Saturday, April 1, 2023
April 1, 2023

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Tim Martinez: Much left to be decided in hunt for regional basketball berths

High School Sports

By , Columbian Assistant Sports Editor

Three local teams are into the regional round of the state basketball tournaments. Another 23 teams remain in the hunt for a berth.

And from this point forward, there are no easy matchups.

The three teams that clinched berths last weekend — the Camas girls and boys and Seton Catholic girls — learned that already.

On Friday, the Camas girls (19-3) were the first local team to secure a regional berth with a hard-fought, defensive battle against Bellarmine Prep of Tacoma that the Papermakers won 43-39.

“Some of the unselfishness stuff we’ve done this year, it feels like it’s defined this team,” Camas coach Scott Thompson said. “Nobody cares who gets the credit out here. But ultimately, we move the ball well offensively most nights, but defensively is where you have to be one. And our girls were five girls in synch tonight.”

And the Papermakers needed every bit of team unity to get past Bellarmine, a team with which Camas was very familiar, having played the Lions five times in the past two seasons.

“The South Puget Sound League is tough,” Thompson said. “When we looked at the league and said ‘We’re going to get the (No. 3 seed),’ well, the 1, 2 or 3, it could have been any one of them (Sumner, Emerald Ridge or Bellarmine). And we knew all three of them were really good basketball teams. … That’s one of the best leagues in the state, and ultimately a win against a South Puget Sound League team is a good win no matter who you get.”

Camas faces Sumner next in the bi-district semifinal on Wednesday night at Curtis High School in University Place. The Papermakers likely will need to win that game to get a top-four seed into the regional round, which would allow Camas to play close to home.

The Camas boys (17-5) had an easier time in its regional-clinching win over Bellarmine Prep, winning 75-57 on Saturday. But the Papermakers also face a bi-district semifinal against Curtis, ranked third by the Associated Press, on Thursday. On the other side of the bracket is No. 1 Federal Way and No. 4 Olympia.

In the 1A girls district tournament, Seton Catholic (20-2) secured a spot in the regional round of state by rallying from a seven-point deficit in the second half to beat Hoquiam 56-45.

The win was the Cougars’ 19th in their past 20 games and earned Seton its first berth in the district championship game. Seton will face No. 4 Montesano on Friday night in Castle Rock.

Still, coach Joe Potter is learning what his team can do.

“My problem is I don’t know how good we are,” Potter said. “I’ve said that all season. But we keep winning, and I know we are a pretty good ball club. (Hoquiam) is a good scrappy team, good coach and all that. It’s a fun time of year right now.”

Local teams in the loser-out brackets of the 4A and 3A bi-district tournaments face the same path to the regional round.

They must win loser-out games – girls on Tuesday, boys on Wednesday. If they do that, they will get two chances to win one more game to secure a regional a berth.

In 4A girls, Union (16-6) plays at Decatur and Skyview (14-7) plays at Olympia on Tuesday. Also Tuesday in the 3A bracket, Evergreen (15-6) hosts Central Kitsap and Prairie (11-9) plays at Gig Harbor.

In 4A boys, Battle Ground (13-8) plays at Sumner and Union (16-6) plays at Kentridge on Wednesday. In the 3A, Mountain View (12-8) hosts Capital and Kelso (14-7) plays at North Thurston.

In the 2A girls district tournament, Wednesday’s winner-to-regional/loser-out games will feature 2A Greater St. Helens League matchups: Mark Morris (16-7) vs. Woodland (17-6) and Ridgefield (12-11) vs. Columbia River (16-5).

In 2A boys, R.A. Long (18-4) faces Tumwater and Mark Morris (21-1) meets Black Hills on Tuesday for spots in the district title game on Friday at Hudson’s Bay.

Columbia River (9-13) faces Woodland (14-8) on Tuesday at Fort Vancouver, and Ridgefield (11-10) meets W.F. West in Tumwater in loser-out games. Winners of those games will play semifinal losers for regional berths on Thursday.

In 1A boys, King’s Way Christian (13-8) hosts Hoquiam in a district semifinal on Tuesday. If the Knights win, they will play for the district title on Saturday at a site to be determined.

Also on Tuesday, La Center (10-11) meets Tenino and Castle Rock (8-11) plays Seton Catholic (14-7) in loser-out games. Those teams need to win three times this week to claim the district’s third and final berth to regionals.

In 1A girls, King’s Way Christian (12-8) hosts Columbia-White Salmon (12-8) on Wednesday in a loser-out game. The winner of that game will play for third place on Friday at Castle Rock.