Elaine Thompson / Associated Press                                Michael Porter Jr. of Nathan Hale High School is the nation’s No. 1 high school senior according to ESPN.

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press Michael Porter Jr. of Nathan Hale High School is the nation’s No. 1 high school senior according to ESPN.

Boys state high school basketball preview

Previews of the Hardwood Classic boys basketball tournaments involving local teams:

CLASS 4A

The schedule

Tacoma Dome

Today’s games

(seeds in parentheses)

(3) Davis vs. (11) Richland, 9 a.m. (loser out)

(7) Glacier Peak vs. (10) Kennedy Catholic, 10:30 a.m. (loser out)

(5) Kentwood vs. (13) Bellarmine Prep, 12:15 p.m. (loser out)

(8) Enumclaw vs. (16) Inglemoor, 2 p.m. (loser out)

Thursday’s quarterfinals

(4) Federal Way vs. Davis-Richland winner, 9 a.m.

(1) Union vs. Glacier Peak-Kennedy Catholic winner, 10:30 a.m.

(6) Curtis vs. Kentwood-Bellarmine Prep winner, 12:15 p.m.

(2) Gonzaga Prep vs. Enumclaw-Inglemoor winner, 2 p.m.

The favorite

Federal Way. The two-time defending champion Eagles (24-2) average a 4A-best 84.7 points per game and have surpassed 100 points four times. No. 4 seed Federal Way’s only two losses came to league rival and No. 5 seed Kentwood (23-3), but the Eagles avenged those defeats with a regional win over the Conquerors.

The dark horse

Kennedy Catholic. After a 5-5 start, the No. 10-seeded Lancers have won 14 of their past 16 games. If Kennedy Catholic (19-7) gets past first-round foe Glacier Peak, the Lancers would have a tough quarterfinal matchup against top-seeded Union. But Kennedy Catholic has wins over three of the field’s remaining teams, including reigning runner-up Kentwood.

Did you know?

No. 2 seed Gonzaga Prep’s defense allows a 4A-best 45.6 points per game. The Bullpups (23-1) have held opponents to less than 40 points eight times and have yielded more than 58 points only once.

Player to watch

Cameron Cranston, guard/forward, Union. The versatile 6-foot-6 senior averages 19.3 points per game for the top-seeded Titans (19-4) and was recently named Class 4A state player of the year by the state coaches association.

Game we wouldn’t miss

Federal Way vs. Kentwood. Last year’s title-game participants have squared off three times in the past month and could meet again Saturday in a championship rematch. Kentwood snapped Federal Way’s 63-game winning streak — the nation’s longest-active streak at the time — while winning the teams’ first two meetings this season, but the Eagles returned the favor with a regional victory over the Conquerors.

Prediction

Federal Way rides its high-powered offense past No. 11 seed Richland and top-seeded Union before topping Kentwood in a championship-game rematch to earn the program’s third consecutive state title.

CLASS 3A

The schedule

Tacoma Dome

Today’s games

(seeds in parentheses)

(6) Timberline vs. (11) Seattle Prep, 3:45 p.m. (loser out)

(7) Stanwood vs. (10) Shorecrest, 5:30 p.m. (loser out)

(4) Capital vs. (12) Wilson, 7:15 p.m. (loser out)

(8) Rainier Beach vs. (16) Bellevue, 9 p.m. (loser out)

Thursday’s quarterfinals

(5) Lincoln vs. Timberline-Seattle Prep winner, 3:45 p.m.

(1) Nathan Hale vs. Stanwood-Shorecrest winner, 5:30 p.m.

(3) West Seattle vs. Capital-Wilson winner, 7:15 p.m.

(2) Garfield vs. Rainier Beach-Bellevue winner, 9 p.m.

The favorite

Nathan Hale. Bolstered by seven transfers, including ESPN’s top-ranked senior in Michael Porter Jr., the Raiders (26-0) are the nation’s No. 1 team in MaxPreps’ Xcellent 25 rankings and No. 4 in MaxPreps’ computer rankings. Hale averages 85.8 points per game and owns wins over No. 5 Sierra Canyon (California) and No. 12 Oak Hill Academy (Virginia). The Raiders are led by first-year coach Brandon Roy, a former University of Washington standout and three-time NBA All-Star.

The dark horse

Rainier Beach. It seems strange to consider the perennial powerhouse Vikings — winners of four of the past five state titles — a dark horse, but such is the case in a loaded 3A field that includes nationally ranked Nathan Hale and a Garfield squad that boasts two ESPN top-100 players. No. 8 seed Beach (20-8) is one of the few teams to challenge Hale this season, twice falling to the mighty Raiders by single digits.

Did you know?

Current Metro League teams have won 13 of the past 15 3A state championships. Metro power Rainier Beach has claimed seven titles in that span, including four of the past five.

Player to watch

Michael Porter Jr., forward, Nathan Hale. The versatile 6-foot-10 senior and University of Washington signee is the top-ranked senior recruit in the country, per ESPN. Porter, a McDonald’s All-American and recently named “Mr. Basketball” by the state’s coaches association, averages 37.2 points and 13.3 rebounds per game.

Game we wouldn’t miss

Nathan Hale vs. Garfield, Part IV. The Metro League rivals have squared off three times this season and could meet again in Saturday’s title game. No. 1 seed Hale won two of the previous contests by a combined 56 points, but No. 2 seed Garfield (21-5) hung with the Raiders in a nationally televised four-point loss in late January. The teams feature a combined three University of Washington signees, each of whom is ranked among ESPN’s top 100 seniors — Hale’s Porter Jr. (No. 1) and the Garfield duo of Daejon Davis (No. 44) and Jaylen Nowell (No. 54).

Prediction

Nathan Hale rolls into Saturday’s title game, where the Raiders pull away in the second half to beat Garfield for the fourth time and cap their dominant season with the program’s first-ever state championship.

CLASS 2A

The schedule

Yakima Valley SunDome

Today’s games

(seeds in parentheses)

(6) North Kitsap vs. (14) Mountlake Terrace, 9 a.m. (loser out)

(7) Wapato vs. (15) Prosser, 10:30 a.m. (loser out)

(5) Mark Morris vs. (13) Foss, 12:15 p.m. (loser out)

(1) Lynden vs. (16) Lindbergh, 2 p.m. (loser out)

Thursday’s quarterfinals

(4) Selah vs. North Kitsap-Mountlake Terrace winner, 9 a.m.

(8) Olympic vs. Wapato-Prosser winner, 10:30 a.m.

(3) Pullman vs. Mark Morris-Foss winner, 12:15 p.m.

(2) Anacortes vs. Lynden-Lindbergh winner, 2 p.m.

The favorite

Anacortes. The No. 2-seeded Seahawks (20-2) have outscored their opponents by 19.9 points per game, with their only losses coming to 3A state qualifier Stanwood and Idaho 5A state qualifier Lewiston. Anacortes’ top six scorers — including a pair of 6-foot-6 posts — all stand at least 6 feet tall and average at least seven points per game.

The dark horse

Foss. Don’t let the Falcons’ No. 13 seed fool you — this team joins Anacortes on the short list of title favorites. Led by Boise State commit Roberto Gittens, Foss (21-5) has averaged 77.3 points per game and outscored opponents by 25 points per contest. Three of the Falcons’ losses were to out-of-state opponents and the other defeats were to a pair of 3A state qualifiers, including unbeaten Lincoln.

Did you know?

The Great Northern League and Northwest Conference have dominated the 2A tournament in recent years. GNL teams have won each of the past four titles. The NWC has been represented in the championship game in nine of the past 10 years.

Player to watch

Roberto Gittens, forward, Foss. The 6-foot-5 senior, a Boise State commit, averages 22 points per game and recently was named 2A player of the year by the state coaches association.

Game we wouldn’t miss

Anacortes vs. Foss. These might be the two most talented teams in the field, and they could meet in Friday’s semifinals for a spot in the title game. Both teams are undefeated against 2A opponents this season.

Prediction

Anacortes tops No. 1 seed Lynden in an all-Northwest Conference quarterfinal and scrapes by Foss in the semifinals before beating No. 4 seed Selah to capture the program’s first-ever state title.

CLASS 1A

The schedule

Yakima Valley SunDome

Today’s games

(seeds in parentheses)

(6) La Center vs. (14) La Salle, 3:45 p.m. (loser out)

(7) Warden vs. (10) King’s Way Christian, 5:30 p.m. (loser out)

(5) Northwest vs. (13) Cascade Christian, 7:15 p.m. (loser out)

(8) Newport vs. (16) Hoquiam, 9 p.m. (loser out)

Thursday’s quarterfinals

(4) King’s vs. La Center-La Salle winner, 3:45 p.m.

(1) Freeman vs. Warden-King’s Way Christian winner, 5:30 p.m.

(3) Zillah vs. Northwest-Cascade Christian winner, 7:15 p.m.

(2) Lynden Christian vs. Newport-Hoquiam winner, 9 p.m.

The favorite

Zillah. Led by seniors Trey Delp and Nate Whitaker, the No. 3-seeded Leopards (23-1) average 83.3 points per game and are outscoring opponents by 34 points per contest. Zillah beat 2A state quarterfinalist Selah by 20 points and suffered its lone loss to 2A state qualifier Wapato.

The dark horse

King’s. Some are counting out the two-time defending champion Knights (21-5) after King’s lost senior standout and Gonzaga signee Corey Kispert for the season with a foot injury. But doing so would be a mistake. The fourth-seeded Knights, a senior-laden group with plenty of state experience, have gone 12-3 since Kispert’s injury and still possesses the talent to make a run.

Did you know?

Over the past six years, King’s, Zillah and Lynden Christian have filled nine of the 12 title-game spots.

Player to watch

Trey Delp, guard/forward, Zillah. The 6-foot-2 senior averages 22.9 points per game to lead the top-seeded Leopards’ high-powered offense.

Game we wouldn’t miss

Zillah vs. King’s. These two teams played in a thrilling quarterfinal game last year, which was essentially the championship, given that Zillah and King’s were clearly the top two teams in the field. King’s won the showdown in dramatic fashion, completing a furious final-minute comeback with a game-winning lay-in at the buzzer. Even without injured King’s star Corey Kispert, a rematch in Saturday’s title game would make for a compelling matchup.

Prediction

Zillah beats No. 2 seed Lynden Christian in the semifinals and handles No. 4 seed King’s in the title game to earn the program’s fourth state championship.

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