Paul Valencia: Clark County gets double its pleasure

Paul Valencia: High School Sports

By Paul Valencia, Columbian High School Sports Reporter



Prairie and Skyview are roughly nine miles apart. Probably too long for a parade route.

Instead, maybe the teams could throw a big party at Skyview High School. Then limos could take everyone to the after-party at Prairie. Skyview gets to host the first party because they played earlier in evening Saturday. By late night, they were in chill mode. The Falcons get to host the after-party because they played until almost 11 p.m. Saturday. They are used to the late nights.

Or maybe both teams show up to a neutral site, say Esther Short Park in downtown Vancouver, and we invite every basketball fan in Southwest Washington for a celebration.

The players can sign autographs.

The coaches can sign book deals.

The mayor can sign a declaration, calling it girls basketball day in Vancouver, Washington.

That would be Vancouver, the state capital of girls basketball.

The two biggest trophies for the two biggest classifications in the sport are now in our city. Skyview is supreme in the 4A landscape. Prairie is all powerful in the 3A world.

Oh, and make sure the teams bring those trophies. The Stanley Cup was in Vancouver last summer, remember? Well, of course you have forgotten. Who cares about the Cup now? We have two state championship trophies to show off!

We’ll take pictures.

We’ll post them on Twitter.

Then post ads asking all the other teams in Washington if they would like Skyview and Prairie to hold clinics for them. You know, to show them how it’s done.

Years ago, Clark County had a first- and second-place finish, with Prairie beating Battle Ground in the 1994 championship game. That was before my time here, but I can imagine the atmosphere was crazy. Two teams from the same school district battling for a state championship.

But Saturday in the Tacoma Dome was an entirely different kind of crazy.

Skyview makes its own history with its first state title on a last-second shot. About four hours later, Prairie controls most of its title game to add to its history. That makes six state championships for the Falcons.

It is probably a good thing that spring sports must wait another week before games are played. There is no non-league baseball game, no soccer match, that can compare to the twin titles in Tacoma. We need a week to let it soak in, to catch our breath, to go over it in our minds.

I also feel a little sorry for the Union boys basketball team. All they did was go 2-1 in the Class 4A boys tournament to finish third. Their loss, in the semifinals, came by one point. And Jordan Chatman hit the longest shot in state tournament history. (OK, technically, I cannot prove that. But it was from close to one end of the court to the other. I’m going to say it is doubtful anyone made a shot a few inches longer than that one.)

The Columbian respects what the Titans accomplished and they will remember we had plenty of coverage of their state championship in 2010 but they were the victims of bad timing. In many years, a third-place basketball finish for a 4A or 3A program would be front-page news on the Sports section.

Not this year. Move over, boys, the champions have arrived.

Speaking of our front page, here is a shout-out to the editors back in the office who came up with the design and headline. “Titles for two in Tacoma.” With equal-size photos and headlines for each champion.

Not only was the centerpiece shared, but most of our printed newspapers had my longer Prairie game story. The game ended late, and I am grateful to the editors who pushed their deadlines to make sure these incredible moments for Clark County sports made the next day’s paper.

The Falcons and the Storm earned more than a day’s worth of celebration.

I’m no mayor. But this is Skyview and Prairie week. Or, if you insist, Prairie and Skyview week. They share the billing.

Two teams. Two championships. One city.

Paul Valencia covers high school sports for The Columbian. He can be reached at 360-735-4557 or e-mail at