High School Basketball

Defending champs from Lynden Christian receive another tough draw

Less than 24 hours after handing second-ranked Montesano its first loss of the season in the regional round of the Class 1A State Tournament, the defending state champion Lynden Christian girls’ basketball team learned that things won’t get much easier in the state quarterfinals on Thursday, March 5, at the Yakima Valley SunDome.

The Lyncs drew one-loss Nine Mile Falls Lakeside in what will be a battle of the two teams that finished tied for third in The Associated Press’ final Class 1A girls’ rankings of the year.

In all, six Whatcom County teams advanced through the single-elimination regional round of their respective state tournaments, and all learned who they will be facing in Thursday’s quarterfinals when the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association released its final brackets for the Hardwood Classics on Sunday, March 1.

In the 2A boys’ bracket, Sehome will face River Ridge in a quarterfinal that will be followed by Squalicum’s game against Olympic. The Lynden girls, meanwhile will face Chehalis W.F. West in the 2A quarterfinals. The Lynden Christian boys will face Naches Valley in a 1A game, while Lummi drew Entiat as a 1B quarterfinal opponent.

The remainder of the 2A and 1A boys’ and girls’ state tournaments will be played at the SunDome, while Lummi will head to Spokane Arena for the 1B tournament.

The LC and Lakeside girls’ last state tournament meeting came in the semifinals of the 2008 state tournament, as the Lyncs won 49-29 on their way to a state title. The Lyncs (19-4), who beat Montesano 49-33 on Saturday, will attempt to advance to the state semifinals for the fifth time in six years when the two teams square off at 2 p.m. on Thursday. Lakeside (22-1) beat Naches Valley 63-44 in its regional on Saturday and will attempt to advance to the semifinals for the first time since that 2008 meeting.

The winner of Thursday’s quarterfinal will face either Zillah (19-4) or No. 9 Cascade Christian (20-3) in a 5:30 p.m. semifinal on Friday, March 6. The other side of the bracket features a quarterfinal between Bellevue Christian (18-7) and No. 5 Cashmere (20-2) and another between No. 6 Granger (22-2) and top-ranked King’s (20-3). The championship game is scheduled for 3 p.m. Saturday, March 7.

On paper, the Sehome and Squalicum boys teams appear to have reasonable shots to advance to the state semifinals of the 2A tournament, as neither is playing a team that finished ranked in the top 10.

River Ridge (20-5) advanced with a 75-52 win over Wapato on Friday, Feb. 27, to reach the quarterfinals for the first time since 2011. Sehome (17-8) reached its first quarterfinal since 2002 with its 67-60 win over Washington on Friday. The winner of the 10:30 a.m. quarterfinal will face either top-ranked Mark Morris (22-2) or No. 6 Anacortes (19-5) in a 3:45 p.m. semifinal on Friday.

Squalicum (17-7) advanced to the other side of the bracket with its 68-59 win over White River on Saturday, reaching the quarterfinals for the first time since 2011. The Storm will face Olympic (18-8), which advanced to the state quarterfinals for the first time since 1983 with its 45-43 win over Yakima East Valley on Saturday. The winner of the 12:15 p.m. quarterfinals will face either second-ranked Clarkston (23-1) or Fife (16-9) in a 5:30 p.m. semifinal Friday. The 2A boys’ championship game is scheduled for 9 p.m. Saturday.

The Lynden girls’ basketball team won’t have to wait long to see the team that beat it 52-35 in the semifinals of last year’s Class 2A State Tournament, as the Lions drew the second-ranked Bearcats in a quarterfinal scheduled for 7:15 p.m. W.F. West (20-3) went on to win the 2A title last spring and took a step toward defending that title with a 50-33 regional victory over Burlington-Edison on Saturday, Feb. 28. Seventh-ranked Lynden (17-7), which went on to place third at state last year, advanced back to the quarterfinals with a 53-43 win over Black Hills on Saturday.

The Lions-Bearcats winner will face either Sammamish (21-5) or fifth-ranked Spokane East Valley (19-2) in a 9 p.m. semifinal on Friday, March 6. The other half of the bracket features a quarterfinal between third-ranked White River (22-3) and top-ranked Mark Morris (22-2) and one between River Ridge (15-9) and Ellensburg (18-4). The championship game is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday, March 7.

Unlike the LC girls, the sixth-ranked Lyncs boys will not face a ranked opponent in the state quarterfinals of the 1A boys’ tournament. Naches Valley (15-10) beat Chelan 41-39 in Friday’s regional to advance to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2012. LC (16-8) beat La Center 60-42 in Saturday’s regional and will try to advance to its third semifinal in four years.

The winner of the 3:45 p.m. quarterfinal will face either Castle Rock (16-8) or top-ranked Zillah (23-1) in a 7:15 p.m. semifinal on Friday. The other half of the bracket features a quarterfinal between 10th-ranked King’s Way Christian (19-6) and No. 3 Vashon Island (22-1) and another between No. 5 La Salle (21-3) and No. 2 King’s (22-2). The championship game is set for 5 p.m. Saturday.

Top-ranked Lummi (25-0) drew Entiat (22-1) as a quarterfinal opponent in the Class 1B State Tournament in a top-five matchup scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Spokane Arena. The fifth-ranked Tigers beat Tulalip Heritage 74-40 in the regional round on Saturday to advance past the first round for the first time since 2010. They’ll attempt to advance to the semifinals for the first time since 2008 and only the second time in 14 state appearances. The Blackhawks, who are coming off a 58-42 regional win over Mount Rainier Lutheran on Saturday, will attempt to make it to the state semifinals for the first time in program history.

The winner will play the quarterfinal winner between Seattle Lutheran (20-6) and Cusick (16-9) in a 7:15 p.m. semifinal on Friday. The other side of the bracket will feature No. 4 Neah Bay (18-3) playing No. 2 Pomeroy (21-3) in the quarterfinals, as well Curlew (19-5) and Shorewood Christian (10-11). The championship game is scheduled for 5 p.m. Saturday.

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