3A girls basketball district tournament breakdown

SCHEDULE

All games on Wednesday, Shorecrest at Ferndale, 7 p.m., Marysville Pilchuck at Glacier Peak, 7 p.m., Stanwood at Mountlake Terrace, 7 p.m., Meadowdale at Everett, 7 p.m.

FAVORITE: GLACIER PEAK

The 3A district tournament has the potential to be the most competitive district tournament in the state, boasting six teams capable of winning the title. If there is a favorite, it would have to be the Grizzlies. They are the one team that has the experience of playing in the Tacoma Dome a season ago and finished the season playing some of its best basketball. Glacier Peak finished the regular season 11-2 in league and 18-2 overall. The Grizzlies only slip-ups were two-point defeats at the hands of Shorewood and Mountlake Terrace. The Grizzlies should get past Marysville Pilchuck in the first round, but things get really tough after that, facing either a young up-and-coming Shorecrest team or a very talented Ferndale squad.

Should the Grizzlies trip along the way, Ferndale, Shorecrest, Mountlake Terrace, Stanwood and Everett all have the talent to seize the opportunity and advance to the state tournament. Only one team will win — and three advance to state regionals —- but the real winners in this tournament is the fans.

DARK HORSE: SHORECREST

The Scots (10-3 league, 15-5 overall) come in as the No. 3 seed from the Wesco South, again speaking to the depth of the tournament. Shorecrest opened the season jam packed with freshmen and sophomores, but never played like it. Against Wesco 3A teams not named Glacier Peak, the Scots finished 10-1. That said, if the Scots get past Ferndale in the first round, they likely will face the Grizzlies for a third time. Despite their youth, the Scots biggest asset is the skill and leadership of senior Onyie Chibuogwu. The Scots will need every bit of it if they hope to advance.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Wesco 3A South is so deep that the favorite to win the tournament, Glacier Peak, lost to Shorewood, which didn’t even make the tournament.

PLAYER TO WATCH

Sidney Rielly, W, Everett

Rielly is without question the most gifted offensive player in the tournament. Topping 30 points hasn’t been a problem for Rielly this season, and the Seagulls will need more games like that if they are to go on a run similar to the one they put together last year, which landed Everett a district championship. Rielly’s ability to score both inside and outside makes her one of the most difficult players in the area for defenses to game plan against. She has proven throughout her high school career that she is a big-game player, but the Seagulls also will need players such as Sidney’s younger sister, Darian, and sophomore Sydney Taggart to come through offensively if they are to get through to regionals.

GAME WE WANT TO SEE

Glacier Peak vs. Everett

Barring upsets, which are certainly possible, the most likely place for these two teams to meet is in the district-championship game. Should it happen, fans can only hope the game is as good as the two teams’ first meeting. The Grizzlies edged the Seagulls 72-71 at Everett Community College on Jan. 23. The game was an instant classic, not just because of its close nature, but also because the level of play on both sides was so high. Each team made big shot after big shot and the game came down to which team had the ball last, which unfortunately for the Seagulls was Glacier Peak. Sidney Rielly’s pull-up jumper gave Everett a 71-69 lead with less than 10 seconds to play, but her efforts were foiled by Glacier Peak’s Sarah Smith, who delivered the game-winning 3-pointer as time expired.

PREDICTION

Glacier Peak over Mountlake Terrace in the district championship (both teams to regionals). Shorecrest over Everett in the winner-to-regionals/loser out third-place game.

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