Crosspoint opens state B Thursday

One of the best rituals in Spokane, besides Bloomsday, is the State B tournament.

It’s the city’s chance to put its best foot forward and play host to thousands of fans coming from all around the state to watch their teams vie for a championship. RVs, vans, pickups, you name it are loaded to the rafters with family, friends and fans. The B is one of the best. It was fun in the old Spokane Coliseum with all the rich history of the past. Spokane’s Veterans Memorial Arena adds to that, although I guess the venue isn’t that new anymore, and then some.

I covered the B a few times while I was working for The Spokesman-Review in Spokane and  headed over to Spokane a couple more times with Crosspoint (then King’s West). I was there when the Warriors won their first trophy (fourth) in 2008.

Everywhere you go around town, from the valley to the north side, from the South Hill to downtown, it’s all about “The B.” Nearly every business marquee welcomes the “out-of-towners” and every hotel is full. If you’ve never been, you’re missing out. Guaranteed.

It’s been a few years since Crosspoint Academy has been and I know the Warriors are excited to find out what all the fuss is about. They’ll have their hands full bright and early with their first round opponent, the Sunnyside Christian Knights, Thursday at 10:30 a.m. Sunnyside is a tough matchup right off the bat, but I think the two teams are pretty even.

Let’s take a look at how they stack up.

Sunnyside is located about 35 miles southeast of Yakima, so the Knights didn’t have as long a trip to Spokane as Crosspoint did on Wednesday. The Knights are 21-2 overall and are riding a 19-game winning streak. They completely demolished their regional opponent, Nasalle 84-24. That’s not a typo. Sunnyside led 58-13 by halftime and backed off in the second half.

The Knights have just one senior in captain and guard Annie Brouwer, one junior and the rest are freshmen and sophomores. Needless to say they’ll be good for quite a while. Brouwer is second on the team in scoring (14.8 ppg) and are led by junior 6-foot forward Katelyn Banks (17.3) and the 10.1 points from frosh Sailor Liefke. Freshman Emily Banks is also a 6-0 forward, and I’m guessing she’s the younger sister to Katelyn, to give the Knights some height in the middle.

Crosspoint counters with 6-1 post Cailyn Cattell, who averaged 14.4 points, 9.4 rebounds on the season. Junior Kalie Nation, 6-0, can be an absolute terror on the boards, she was averaging 15-20 late in the season that really boosted the Warriors on both ends of the court and is a nice balance for Cattell. Guards Holly Bandara and sister Kailey can both get hot from 3-point range while Desere’e Doty and Emma Laurion can do it all. The Warriors are also on a 19-game winning streak and are 23-3 on the season.

We’ll update after their game Thursday, and depending on how things go we’ll provide live coverage of their games Friday and Saturday. You can find a live scoreboard on the WIAA website here.


State Hoops: Olympic facing big challenge in Squalicum

Olympic and Squalicum play Thursday at 12:15 p.m. at the Yakima SunDome in the Class 2A state boys basketball tournament.

Here is a story from the Bellingham Herald on Squalicum senior basketball player Chris Paz, a 6-foot-6, 285-pound forward. He’s not much of a scorer, but provides the Storm a much-needed inside presence. It should be an interesting matchup between Paz and Olympic’s two big men inside, Jumier Johnson and Damarius Johnson, who both stand 6-6.


WIAA responds over regional basketball controversy

Here’s what the WIAA has to say in response to the WIBCA’s annual airing of grievances about the regional basketball format:

This weekend, the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association’s final eight girls and boys basketball teams from each classification are headed to Spokane, Yakima or Tacoma for the 2015 Hardwood Classic. The WIAA congratulates these schools and all their student athletes on qualifying, and every other team around the state for a successful season.

How did the final teams get here? It started with a draw that took place back in mid-January. The draw followed criteria (page 5) established with the participation of all the WIAA member schools and approved by the WIAA Executive Board (a group comprised of 13 school personnel). While the basketball draw criteria is unique to its sport, it follows the same principles of the draw criteria for other WIAA team sports. That draw was reviewed and then approved following open discussion at the WIAA Executive Board meeting held January 25-26, 2015.

During that same Executive Board meeting, the Board supported the recommendation of the nine District Directors and the WIAA staff to withhold announcing the draws until the following district qualifying game was complete. This decision was based on reports last year of coaches deliberately coaching to lose in order to earn a more favorable match-up based on the draw. The Board discussed the potential impact on the ability of qualifying teams to scout and to make travel plans, but felt that the delay in the release was necessary to prevent coaches from manipulating the outcome of games similar to the unfortunate situation that occurred a few weeks later in Tennessee where game play was halted after it was clear one team was intentionally trying to lose. The Executive Board’s decision to withhold the draws is consistent with the sports of Volleyball, Tennis and Softball.

The draws determined the match-ups for the Regional round, now in its fifth year. The decision to move to the Regional format was made by the WIAA Executive Board representing member schools after a steady decline in State Basketball attendance over a 13-year period.

The WIAA Executive Board is familiar with the concerns of many basketball coaches and fans about the revised format. It is an emotionally-charged topic the Board will undoubtedly hear more about in subsequent years. The Board has made modifications to the Regional format over the last few years based on feedback from member schools. Among other changes, this includes the decision to make all regional contests single elimination so that fans can attend both boys and girls contests, and the decision that no qualifying school is allowed to play in its home gym.

With this revised format, the WIAA has seen a consistent increase in Regional round fan attendance since 2011, which indicates that these are meaningful games for the qualifying teams and their communities. Moving to the Regional format has led to fiscal stability for the benefit of ALL WIAA activities while also reducing the overlap of winter and spring sports, reducing the number of days out of school for participants and school support groups (bands, cheer, dance/drill teams, etc.) and maintaining a 16-entry tournament, which were several of the WIAA Executive Board’s objectives when the decision was made to revise the format of the tournament back in 2010.

No one solution was perfect, but the WIAA Executive Board believed that moving to the Regional format most successfully managed costs to make the tournament sustainable while also addressing a number of issues the WIAA was hearing from its many stakeholders.

The WIAA Executive Board has been approached by a group of superintendents who are exploring solutions to bring the 16-team tournament back. This group will meet with the WIAA Executive Board on March 22 to discuss their next steps.

This week the WIAA is focused on creating an exciting and memorable experience for the 96 basketball teams and communities that will be competing for their respective State Championships. Over the years, the WIAA State Basketball tournaments have provided endless highlights and entertainment for high school basketball enthusiasts, and this year is shaping up to add to that legacy.

All-Olympic League basketball teams finally arrive

All-Olympic League
Class 2A
MVP—Alex Barry, sr., Sequim.
Coaches of the year—Greg Glasser, Sequim; Devin Huff, Olympic.
Team sportsmanship—North Mason
First team—Makaleb McInnis, sr., Olympic; Calvin Dennis, sr., North Kitsap; Cole Rabedeaux, jr., North Kitsap; Damarius Johnson, sr., Olympic; Jumier Johnson, jr., Olympic.
Second team—Matt Becker, jr., North Mason; Daniel Burggraaf, sr., North Mason; David Perry, sr., North Kitsap; Ethan Graebner, sr., North Kitsap; Casey Winderl, sr., Bremerton.
MVPs—Drew Clark, sr., Kingston; Rebekah Baugh, sr., North Kitsap.
Coaches of the year—Laurie Shaw, Olympic; Don Farrell, North Mason.
Team sportsmanship—North Mason and Olympic.
First team—Olivia Williams, sr., Olympic; Katie Campana, so., Olympic; Katelyn Carper, sr., Kingston; Mikaela Shumaker, sr., North Mason; Molly Lemmon, jr., North Kitsap.
Second team—Caitlin Stofferahn, sr., Sequim; Adrienne Haggerty, so., Sequim; Aileen Kaye, jr., Kingston; Olivia Selembo, fr., North Kitsap; Katyn Flores, so., Port Angeles; Danielle Monzon, so., Olympic; Madde Boe, jr., Port Angeles; Victoria Cummins, sr., Sequim.
Class 1A
MVP—Orion Weller, sr., Chimacum.
Coach of the year—Jim Eldridge, Chimacum.
Team sportsmanship—Port Townsend.
First team—Ricky Holguin, sr., Klahowya; Wiley Hesselgrave, jr., Coupeville; Chris Adkins, sr., Port Townsend; Deterius Kelsall, fr., Port Townsend; John Carthum, sr., Chimacum; Brendon Naylor, sr., Chimacum; Ryan Gotchall, sr., Klahowya.
MVP—Makana Stone, jr., Coupeville.
Coach of the year—David King, Coupeville.
First team—Izzy Severns, sr., Klahowya; Julie Myers, sr., Coupeville; Kiersten Snyder, sr., Chimacum; Kaitlyn Meek, fr., Port Townsend; Madeline Strasburg, sr., Coupeville; Mechelle Nisbert, so., Chimacum.

State basketball draw revealed

The Class 2B/1B tourney draws are complete.
Crosspoint drew Sunnyside Christian, which finished the season ranked No. 3 in the state poll. They will play Thursday at the Spokane Arena at 10:30 a.m.
Here’s the bracket.

The Class 2A/1A draw is also done.
Olympic drew Squalicum of Bellingham. They will play Thursday at the Yakima SunDome at 12:15 p.m.
Here’s that bracket.

You can see all the state brackets here.

Saturday’s regional basketball updates

Olympic is going to Yakima, clinching a state berth for the first time since 1993 with a 45-43 regional win over East Valley of Yakima.
Crosspoint punched its ticket to state in Spokane by beating Shoreline Christian 44-21 in the Class 1B girls basketball regional at Mount Tahoma. You can read that story here.
The North Kitsap girls saw their season come to an end with a 54-35 loss to Ellensburg in Yakima.
The Central Kitsap girls saw their season come to an end with a 71-39 loss to top-ranked Lynnwood at the Class 3A regional.

Tanking gets two teams tossed from playoffs

This happened in Tennessee where two girls basketball teams were tossed from the playoffs after they tried to tank a district game.
The winner had to face a state power while the loser got to avoid that team until the championships. You can read about the details here.
Apparently scenarios such as these was why the WIAA didn’t announce the regional brackets until late on Saturday after all the district games were played.

Where, who and when Kitsap basketball teams play

The Olympic boys play East Valley of Yakima at Eisenhower High School in Yakima on Saturday at 2 p.m.
The Olympic girls play Mark Morris of Longview at WF West High School in Chehalis on Friday at 6 p.m.
The North Kitsap girls play Ellensburg at Eisenhower High School in Yakima on Saturday at 4 p.m.
The Central Kitsap girls play Lynwood at Everett Community College on Saturday at 6 p.m.
The Crosspoint girls play Shoreline Academy at Mount Tahoma High School on Saturday at 10 a.m.