Thursday, April 22, 2021
April 22, 2021

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Three-game showcase at Battle Ground on Saturday as regional basketball matchups are announced

High schools: Tim Martinez

By , Columbian Assistant Sports Editor

There are a lot of people who don’t like this regional-round format for the state basketball tournament. They long for the days when all 16 teams that qualified for state advanced to the final tournament site.

And it’s fine that they should miss those days. I miss the days when college students could pay $500 for an entire term of their education, instead of just one class … at a junior college.

But those days are gone. I’ve found it’s best to move forward.

Consider this: The last time the WIAA sent all 16 basketball teams to the final state tournament site was in 2010 – a decade ago.

So the kids who will be playing this weekend for a right to advance to “The Dome” were in preschool to second grade the last time all 16 teams advanced to “The Dome.”

To them, the current format is very much the norm. They aren’t missing a thing. You can’t miss something so never really got to experience.

So it’s up to the rest of us – you know, the adults – to set aside whimsical memories of yore and focus on the positives.

One advantage of the regional-round format is it makes state tournament games more accessible to fans.

Instead of first-round games played in the middle of the day on a Wednesday two or even four hours away, many of these games are played on the weekend in our own backyard.

For fans of 4A and 3A Greater St. Helens teams who have had to caravan up and down I-5 the past two weeks to attend bi-district games, that should come as a relief.

Battle Ground High School has been a great host site of regional basketball games in recent years, hosting anywhere from two to five regional games.

If you’ve ever been to one of those regionals, you know it provides a great day of prep basketball.

Earlier last week, it looked like Southwest Washington was going to a gold mine of regional basketball action, with as many as nine teams playing close to home.

As it turned out, we’ll get four regional basketball games in the area for 4A-1A – three in Battle Ground, one in Longview — which still makes for some good viewing.

But if you really like hoops, head to Mark Morris High School on Saturday where Battle Ground boys will cap a sextupleheader of playoff action, mostly made up of 2B and 1B teams.

As a reminder of the format, winners of 1-8 games advance directly to the state quarterfinals, losers of 9-16 games are out, and all others advance to the round-of-12 games at the Tacoma Dome (4A/3A), Yakima SunDome (2A/1A) or Spokane Arena (2B/1B).

Here are the local games involving 4A-1A schools this weekend:

4A BOYS: No. 8 Gonzaga Prep vs. No. 1 Union, 2 p.m. Saturday at Battle Ground HS. It’s the second straight year the Titans earn the top seed in 4A and sixth straight year they’ll play a regional game in Southwest Washington – fourth at Battle Ground.

4A BOYS: No. 14 Jackson vs. No. 11 Skyview, 4 p.m. Saturday at Battle Ground HS. Storm entered last week hoping to secure a top-8 seed and a guaranteed trip to the Tacoma Dome. Now, they’ll have to win their way there.

4A BOYS: No. 13 Inglemoor vs. No. 12 Battle Ground, 8 p.m. Saturday at Mark Morris HS. Battle Ground can’t play at Battle Ground, so it’s Mark Morris for a second straight year for the Tigers.

1A BOYS: No. 15 Bear Creek vs. No. 10 La Center, 6 p.m. Saturday at Battle Ground HS. Wildcats were slotted to play Seton Catholic, but WIAA avoids matchup of league rivals in 9-16 games. So La Center gets Bear Creek from Redmond.

Eight other local teams, and their fans, will be traveling this weekend for regional games.

4A GIRLS: No. 7 Union vs. No. 2 Todd Beamer, 8 p.m. Friday at Auburn Mountainview HS. Meg Wochnick wrote in her game story on Saturday that we could see another Titan-vs.-Titan matchup in coming weeks. She probably didn’t think it would happen six days later, but here we are.

4A GIRLS: No. 14 Camas vs. No. 11 Lake Stevens, 4 p.m. Saturday at Jackson HS, Everett. Camas heads to regionals after tough back-to-back losses at bi-district. It’s time to regroup for the Papermakers.

3A GIRLS: No. 14 Hudson’s Bay vs. No. 11 Meadowdale, 6 p.m. Saturday at Issaquah HS. Eagles made it this far last year, when it was their first state berth in more than a decade. Now they want to take the next step and get to the dome.

3A GIRLS: No. 16 Prairie vs. No. 9 Garfield, 4 p.m. Saturday at Sammamish HS, Bellevue. RPI doesn’t really favor teams that schedule tough opponents, especially out-of-state opponents. But Falcons played those tough games to get ready for state. Being a 16 seed seems off for Falcons, but there is just one remedy to that – win your regional game.

3A BOYS: No. 5 Evergreen vs. No. 4 Garfield, 6 p.m. Saturday at Sammamish HS, Bellevue. The Plainsmen came really close to being part of the Battle Ground regional, but the loss in the bi-district title game slipped them from No. 4 to No. 5 seed. Evergreen is still guaranteed a trip to the Tacoma Dome.

2A BOYS: No. 16 Woodland vs. No. 9 Black Hills, 6 p.m. Saturday at Tumwater HS. Not many people thought a couple of weeks ago the Beavers would be in this position. Can they keep the magic going and get to Yakima?

1A BOYS: No. 7 King’s Way Christian vs. No. 2 Cashmere, 4 p.m. Saturday at Wenatchee HS. King’s Way is assured of a return trip to Yakima. Now, the Knights look to shorten their trip back into the state title game.

1A BOYS: No. 16 Seton Catholic vs. No. 9 La Salle, 2 p.m. Saturday at Eisenhower HS, Yakima. Cougars are coming off a huge win over King’s Way and near-win against La Center. That should get them ready for this 9-16 matchup on the road.

1B GIRLS: No. 14 Columbia Adventist at No. 11 Lummi, 8 p.m. Saturday at Mount Vernon HS. Kodiaks earned a state berth with a 62-15 win over Mary M. Knight on Saturday.

So get out and enjoy these games. There should be some good ones.

And if you have to travel, maybe stop and pick up a cup coffee.

Just don’t complain about the days when that coffee didn’t cost you $5. I guarantee you’ll get an “OK, Boomer” glance back from the barista.

Tim Martinez is the assistant sports editor/prep coordinator for The Columbian. He can be reached at (360) 735-4538, or follow his Twitter handle @360TMart.


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