The North Sound Conference basketball schedules have a new look this season.
In an effort to help the powerhouse King’s High School boys and girls programs boost their Rating Percentage Index (RPI) rankings, the six-team, Class 1A league has opted to play unbalanced schedules, conference president Scott Sifferman said.
Three of the conference’s schools face King’s only one time in both boys and girls basketball. The league’s other two schools play the Knights’ boys squad twice and the girls team once.
On the boys side, South Whidbey and Cedar Park Christian will play full 10-game conference slates, Coupeville, Granite Falls and Sultan will play nine games and King’s seven. Among the girls, King’s plays five league games and the other five schools play nine.
The Knights’ single boys conference games against Sultan, Granite Falls and Coupeville will all be played at King’s. Likewise, all five of the King’s girls basketball team’s league games will be played at home.
District seedings will be awarded based on winning percentages.
The decision to alter the schedule — North Sound teams previously played each other twice each season — was made in an effort to give the two King’s teams the opportunity to boost their RPI rankings by scheduling more competitive opponents. The RPI rankings are used to seed teams in the 16-team state tournaments.
Among the teams on the King’s boys schedule this season are Class 4A Glacier Peak and Mount Si, and 2A Lakewood, Lynden and Tumwater.
“There are some (schools) where their programs are clicking, they’re always clicking, and they need to be mindful (of their RPI) because going to state isn’t the question, it’s doing well at state,” said Sifferman, the athletic director at Sultan High School, “… and you do well at state if your RPI puts you in to start at the right spot. So I get that there are schools that are very mindful of that.”
The King’s boys play Coupeville, Granite Falls and Sultan once each this season. Cedar Park Christian and South Whidbey asked to keep both matchups with King’s, Sifferman said.
The change also gives the other schools in the conference a chance to schedule games against opponents with whom they are more evenly matched.
Both King’s teams went undefeated in conference play last season en route to league titles in the North Sound Conference’s inaugural year. The Knights’ boys team, which finished third at state, posted an average margin of victory of 47.1 points in league contests. The girls squad bested league opponents by an average 45.5 points per game on its way to the first round of the state tournament.
The King’s boys have won 50 of their past 52 games against North Sound Conference opponents. The girls have a 78-game league winning streak against the same schools that dates back to Jan. 29, 2010.