Baylor Thomas and Lake Stevens are among the five local girls basketball teams that are headed to their respective Hardwood Classics. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Baylor Thomas and Lake Stevens are among the five local girls basketball teams that are headed to their respective Hardwood Classics. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Hardwood Classic preview: A look at the girls state tourneys

Lake Stevens, Arlington, Snohomish, Stanwood and Murphy are headed to their respective state tournaments.

Below are previews of the Hardwood Classic girls basketball tournaments that involve local teams.

The state tournaments began last week with play-in games in Class 3A and state regional games in all classifications. In each classification, the 16-team state regional round determined which 12 teams advanced to the Hardwood Classic — including which four teams earned first-round byes into the state quarterfinals.

The 12-team Hardwood Classics begin with Wednesday’s first-round loser-out games. The winners of those contests advance to Thursday’s quarterfinals. The tournaments then take on a modified double-elimination format from there, with one loss eliminating a team from state title contention and two losses eliminating a team from the tournament. The top six finishers in each classification earn state trophies.

The number next to each team refers to its state tournament seeding.

CLASS 4A

Where: Tacoma Dome

Wednesday’s first-round games

No. 6 Emerald Ridge vs. No. 14 Moses Lake, 9 a.m.

No. 7 Richland vs. No. 15 Sunnyside, 10:30 a.m.

No. 4 Lake Stevens vs. No. 13 Rogers-Puyallup, 12:15 p.m.

No. 8 Bellarmine Prep vs. No. 9 Camas, 2 p.m.

Thursday’s quarterfinals

No. 5 Eastlake vs. Emerald Ridge-Moses Lake winner, 9 a.m.

No. 1 Woodinville vs. Richland-Sunnyside winner, 10:30 a.m.

No. 3 Pasco vs. Lake Stevens-Rogers winner, 12:15 p.m.

No. 2 Sumner vs. Bellarmine Prep-Camas winner, 2 p.m.

FAVORITE

No. 1 Woodinville. After 4A state runner-up finishes in 2018 and 2020 and a combined 51-2 record over the past two full-length seasons, the Falcons (23-1) are looking to break through for their first-ever state title. Woodinville has won 23 straight since a season-opening loss to 2A No. 1 Tumwater, with all but one victory coming by 15-plus points. The Falcons have nearly doubled up their opponents, averaging 71 points per game and allowing just 38.6. They’re led by a trio of remaining starters from the 2020 runner-up team: Boise State-bound senior wing Tatum Thompson, University of San Diego-bound senior point guard Veronica Sheffey and junior forward Brooke Beresford. Thompson averages 19.9 points and 7.8 rebounds per game, Sheffey adds 15.1 points and 6.1 assists, and Beresford provides 12.1 points and 8.6 boards.

LOCAL TEAM

No. 4 Lake Stevens. The Wesco 4A champion and 4A District 1/2 Tournament runner-up Vikings (19-4) are led by a senior quartet of double-digit scorers — including a trio of Division I or Division II-bound college recruits. West Virginia State signee Baylor Thomas leads the way with 15.3 points per game and is joined in the backcourt by do-everything Chloe Pattison. In the frontcourt, 6-foot-4 Camille Jentzsch and 6-foot-2 Cori Wilcox form an imposing duo of Eastern Washington University signees and double-double machines. Jentzsch was sidelined for three and a half weeks with a foot injury, but returned to action this past Saturday in the state regional round. Lake Stevens is coming off a state regional loss to 4A No. 5 Eastlake, a team the Vikings beat in the bi-district semifinals less than two weeks prior.

BRACKET NOTES

— Lake Stevens is on the opposite half of the bracket as title favorite Woodinville, which routed the Vikings 63-36 in the bi-district championship game.

— To reach the state title game, Lake Stevens’ path would include No. 3 Pasco in the quarterfinals and potentially No. 2 Sumner in the semifinals. Pasco is 22-1 and Sumner is 22-2, with one of its losses being a forfeit. Not including the forfeit, Sumner is riding a 21-game win streak.

CLASS 3A

Where: Tacoma Dome

Wednesday’s first-round games

No. 6 Kelso vs. No. 14 Hermiston, 3:45 p.m.

No. 7 Stanwood vs. No. 10 Auburn, 5:30 p.m.

No. 5 Snohomish vs. No. 12 Bonney Lake, 7:15 p.m.

No. 8 Lincoln-Tacoma vs. No. 9 Lakeside, 9 p.m.

Thursday’s quarterfinals

No. 4 Lake Washington vs. Kelso-Hermiston winner, 3:45 p.m.

No. 1 Mead vs. Stanwood-Auburn winner, 5:30 p.m.

No. 3 Arlington vs. Snohomish-Bonney Lake winner, 7:15 p.m.

No. 2 Garfield vs. Lincoln-Lakeside winner, 9 p.m.

FAVORITES

No. 1 Mead. The unbeaten Panthers (23-0) have outscored opponents by 29.1 points per game and won every contest by double digits, including a 76-30 annihilation of No. 8 Lincoln-Tacoma in the state regionals. The Greater Spokane League 4A/3A champions lean on their suffocating defense, which allows just 34.1 points per game and has held all but one opponent to less than 50 points. Sophomore guard Teryn Gardner leads Mead with 15 points, six rebounds and five steals per game, while senior guard Olivia Moore adds 13 points and five assists per contest. All five of the Panthers’ starters average at least seven points per contest. Mead is making its first Hardwood Classic appearance since winning the 4A state title in 2013.

No. 2 Garfield. The defending 3A state champion Bulldogs (18-0) have been utterly dominant, doubling up their opponents while averaging 72.9 points per game and allowing just 33.5. Garfield has won all but one contest by double digits and has topped 80 points three times, including a 111-2 early-season rout. The Bulldogs are led by an elite backcourt duo of Division I college recruits in junior Malia Samuels and sophomore Katie Fiso. Samuels, an Eastside Catholic transfer who led the Crusaders to a fifth-place 3A state trophy in 2020, is a four-star point guard and the nation’s No. 50 junior recruit according to ESPN. Fiso, considered by ESPN as one of the nation’s top sophomore point guards, averages 20-plus points per game.

LOCAL TEAMS

No. 3 Arlington. With their high-pressure defense and lightning-quick pace, the Wesco 3A/2A champion Eagles (19-2) have outscored opponents by 22.9 points per game while rolling to their sixth state quarterfinal appearance in the past nine full-length seasons. Arlington is 5-0 with five double-digit wins against 3A Hardwood Classic teams, including a 76-45 throttling of No. 6 Kelso in the state regionals. The Eagles are led by 6-foot-2 junior guard Jenna Villa and senior guard Keira Marsh, who both helped lead Arlington to a third-place 3A state trophy in 2020. Villa, who’s ranked by ESPN as the nation’s No. 55 junior recruit, averages 21 points and nine rebounds per game and hit a school-record 10 3-pointers in a contest earlier this season. Marsh, a Cal State East Bay signee, adds 16 points per game.

No. 5 Snohomish. The Panthers (15-4) are back at the Hardwood Classic after claiming top-four state trophies in 2016, 2017 and 2019. They’re led by Eastern Washington University signee and four-year starting guard Ella Gallatin, who averages team highs across the board with 21 points, eight rebounds, four assists, 2.5 steals and one block per game. Junior guard Jada Andresen, senior guard Cheyenne Rodgers and freshman post Tyler Gildersleeve-Stiles complement Gallatin with around nine to 11 points per game apiece. Snohomish is coming off a heartbreaking state regional loss to No. 4 Lake Washington, which rallied from a 10-point deficit in the final two minutes of regulation and then pulled away in overtime to stun the Panthers. All four of Snohomish’s losses are to 3A top-eight state seeds.

No. 7 Stanwood. After making a run to the 3A District 1 Tournament title game under first-year coach Alex Iverson, the Spartans (12-5) are back in the Hardwood Classic for the third time in the past five full-length seasons. Stanwood is led by 6-foot-4 junior post Vivienne Berrett, who averages 14.5 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. Senior Ava Cook adds 8.8 points per game, junior sharpshooter Tatum Brager scores 7.6 points per game and junior guard Chloe Santeford anchors a strong defense that allows just 43.5 points per contest. The Spartans beat 3A No. 5 Snohomish in the district semifinals, but suffered a double-digit district title game loss to 3A No. 3 Arlington and a 67-44 state regional loss to 3A No. 2 Garfield. Three of Stanwood’s five losses are to Arlington and Garfield.

BRACKET NOTES

— If Snohomish beats Bonney Lake in its first-round game, it would set up an all-Wesco 3A state quarterfinal between Arlington and Snohomish. Arlington pulled away to beat Snohomish 57-44 on Jan. 24 in their lone matchup this season.

— If Arlington and Garfield both win their quarterfinal games, they would meet in the semifinals for the second consecutive state tournament. In the 2020 3A state semifinals, Garfield smothered Arlington 53-36 en route to winning the state title.

— Wesco teams have combined for 10 state trophies over the past six 3A Hardwood Classics. Wesco is well represented again this year, with three teams in the 12-team field.

CLASS 2A

Where: Yakima Valley SunDome

Wednesday’s first-round games

No. 6 Port Angeles vs. No. 11 Prosser, 9 a.m.

No. 7 Washougal vs. No. 10 White River, 10:30 a.m.

No. 4 W.F. West vs. No. 12 Lynden, 12:15 p.m.

No. 1 Tumwater vs. No. 9 West Valley-Spokane, 2 p.m.

Thursday’s quarterfinals

No. 5 Archbishop Murphy vs. Port Angeles-Prosser winner, 9 a.m.

No. 8 Burlington-Edison vs. Washougal-White River winner, 10:30 a.m.

No. 3 Hudson’s Bay vs. W.F. West-Lynden winner, 12:15 p.m.

No. 2 Ellensburg vs. Tumwater-West Valley winner, 2 p.m.

FAVORITE

No. 2 Ellensburg. The unbeaten Bulldogs (23-0) have rolled past every opponent they’ve faced, outscoring teams by a whopping 41 points per game and winning every contest by more than 15 points. Ellensburg features a suffocating defense that yields just 23.1 points per game. The Bulldogs have held all but seven opponents below 30 points and all but one opponent below 40. Ellensburg’s deep rotation is highlighted by senior guard Dylan Philip, who has signed with Montana State. The Bulldogs are coming off a 56-31 state regional rout of No. 7 Washougal. They also have three commanding wins over 2A No. 11 Prosser, including a 40-point rout in their district title game. And early in the season, Ellensburg throttled 4A No. 14 Moses Lake in a 53-12 blowout.

LOCAL TEAM

No. 5 Archbishop Murphy. The Wildcats (14-6) are coming off a 37-36 state regional win over No. 4 W.F. West, which earned them their third 2A state quarterfinal appearance in the past five full-length seasons. After going 6-3 in Wesco 3A/2A play, Archbishop Murphy beat 2A No. 12 Lynden and 2A No. 8 Burlington-Edison on its way to capturing the 2A District 1 Tournament title. The Wildcats lean on a stingy defense that limits opponents to just 42.1 points per game. And on offense, they feature a balanced attack led by impact freshman Ava Marr and senior guards Taylor Reed, Taylor Campbell and Hannah Humphrey. All four players average between eight and 12 points per game. Each of Archbishop Murphy’s six losses have come to either 3A top-12 state seeds or 1A top-two state seeds.

BRACKET NOTES

— No. 8 Burlington-Edison shook up the bracket with a stunning state regional upset of No. 1 Tumwater, which entered the regional round with a 21-1 record and an early-season win over 4A No. 1 Woodinville. Tumwater’s loss sets up a likely Ellensburg-Tumwater state quarterfinal showdown between the tournament’s top two seeds.

— Burlington-Edison’s upset of Tumwater also creates a potentially easier path to the state title game for Archbishop Murphy. With the tournament’s top four seeds now on the other half of the bracket, the Wildcats would face no better than a No. 6 seed before the state championship game.

— If Archbishop Murphy and Burlington-Edison both win their quarterfinal matchups, the two district rivals would square off in the state semifinals. It would be a rematch of Archbishop Murphy’s 59-44 district title game win.

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