TACOMA — Riley Sorn is certainly the tallest player at this week’s Hardwood Classic. Heck, the Richland junior might be the tallest player in the state.
Sorn is listed in the tournament’s program as 7-foot-3. But after the Bombers’ 63-51 first-round win over Davis on Wednesday at the Tacoma Dome, Richland coach Earl Streufert said that Sorn might actually be 7-4.
“He’s finding his rhythm,” Streufert said. “We figured out how to play with him toward the middle of January. He gives us an opportunity to defend better with the way he can protect the rim.”
Sorn posted 13 points, seven blocks and five rebounds Wednesday.
“He runs the court well,” Streufert said. “If he can establish (a presence in the key) early, we’ll go to him, and if he draws multiple defenders, we’ll have guys open on the outside. Even if we don’t go through him, opponents have to take him into account.”
Sorn, the Mid-Columbia Conference’s defensive player of the year, is averaging 13 points, eight rebounds and four blocks per contest this season.
“It took quite a while for us to dial in how to best utilize him,” Streufert said. “He’s improved greatly; he’s got a good work ethic. He’s not just a 7-footer — he passes well and can guard away from the rim. He’s a versatile big guy.”
Seattle Prep girls oust champs
The Seattle Prep girls basketball team lost to Bellevue 56-47 in a 3A SeaKing District 2 tournament game Feb. 14. But the Panthers earned an opportunity for a rematch with the defending 3A state champions and made the most of it.
Seattle Prep posted a 58-43 victory over the Wolverines in a 3A Hardwood Classic loser-out game Wednesday to move on to the quarterfinal round.
“Our motto is effort and togetherness,” Seattle Prep coach Michelle Hall said. “When we lost to Bellevue in districts, we let the game get away from us. I told the girls that this is a different court, a different atmosphere. Each game we’re getting more experience. We can play with anyone.”
The Panthers will take on Snohomish at 12:15 p.m. Thursday in a quarterfinal contest.
Two other Wesco 3A teams will be in action Thursday. Stanwood will take on Lincoln, a 65-54 winner over West Seattle on Wednesday, at 9 a.m. The Abes lost to Snohomish in a state regional contest last Friday. Lynnwood, which beat Gig Harbor 57-29 on Wednesday, will take on top seed Bishop Blanchet at 10:30 a.m.
In the 4A girls tournament, Glacier Peak will take on Sunnyside at 7:15 p.m. Thursday.
Inglemoor’s clock strikes midnight
The Inglemoor boys basketball team entered its 4A Hardwood Classic loser-out game against Enumclaw on Wednesday with a 13-11 record and a No. 34 spot in the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association’s RPI rankings.
But the Vikings always thought they belonged among the state’s elite teams — even at the start of the season, when they won just two of their first nine games.
“The players always believed in themselves,” Inglemoor coach Greg Lowell said Wednesday after his team fell to the Hornets 52-43. “Once we started winning, we got more confidence.”
The Vikings finished with an 8-6 KingCo 4A record, won three conference tournament games and defeated KingCo 4A champion Bothell in a state regional contest last Saturday at Jackson High School to qualify for the Hardwood Classic.
“In my 32 years of coaching, this is one of my favorite teams,” Lowell said. “They are truly resilient. We had great senior leadership.”
Lowell pointed to his team’s Jan. 19 win over Skyline as the turning point in its season. Inglemoor went on to win nine of its final 13 games.
“All along we could defend,” he said. “The ball just wasn’t going in the hole. When we started making shots, we were tough to go up against.”