Of the four Whatcom County basketball teams that earned trips to Yakima for the state tournament next weekend, three of them will face a team that finished the regular season ranked among the top 10 in their respective classifications in the state quarterfinals.
The Lynden Christian girls, who finished the season ranked No. 1 in Class 1A, were the only area team that will face an unranked opponent on Thursday, March 3.
After the conclusion of the regional round on Saturday, Feb. 27, the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association on Sunday, Feb. 28, released the the draw for the remainder of the brackets, which will be played at the Yakima Valley SunDome and wrap up Saturday, March 6, with the state championship games.
Here’s a quick look at what lies ahead next weekend:
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No. 3 Lynden (21-3) will face No. 8 Black Hills (21-3) at 2 p.m. Thursday. The Lions advanced to the quarterfinals wilth a 67-39 regional win over Issaquah Liberty, while Wolves beat Clarkston 52-46 to advance.
The winner will move on to face either Mark Morris (18-8) or No. 4 Ellensburg, while the other side of the backet will feature first-round games between Shorecrest and Washougal and No. 1 Spokane East Valley (20-3) vs. No. 9 Anacortes (17-7).
The top-ranked Lyncs (22-2) will need to wait until the final game of the day on Thursday, as they drew a 9 p.m. quarterfinal against Cashmere (18-5). LC advanced with an impressive 72-34 regional round win over Charles Wright, while the Bulldgos used an almost equally lopsided 61-25 win over Coupeville to advance.
The winner will get either No. 10 Kalama (19-5) or No. 5 Granger (20-3) in the state semifinals.
Nooksack Valley (19-9) is on the opposite side of the bracket and will face No. 6 Zillah (17-5) in a 5:30 p.m. quarterfinal Thursday. The Pioneers made it to Yakima for the first time since 2010 with a 47-39 win over La Center, while the Leopards made it with a 51-31 regional win over Chewelah Jenkins.
No. 3 King’s (19-5) and Burbank Columbia (19-5) also are on the top half of the bracket.
No. 2 Lynden (23-2) — the only Whatcom County boys’ team to reach the quarterfinals this year — will play No. 10 Wapato (19-4) in a 5:30 p.m. quarterfinal Thursday. The Lions beat Liberty 57-51 in the regional round, while the Wolves battled past Lindbergh 57-55.
The winner will face either No. 3 Clarkston (22-1) or Woodland (17-8) in the semifinals, while the other side of the bracket features games between No. 1 River Ridge (22-2) and Shorecrest (17-8) and Ellensburg (14-10) vs. Tumwater (17-6).