Haven’t we seen this scenario before?

The Class 4A District 1 girls and boys basketball tournaments begin this week. Three teams in each eight-team tourney earn state-tournament berths. At this point, things are shaping up a lot like they did a year ago.

The girls district tourney, which starts with four games tonight (see bracket below), features two teams ranked in the Associated Press Class 4A state poll: No. 3 Lake Stevens (19-1) and No. 6 Jackson (19-1). Unranked Snohomish (16-4) also received some votes.

Those are the teams that earned state berths last season, and there’s a good chance they’ll do it again. Anything can happen, obviously, but a Lake Stevens-Jackson or Lake Stevens-Snohomish district championship matchup on Feb. 23 would be intriguing.

If the higher-seeded squads win tonight, Jackson and Snohomish would clash Friday in a winner-to-state game. It would give Jackson a chance to avenge its only loss of the season. Snohomish beat the Timberwolves 54-49 Dec. 8 in a non-division contest.

The 4A boys district tourney, which tips off Wednesday, seems a bit more wide open. But the teams with the best records are Snohomish (17-3), Edmonds-Woodway (17-3) and Mariner (15-5).

Guess what? Those are the same local boys teams that earned trips to the 2007 4A state tourney.

Based on its sparkling record and an early-season head-to-head result, ninth-ranked Snohomish appears to be a clear first-round favorite against Kamiak. But the other games should be very competitive. E-W plays host to Lake Stevens (14-6), the only 4A opponent to defeat the Warriors this season.

Fans who like to watch prolific scorers should enjoy the first-round game between Jackson (11-9) and Marysville-Pilchuck (13-7). Versatile M-P center Taylor Stevens averages 20.4 points per game and Brett Kingma, Jackson’s outstanding freshman guard, pours in 17.6 points per game.

Snohomish hires girls soccer coach

After 10 years as an assistant at Snohomish, April VanAssche has been hired as head coach of the Panthers’ girls soccer team. VanAssche, a 1996 Snohomish graduate who played soccer at Western Washington University, takes over for Dan Pingrey, who last month resigned after leading the Panthers for a decade.

“I’m just looking forward to the next opportunity and to see what I can do with the program,” said VanAssche.

Oak Harbor also hired a coach. Chris Rankin is the Wildcats’ new softball coach, according to Oak Harbor athletic director Nicki Luper.

Soccer and track recruits sign letters of intent

Here is a list of additional local student-athletes who have signed NCAA National Letters of Intent since Wednesday.

Girls soccer: Madison Goverde, Snohomish (Seattle U.), Aleigh Mansfield, Archbishop Murphy (St. Martin’s University), Kallie Pleis, Cedarcrest (Seattle U.).

Cross country/track and field: Joey Bywater, Lake Stevens (University of Washington), Lyndy Davis, Monroe (University of Portland).

Mike Cane, Herald Writer

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