We're going to take time this week to talk about Trico League basketball.
Now, the Class 3A Greater St. Helens League got its league schedule kicked off last week. But the 4A and 2A GSHLs won't open league play until after the first year of the year.
But by the end of this week, every Trico team will be at least one-third of its way through its league schedule.
There was no time to wait around in the Trico this season. With King's Way Christian and Seton Catholic opting up to join the Trico this season, the Trico League consists of 10 teams.
So, in order for every team to play each Trico opponent twice, it means an 18-game league schedule. High school teams in Washington are limited to 20 regular season games.
Some Trico teams have opted to use their two non-league games to play holiday tournaments during the week between Christmas and New Year's. That means all of their other games are counting games.
Teams in other leagues can play non-league games to gain experience and work out the rough edges of their game. When non-league games are not an option, many coaches will choose to limit early season games so they can spend more time in practice.
And that's this week, a week when many schools are already out on their holiday break, several Trico League basketball teams will play three league games.
The Toledo boys team leads the Trico with a 6-0 record. By the end of this week, the Indians will have eight league games under their belts. Kalama, 4-0 in league, will play three games this week. The last one will be the biggest.
That comes on Friday when Kalama plays at Toledo. Kalama and Toledo are not only both undefeated, but they lead the league in lopsided wins. The winner of Friday's meeting likely will be the favorite to capture the league title.
And let's not forget about Castle Rock. The Rockets are 5-0. But, quite frankly, the Rockets should be 5-0, playing five games against the bottom half of the league.
If Castle Rock wants to show it deserves to be mentioned with the league front-runners, it will have to prove Tuesday when the Rockets travel to play Kalama.
Like the boys races, we should get a better picture of how the girls league race will develop after this week.
Heading into the week, Castle Rock (5-0), La Center (4-0) and Woodland (4-0) lead the league.
All three teams will meet each other this week.
La Center plays at Woodland on Monday, Woodland plays at Castle Rock on Thursday, and the week ends with Castle Rock playing at La Center on Friday.
Basketball standings in all four Southwest Washington leagues 1A and above are updated daily on The Columbian's website at www.360preps.com. Fans can also link to each team's results and schedule there, too.
Next up on my to-do list is putting together scoring leaders for Southwest Washington, which I hope to have completed by Christmas.