The Class 4A, 3A and 2A high school basketball district and bi-district tournaments begin this week.
For local teams, the competition for spots in the state regionals figures to be particularly intense, with just four berths into the regionals available in the 4A Wes-King Bi-District Tournament, and just three apiece in the 3A Northwest District and 2A Northwest/Sea-King Bi-District tournaments.
Below are previews of the three girls tournaments, including the favorites to cut down the net, other leading contenders to reach the regionals and some possible sleepers.
All the rankings are in reference to the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association’s Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) as of Tuesday afternoon.
4A WES-KING BI-DISTRICT
State regional berths: four
Format: Wesco seeds 1-2 and KingCo seeds 1-2 receive first-round byes into the quarterfinals. Wesco seeds 3-6 and KingCo seeds 3-6 square off in four loser-out games, with the winners advancing to the quarterfinals. From there, the tournament takes on a double-elimination format.
Wesco seeding: 1. Glacier Peak; 2. Lake Stevens; 3. Jackson; 4. Monroe; 5. Mount Vernon; 6. Kamiak.
KingCo seeding: 1. Woodinville; 2 Inglemoor; 3. Eastlake; 4. Issaquah; 5. Mount Si; 6. Newport.
Woodinville: The top-ranked Falcons (22-0, 13-0 KingCo 4A) are the only remaining unbeaten in the state’s 4A classification. Woodinville has outscored opponents by 22.1 points per game and has won all but four contests by double digits. The Falcons have five victories over Class 4A teams ranked in the top eight in the state, including a 33-point season-opening victory over No. 2 Todd Beamer. Mia Hughes scores a team-high 21.5 points per game, and sophomores Veronica Sheffey and Tatum Thompson also average double figures. Woodinville is coming off its fourth consecutive KingCo 4A Tournament title and is seeking to repeat as the bi-district champion.
Glacier Peak: With a slew of returning talent from last year’s fourth-place state team, the sixth-ranked Grizzlies (18-2, 14-0 Wesco 4A) rolled to their third conference title in four seasons and have outscored opponents by 27.4 points per game. Glacier Peak’s only losses are to 4A ninth-ranked Union and 3A fifth-ranked Mt. Spokane. Similar to recent years, the Grizzlies thrive on a high-pressure defense that leads to transition baskets. Maya Erling and Aaliyah Collins lead Glacier Peak’s balanced scoring attack, which features six players averaging at least six points per game. The Grizzlies are seeking their ninth state regional berth in 10 years.
Inglemoor: The eighth-ranked Vikings (17-5, 10-3 KingCo 4A) gave top-ranked Woodinville its tightest game of the season, taking the Falcons to overtime in the first of their three meetings. Three of Inglemoor’s five losses are to Woodinville, including a 57-43 loss in the title game of the KingCo 4A Tournament. Inglemoor features an ultra-balanced attack, with five players averaging at least seven points per game.
Lake Stevens: The 13th-ranked Vikings (16-4, 12-2 Wesco 4A) are led by Boise State-bound point guard Raigan Reed, who averages nearly 20 points per game. For the third time in four years, Lake Stevens finished second in Wesco 4A behind Glacier Peak. The Vikings dominated the league’s other six teams but couldn’t solve the Grizzlies, falling by double digits in both regular-season meetings. Lake Stevens split its two matchups against KingCo 4A teams, beating Eastlake and losing to Inglemoor.
Eastlake: The defending state champion Wolves (12-10, 9-4 KingCo 4A) graduated two of their top four scorers from last year, but returned the dynamic duo of 6-foot-3 Arizona State-bound senior center Keeli Burton and junior guard Haley Huard. Burton, the reigning Associated Press 4A state player of the year, averages 19.8 points and 14.5 rebounds per game. Huard, the daughter of former University of Washington and Seattle Seahawks quarterback Brock Huard, scores 14.7 points per game. Eastlake suffered back-to-back losses to Wesco 4A’s top two teams — Glacier Peak and Lake Stevens — in December.
Issaquah: The 15th-ranked Eagles finished one game ahead of Eastlake to claim the KingCo 4A Crest Division title. Issaquah (15-7, 10-3 KingCo 4A) is coming off back-to-back tough losses in the KingCo 4A Tournament, falling to Inglemoor and Eastlake by three points apiece. The Eagles are seeking their first state regional berth since 2010.
Mount Si: The Wildcats (12-10, 7-6 KingCo 4A) received a major boost last month when 6-foot-8 post and Cal commit Sela Heide returned after being sidelined all season with an injury. Heidi, ranked by ESPN as the nation’s No. 93 senior recruit, has averaged 17.3 points and 12.7 rebounds in seven games. Mount Si is 5-2 since her return, including wins over Inglemoor and Eastlake.
3A NORTHWEST DISTRICT
State regional berths: Three
Format: Seeding is determined by a district-wide RPI. The top six seeds receive first-round byes into the quarterfinals. Seeds 7-10 square off in a pair of loser-out games, with the winners advancing to the quarterfinals. From there, the tournament takes on a double-elimination format.
Seeding: 1. Shorecrest; 2. Arlington; 3. Ferndale; 4. Snohomish; 5. Meadowdale; 6. Edmonds-Woodway; 7. Lynnwood; 8. Everett; 9. Stanwood; 10. Marysville Getchell.
Shorecrest: The fourth-ranked Scots rode their stingy defense to the Wesco 3A/2A championship. Shorecrest (19-1, 13-1 Wesco 3A/2A) finished tied atop the league standings with Arlington, but claimed the conference title by virtue of its win over the Eagles. The Scots allow just 35.4 points per game and have held all but three opponents to less than 50 points. Senior guards Amanda Lee and Sydney VanNess both average double figures in scoring, and center Kiana Lino is a double-double machine in the post. Shorecrest has won 12 straight games since falling to Snohomish 54-37 on Jan. 3.
Arlington: Led by an array of talented shooters and a high-pressure defense that forces myriad turnovers, the third-ranked Eagles (18-2, 13-1 Wesco 3A/2A) average 65.2 points per game and allow just 36.1. Keira Marsh and Hailey Hiatt lead Arlington’s balanced and high-octane attack, which has scored 70-plus points in seven games. The Eagles have won 13 straight since falling to league champion Shorecrest, their lone conference loss. Arlington is seeking its sixth state regional berth in eight seasons.
Ferndale: The 10th-ranked Golden Eagles finished fourth in the 14-team Northwest Conference behind perennial powers Lynden Christian, Lynden and Burlington-Edison. Ferndale (15-5, 10-3 Northwest Conference) faced two Wesco 3A opponents in non-league play, beating Snohomish and losing to Edmonds-Woodway. The Golden Eagles are seeking their first state regional berth since 2014.
Snohomish: After facing an arduous non-league slate and starting the season 2-7, the defending district champion Panthers rebounded to win eight of their last 11 regular-season games and finished tied for third in Wesco 3A/2A. Snohomish (10-10, 10-4 Wesco 3A/2A) once again leans on its defense, which allowed a league-low 35.9 points per game in conference play. The Panthers haven’t given up more than 53 points in regulation all season. Snohomish handed league champion Shorecrest its only loss, beating the Scots by 17 points last month.
Meadowdale: With the bulk of their roster back from last year’s team that made an underdog run to the state regionals, the 13th-ranked Mavericks (14-6, 10-4 Wesco 3A/2A) have built on last season with another strong campaign. Meadowdale finished in a three-way tie for third place in Wesco 3A/2A and is one victory away from matching its most wins in a season since 2009. Talented post Fatoumata Jaiteh leads a group of five Mavericks who average at least six points per game.
Edmonds-Woodway: It’s been a season of streaks for the Warriors. Edmonds-Woodway (11-9, 9-5 Wesco 3A/2A) opened with four straight losses, then rattled off seven straight wins, then lost three straight and then won three in a row before losing two of its last three. The battle-tested Warriors have beaten state contenders Ferndale, Snohomish and Meadowdale and they took Wesco 3A/2A champion Shorecrest to overtime. But they also lost to Marysville Getchell, the district’s No. 10 seed. Brooke Kearney averages a team-high 10.1 points for Edmonds-Woodway, which is seeking its fifth state regional berth in seven years.
Stanwood: Despite their record, the Spartans (8-12, 6-8 Wesco 3A/2A) could pose a threat to some of the district’s top seeds. On back-to-back nights less than two weeks ago, Stanwood gave Wesco 3A/2A’s top two teams some of their toughest tests of the season, losing to Arlington by seven points and to Shorecrest by three. If the Spartans beat Everett in a district play-in game, they would get a rematch with top-seeded Shorecrest in the district quarterfinals.
2A NORTHWEST/SEA-KING BI-DISTRICT
State regional berths: Three
Format: Seeding is determined by a bi-district RPI. The top four seeds receive first-round byes into the quarterfinals. Seeds 5-12 square off in four loser-out games, with the winners advancing to the quarterfinals. From there, the tournament takes on a double-elimination format.
Seeding: 1. Lynden; 2. Burlington-Edison; 3. Liberty-Issaquah; 4. Archbishop Murphy; 5. Sehome; 6. Sammamish; 7. Cedarcrest; 8. Anacortes; 9. Bellingham; 10. Blaine; 11. Mountlake Terrace; 12. Sedro-Woolley
Lynden: The top-ranked Lions (19-1, 12-1 Northwest Conference) appear well positioned for a run at a seventh consecutive state trophy. Lynden outscores opponents by 25.1 points per game and has beaten three 2A top-10 teams. The perennial power Lions also beat defending 4A state champion Eastlake and are coming off a 24-point rout of 3A 10th-ranked Ferndale. Lynden’s only loss was to 1A second-ranked Lynden Christian in the schools’ annual crosstown rivalry.
Burlington-Edison: The sixth-ranked Tigers (17-3, 11-2 Northwest Conference) finished third in their 14-team league, behind perennial powers Lynden Christian and Lynden. Burlington-Edison’s only losses were to the two Lynden schools and Arlington (ranked third in 3A). The Tigers averaged a league-high 65.5 points per game in Northwest Conference play and are seeking their 15th state berth in 16 years.
Liberty-Issaquah: As one of two teams in the field from KingCo 3A/2A, the Patriots are a bit of a mystery. Liberty (14-6, 10-2 KingCo 3A/2A) took second place in its seven-team league, finishing behind 3A sixth-ranked Lake Washington. Devynn Warns averages a team-high 17.6 points per game.
Archbishop Murphy: The Wildcats (12-8, 10-4 Wesco 3A/2A) finished in a three-way tie for third place in their 15-team league. During conference play, Archbishop Murphy beat 3A state contenders Snohomish, Meadowdale and Edmonds-Woodway. Julia Lucas averages a team-high 13 points per game for the Wildcats, who are seeking their fourth consecutive state regional berth.
Cedarcrest: The Red Wolves (14-6, 8-6 Wesco 3A/2A) are the bi-district’s No. 7 seed, but they have the third-highest 2A state RPI ranking of any team in the bi-district (the bi-district and state RPI use different formulas, and the bi-district RPI only includes league games). Cedarcrest is ranked No. 19 in 2A, slightly ahead of Sehome, Liberty and Archbishop Murphy. The Red Wolves finished tied for seventh in the 15-team Wesco 3A/2A and earned a pair of notable wins over Archbishop Murphy and Edmonds-Woodway. Cedarcrest’s only trip to state was in 2013.