BY DOUG PACEY
Federal Way coach Danny Graham won’t have to wait long to see what his team is made of.
The Eagles are making the first trip the Class 4A girls basketball state tournament in 11 seasons and will face three-time defending champion Lewis & Clark in the first round on Wednesday at the Tacoma Dome.
"They are everything that we’re not," Graham said of the Tigers.
Seventh-ranked Federal Way and No. 3 Lewis & Clark were slotted in the loaded bottom half of the bracket that includes the top three ranked teams – No. 1 Pasco, No. 2 Kentwood and No. 3 Lewis and Clark.
"The lower bracket is definitely stacked," said Mount Tahoma coach Calvin McHenry, whose Thunderbirds drew Pasco in the opening round.
The Bulldogs reached the semifinals last season, but to get there again Pasco might have to go through No. 2 Kentwood in the quarterfinals. The Conquerors will play Kamiak in the first round.
But the big question surrounding Kentwood isn’t if it can win the state title, it’s "Will Lindsey Moore play?" Possibly the best player in the state, Moore injured her hamstring at practice on Thursday and didn’t play in the West Central District title game on Saturday – Kentwood lost, 52-50, to Auburn Riverside. Coach Keith Hennig said Moore will not participate in practice this week, giving her as much time as possible to heal what he said was a "slightly torn" hamstring.
"The trainer said she can play on it," Hennig said. "But she could run the risk of having a complete tear."
The top half of the bracket has a pair of games pitting ranked teams. Tenth-ranked Eastlake plays No. 5 Auburn Riverside at 9 a.m. and No 8 Bellarmine Prep meets No. 4 Snohomish at noon.
Auburn Riverside is going for its third straight state title, but first in 4A – the Ravens won back-to-back 3A championships in 2007 and 2008.
First-year coach Ed Rosin said he was pleased with the Ravens’ draw. A potential matchup with No. 6 Moses Lake looms in the quarterfinals.
"We saw Moses Lake when they played at our tournament (in December)," he said. "We got a good look at them and they’re a good team."
Bellarmine Prep coach Kevin Meines hopes there’s a reversal of fortune of last season’s first-round meeting with Snohomish that saw the Panthers win.
"We played this game in the first round last year at the same time," Meines said. "The only thing different is that we’re the visiting team. Hopefully the visiting team will win this time, too."
Doug Pacey: 253-597-8271