Familiar hoop foes could get an early introduction

Tim Martinez: High schools

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So much for the best laid plans of the Evergreen and Skyview girls basketball teams.

Like many teams this time of year, the Plainsmen and Storm were looking for a holiday tournament to play in so they could get some top-flight competition and play teams from outside of Clark County.

Tightened budgets have forced more teams this year to stay close to home for their non-league games.

Even holiday tournament schedules have been affected, as more teams are playing in events closer to home.

The Evergreen and Skyview girls thought they had found the perfect tournament when they entered the Nike Interstate Shootout in Lake Oswego, Ore.

The Shootout is a high-profile event that draws girls basketballs from all over Oregon, Washington and beyond.

The 32-team field is broken into two 16-team brackets.

With all those teams involved, you’d think the chances of Evergreen and Skyview actually facing each other were pretty remote.

You’d think.

But when the tournament opens this morning, Evergreen will face Central Catholic of Portland in an 8:30 a.m. game in the Swoosh bracket. Skyview opens against Beaverton in a 10 a.m. game in the Swoosh bracket.

If both Evergreen and Skyview win today — or if they both lose — the Plainsmen and Storm will face each other on Tuesday.

That’s a bummer, you might think — two league rivals facing each other in a non-league game.

But this season in the Class 4A Greater St. Helens League, Evergreen and Skyview will face each other three times — the first coming on Jan. 4.

And it’s also possible for the Plainsmen and Storm to meet in a district playoff, as well as during the bi-district tournament.

Not that there’s anything Evergreen or Skyview can do about this tournament schedule. But you only wish the organizers had thought about where their participating teams were coming from before making out those brackets.

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Two teams that are traveling to play in holiday tournaments are the Battle Ground boys and Prairie girls. Those teams will be taking part in the Energy Classic in Gillette, Wyo., starting Tuesday.

Battle Ground will open against Sierra Vista of Spring Valley, Nev., near Las Vegas. It’s too bad Mountain View could not play Sierra Vista (that last line was thrown in for those readers with a working knowledge of Spanish).

The Prairie girls will face Sir Winston Churchill High School of Calgary, Alberta, in their Tuesday opener.

Both tournaments will run through Thursday.

Here’s are some other locals teams playing in tournaments this week:

• The Union boys will play in the Slalom Slam at Seattle Prep High School. The Titans open the three-day tournament with a game today against McQueen of Reno, Nev.

• The Union girls will face Sandy, Ore., today in the opener of the three-day Gresham Holiday Tournament.

• The Skyview boys face North Eugene on Wednesday in the two-day North Eugene Tournament.

• The Ridgefield boys and Woodland girls will travel to Yakima to take part in the SunDome Shootout on Wednesday and Thursday. Ridgefield will face Riverside and Deer Park, while Woodland takes on White River and Riverside.

Wrestling

We can’t forget about the annual Pacific Coast Championships, which will be held Wednesday and Thursday at Hudson’s Bay High School.

The tournament will draw teams from throughout the region, and local teams like Skyview, Evergreen, Heritage, Mountain View, Columbia River, Hudson’s Bay, Prairie and Camas are expected to compete.

And if you think New Year’s Day is just for college football, you’d be wrong. The Washougal Invitational will be held on Saturday, and area teams like Fort Vancouver, Hockinson, Ridgefield and Stevenson are expected to compete.

Tim Martinez is the assistant sports editor/prep coordinator for The Columbian. He can be reached by phone at (360) 735-4538 or e-mail attim.martinez@columbian.com