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Basketball: Four things to watch at the 4A, 3A state tournaments

Post by Doug Pacey / The News Tribune on Feb. 29, 2012 at 4:30 pm with No Comments »
February 29, 2012 4:30 pm

1. METRO LEAGUE RETURN TO DOMINANCE?
Used to be, it seemed like the Class 3A boys basketball state tournament was an extension of the Metro League playoffs and teams from around the state were invited as fodder for early rounds in the tourney.

From 1997 to 2009, a Metro team won state 11 times and played in the finals the two years it didn’t win.

But since a Peyton Siva-led Franklin team was crowned in 2009, Metro teams haven’t been able to get past the semifinals. Can second-ranked Seattle Prep, No. 3 Rainier Beach or No. 4 O’Dea end that trend?

2. 4A BOYS FIELD ‘WIDE OPEN’
Remember when everyone could point to Ferris being the clear-cut favorite to win the Class 4A boys basketball championship in 2007 and 2008? Or Federal Way in 2009?

That’s not the case this week.

The consensus among coaches at the tournament draw on Sunday was the state trophy is up for grabs.

“It’s wide open,” Bellarmine Prep coach Bernie Salazar said.

Sure, Davis of Yakima and Bellarmine Prep have spent time atop the state rankings this season, but neither is a lock reach the finals. Strong cases can be made for all eight teams, including unranked Bothell and Union.

3. EARLY SHOWDOWNS
It happens every year – championship-caliber teams meet early in the tournament.

This year is no different.

Three quarterfinal matchups jump off the brackets as possible thrillers and the first one has game-of-the-day potential.

Metro League rivals second-ranked Seattle Prep (22-5) and No. 4 O’Dea (20-7) face off at 12:15 p.m. in the 3A boys tournament.

The 3A girls tourney offers another intriguing matchup when second-ranked Kamiakin (23-0) takes on No. 3 Franklin (22-3), which carries an 18-game winning streak, at 3:45 p.m.

In a 4A boys nightcap, second-ranked Central Valley (20-3) plays No. 3 Garfield (19-5) at 9 p.m.

4. GIRL POWER
Individual star power is lacking in the boys tournaments – where have you gone Tony Wroten, Gary Bell, DaVonte Lacy and Brett Kingma? – but there will be plenty on the girls court at the Tacoma Dome.

Prairie guard Heather Corral signed with Washington and Kamiakin guard Khadidja Toure is headed to Oregon State. Woodinville center Ali Forde will play basketball and volleyball at Idaho.

Eastlake forward Kenda Morrison signed with UC Santa Barbara and Jackson post Kristin Stoffel signed with Seattle University.

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