinals, loser to first round

MT. RAINIER LUTHERAN HAWKS (21-3) VS. No. 1 COLTON WILDCATS (21-1)

2 p.m. Saturday at Pullman

About the Hawks: This is their fourth state tournament appearance in school history, but they’re going to be hard-pressed to make this game against No. 1 Colton their first-ever state victory. They’ll need Isabella Foxley and Madison Young to continue to step up.

About the Wildcats: Their dynasty continues. You can’t talk about 1B girls basketball without that conversation first going through Colton, Washington, and coach Clark Vining. They had won eight consecutive state titles before being halted in the semifinals last year. But 6-foot-1 junior G Emily Schultheis is hoping to lead this team back to its throne.

TNT pick: Colton, 70-45

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