Tim Martinez: More available days mean more days to hoop it up

By Tim Martinez, Columbian Assistant sports editor

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The question was asked last week: “Does it seem like there are more basketball games over the Christmas break than normal?”

Well, yes and no.

High school basketball coaches love to use the winter break to give their teams opportunity play teams from out of the area and allow their players to bond on a road trip.

There’s nothing new about that.

But the calendar cooperated this year to allow more time for games to be played.

With Christmas and New Year’s Day falling on Sundays this year — a day of the week when high school sports aren’t played — it opened more days to schedule non-league games or tournaments.

That’s why there were a healthy load of games Monday to Thursday last week, and more games Tuesday through Friday this week.

The one thing that was a bit unusual was the Class 1A Trico League deciding to use the week before Christmas to play two rounds of league games.

But this coming week, it’s all non-league games and tournaments, and several area teams are going long distances to play games.

The Hockinson boys basketball team will travel to Gillette, Wyo., to play in the Energy Classic. Over the years, Clark County teams have been regular participants in this event that features teams from the Pacific Northwest, Rocky Mountain and upper Plains states.

Hockinson will open the three-day tournament Wednesday against Century High School of Bismarck, N.D.

The Prairie boys basketball team won’t travel quite as far as Hockinson. The Falcons will play in the North Idaho College Holiday Tournament in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Prairie opens that three-day event on Tuesday against Post Falls of Idaho.

The Prairie girls, who have traveled to places as far away as Delaware and Tennessee in recent years, will head south to the Bay Area to play in a high-profile event. The Falcons will take part in the four-day West Coast Jamboree in Antioch, Calif., when they will open Tuesday against Oak Ridge High School of El Dorado Hills, Calif.

And not every local team will travel long distances to top-notch competition. The Skyview, Evergreen and Camas girls basketball teams will head to Lake Oswego, Ore., to play in the four-day Nike Interstate Shootout at Lakeridge High.

Opening games are Tuesday with Camas facing South Eugene, Ore., at 11:30 a.m.; Evergreen playing West Salem, Ore., at 5 p.m. and Skyview meeting Glencoe of Hillsboro, Ore., at 6:30 p.m.

The Union boys will go to Gresham, Ore., to play in the three-day Barlow Trail Tournament. The Titans open Wednesday against McMinnville, Ore., at 3:30 p.m.

The Heritage boys will travel to Hermiston, Ore., for a two-day event that opens Tuesday against Lewiston, Idaho.

The Woodland girls and Ridgefield boys will take part in the two-day SunDome Shootout in Yakima on Thursday and Friday.

Other teams in tournaments this week include Woodland boys at the Castle Rock Tournament, Seton Catholic boys and girls at the Walla Walla Tournament, and Hockinson girls at the Canby Tournament.

And it’s not all basketball this week either.

The Pacific Coast Wrestling Championships return to Hudson’s Bay on Friday and Saturday. The event will bring together top wrestlers and teams from around the area including about 10 local programs.

And the girls get their chance to showcase their wrestling skills at the first Best of the West women’s wrestling tournament Friday and Saturday at Mountain View High School.

More online

If you’re looking a place to find standings and schedules for area high school basketball teams and leagues, go to The Columbian’s prep sports page www.360preps.com.

League standings are located under the heading “league standings.” Once you click on the individual league, you’ll see current boys and girls standings for that league. Click on the individual school name and you’ll see the schedule and results to date for that team.

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