It’s not your imagination. The 3A Greater St. Helens League basketball season is rapidly coming to a close.
The league was scheduled to close league play with games this week on Tuesday and Friday, plus one more next Tuesday.
But the possibilities of tiebreakers forced the league to move up the conclusion of league play with games this week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Jason Castro, athletic director at Heritage and the league president, said all ties in the 3A GSHL would be played out.
That’s because every seed into the 3A bi-district tournament has a distinct value.
The No. 1 seed from the 3A GSHL moves into the double-elimination portion of the bi-district tournament and gets to host an opening-round game in the bi-district.
The No. 2 seed also gets to host an opening-round game, but that game will be a loser-out game. The No. 2 seed must win three games to advance to the regional round of the state tournament, with the first two being loser-out games.
And the No. 3 team must play Bainbridge — both boys and girls — in a play-in game to reach the district tournament. That play-in game will be Feb. 8 at Tumwater.
In the boys standings, Kelso’s win Monday over Mountain View puts both teams on a likely path to be co-league champions. If that’s the case, the Hilanders and Thunder would play Monday at Union or Skyview to determine the top two seeds.
There is also a possibility of Evergreen, Heritage and Prairie finishing in a three-way tie for third place. That possibility becomes more likely if Prairie beats Evergreen on Wednesday.
However, if Evergreen beats Prairie on Wednesday, the Plainsmen likely will be the No. 3 seed to bi-district, barring an upset win by Heritage over Kelso or Mountain View.
Things are bit clearer on the girls side, and could be crystal clear after Wednesday’s games.
Evergreen hosts Prairie on Wednesday. The winner of that game will lock up the No. 1 seed to bi-district.
If Prairie loses, Prairie will be the No. 2 seed. However if Evergreen, loses, Evergreen might need to beat Kelso on Friday to avoid falling all the way to the No. 3 seed.
Kelso plays at Heritage on Wednesday. If Kelso wins, Kelso will clinch at least the No. 3 seed, with a chance to move up to No. 2 should Evergreen fall to Prairie.
If Heritage beats Kelso, Heritage could secure the No. 3 seed with a win over last-place Mountain View on Friday.
That basically makes Wednesday’s Kelso-Heritage game a playoff game.
Tim Martinez is the assistant sports editor/prep coordinator for The Columbian. He can be reached at 360-735-4538, email@example.com or follow him on Twitter or Instagram at @360TMart.