Tim Martinez: New year ushers in league basketball action for all

By Tim Martinez, Columbian Assistant sports editor

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The holidays are over, and it’s time to get back to work for Clark County teams.

That means a return to league play, and in some cases, the beginning of league play.

Tuesday is a full day of high school basketball with league games in the 4A and 3A Greater St. Helens Leagues, as well as the 1A Trico League. Union at Battle Ground boys tops the action.

The 2A GSHL opens league play in basketball on Thursday, and girls basketball on Friday.

The 3A GSHL will have a busy first week of 2012 with games Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. The Prairie girls, fresh off their win in the West Coast Jamboree in California, play at Camas on Saturday.

• Doug Pacey of Tacoma News Tribune reports that the Class 3A South Puget Sound League is working on an agreement with the Class 4A and 3A GSHL to play non-league football games in Weeks 3 and 4 next fall.

Both the 4A and 3A GSHL are expected to be six-team leagues next school year, with the 4A GSHL consisting of Battle Ground, Camas, Evergreen, Heritage, Skyview and Union, and the 3A GSHL consisting of Columbia River, Fort Vancouver, Hudson’s Bay, Kelso, Mountain View and Prairie.

That means that Weeks 1-4 likely will be reserved for non-league games and Weeks 5-9 for league play.

An agreement with the 3A SPSL could mean matchups of Lakes against Camas, Union or Skyview.

• With both the 4A and 3A tennis state championships being held in the Tri-Cities this spring, the 2011-12 school year likely will be the first in the past few years in which Clark County will not host a WIAA state championship. The WIAA has yet to announce where the state golf championships will be played.

But that could change in 2012-13.

The WIAA is again looking for sites to host the 4A, 3A and 2A state volleyball championships.

St. Martin’s University in Lacey hosted the 4A and 3A tournaments in November and The Evergreen State College in Olympia hosted the 2A event.

But the WIAA was not pleased with Evergreen’s side-by-side court alignment, WIAA assistant executive director Cindy Adsit told the Tacoma News-Tribune.

Among the alternative sites being considered is the Clark County Events Center in Ridgefield. Sites in Kennewick, Wentachee, as well as St. Martin’s, also were being considered.

The WIAA is also considering changes to the tournament format to keep matches from being played past midnight. Among the options being considered were reducing warm-up times, making matches best-of-three, a single-elimination bracket, and reducing the numbers of team in the state tournament bracket.

• Because Safeco Field in Seattle and Cheney Stadium in Tacoma were not available May 25-26, the 2012 Class 4A and 3A state baseball championships will be played at Gesa Stadium in Pasco, the home of the Class A Tri-City Dust Devils.

Tim Martinez is the assistant sports editor/prep coordinator for The Columbian. He can be reached at (360) 735-4538 or tim.martinez@columbian.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/360TMart