By Aaron Lommers Herald Writer
After watching Wesco teams play basketball, I wasn’t scared for a moment to put my faith in them.
It is not often that I’m right at all, let alone four times in one day. So Thursday was a big day for me.
And I let my fellow Herald Writer David Krueger and my boss, Prep Editor Aaron Swaney, hear all about it.
When the state tournament brackets were released last Sunday night I saw the potential for Wesco to have a really big quarterfinal round. The Arlington boys drew Richland, the Jackson boys drew Central Valley, the Arlington girls had Gonzaga Prep and the Lake Stevens girls faced Kentwood.
Jackson was undefeated, so in my mind that made them a favorite against pretty much everyone. Lake Stevens played Kentwood once earlier in the season and won by 18. So I figured the Vikings had the edge too.
That left only the Arlington boys and girls. I went on a hunch with the Arlington boys that they were ready for prime time. They had played very well in their state regional win over Bellarmine Prep and I knew Richland was a good team, but not mentioned among the state’s elite. So I figured the Arlington boys would win as well.
Gonzaga Prep’s record (22-3) gave me some pause from immediately thinking it was going to be a clean sweep for the 4A Wesco teams.
The thing that made the brackets most interesting was that the boys and the girls were bunched together on the same sides of the bracket. So if they did all manage to win, it would set up two All-Wesco semifinals.
That also means that the 4A boys and girls state championship games would have a Wesco representative.
My gut told me it would happen. My co-workers told me it wouldn’t.
When I mentioned the possibility of having two All-Wesco semifinals, Swaney looked at me as if I just said something foolish.
His response might have been from thinking about how difficult it would be to have to cover two state championship games on the same night or he might have really thought it wasn’t going to happen. Either way, he dismissed my notion as quickly as I had said it.
Desperate to have my thought given more merit, I increased the stakes. A few moments later during our meeting I used the word “bet” and that seemed to get his attention.
It was a friendly wager of course, but a bet nonetheless. Swaney and Krueger both accepted the friendly wager.
I’m wrong a lot, so it was no big loss if I was wrong again, but I felt strongly about my bold prediction, no matter how lopsided it seemed. Given that they only needed one thing to happen and I need four, I’m sure they felt pretty confident.
Ask them how confident they feel now.
First the Arlington boys took care of business against Richland. Then the Jackson boys rebounded from a slow start to down Central Valley.
Next up, the Arlington girls. This one seemed like the big one. If the Eagles could pull it off, I was pretty sure the Vikings would take care of business after them.
The Eagles led early despite both teams playing very sloppy and Arlington held on down the stretch for a 43-40 win over Gonzaga Prep.
I started to gloat.
I didn’t lay it on too thick, just in case the Vikings were to slip up. Luckily by halftime it was clear they wouldn’t. Lake Stevens built a 34-18 lead at the break. Brooke Pahukoa had 22 points in the first 16 minutes. It was clear it was Wesco 4A’s day. The Vikings cruised to the 52-36 win and the All-Wesco semifinals were set.
I was happy to win the bet. But more importantly I was happy for Wesco and its teams. Having a representative in both title games is a big deal and says a lot about the quality of basketball in the conference.
It means Saturday night is going to be a busy night for the sports department at the Everett Herald. But honestly, I don’t think we would want it any other way.
Krueger has said all season that the North is rising. He might be right considering three of the four semifinalists are from the North, but I think it would be just as fair to say “Wesco is rising.”
Congratulations to the Wesco 4A teams on a great day Thursday at the Tacoma Dome.