RENTON — Arlington head coach Joe Marsh compares the state basketball tournament in the Tacoma Dome to Las Vegas.
But before teams get to the indoor courts where it’s easy to lose track of time, their state luck starts with the draw.
The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association held the draws for the 4A, 3A, 2A, 1A, 2B and 1B Hardwood Classic tournaments at its office in Renton on Sunday afternoon where some teams found a bit more luck than others.
The Edmonds-Woodway and Arlington girls basketball teams were a tad more fortunate than their Wesco compatriot Lynnwood, which found itself in the same half of the bracket as nationally ranked Bellevue. The Royals (24-0), who are ranked 12th nationally in the MaxPreps Computer Rankings, face Prairie (24-1) in their state quarterfinal game at 5:30 p.m. Thursday. The winner of that game could face Bellevue (26-0), which is right behind Lynnwood at 13th in the MaxPreps national rankings, in the state quarterfinals.
“It’s been that way for us this year,” Lynnwood coach Everett Edwards said. “Starting off at the district tournament with Edmonds-Woodway. That was a challenging game. Then making it through districts and seeing a tough (No. 4) West Seattle team in regionals. That’s just how it’s been. We embrace the challenge.”
Before even thinking about Bellevue, Edwards said his Royals are going to be focused on a strong Falcons team in their state quarterfinals matchup.
“The No. 1 thing is that we have a very tough opponent in Prairie,” Edwards said. “We played them this summer and it was a very competitive game. They have very good players and coaching. We’re not looking past to Bellevue. We realize we have a very tough game against Prairie.”
In the same tournament as Lynnwood, Arlington (23-1) and Edmonds-Woodway (16-10) find themselves on the other half of the tough bracket. The Warriors will play Kamiakin (14-10) on Thursday at 7:15 p.m. followed by the Eagles and Lincoln (24-1) at 9 p.m.
Hence, the Las Vegas comparison from Marsh.
“I think we’re going to try to keep it as normal as possible,” Marsh said. “I don’t prefer the 9 p.m. game but it is what it is. The Tacoma Dome is like Las Vegas, once you’re in it you don’t know what time it is.
“We’re really excited to be here and we’re looking forward to having a shot at it.”
Having three Wesco teams created a lot of intrigue for the draw, where the WIAA tries to keep teams from the same district from being in the same half of the bracket. With three District 1 teams, that was impossible.
“We weren’t sure how it was going to work out with the three (Wesco) teams,” said Marsh, who has led the Arlington girls team to Tacoma for the fourth consecutive season. “We knew they had to split two of us and we had no idea how they would do that. It’s kind of crazy how the whole thing worked. We’re really happy with where we’re at.”
The Snohomish girls (20-3) will continue their run in the 4A state tournament with a quarterfinal matchup against Lewis and Clark (18-6) on Thursday at 10:30 a.m. at the Tacoma Dome. At the same time on the other court, the Stanwood boys (19-6), who got a little bit of luck themselves with Rainier Beach and Garfield falling in the opposite side of the bracket as the Spartans, play O’Dea (20-7).
“I think we have a shot Thursday, that’s all you can ask for,” said Stanwood head coach Zach Ward, who attended the draw with assistant coach Harlan Roberson, his father Bruce Ward and friend Reid Martinka, whose son AJ plays for the Spartans. “I’m really not going to look anything past Thursday because you don’t know what’s going to happen beyond that. We’re going to have our hands full on Thursday.
“We could have maybe drawn a team that was a larger obstacle, but O’Dea knocked off Rainier Beach a couple weeks ago so they’re pretty good.”
The 10:30 a.m. game is a bit earlier than Stanwood’s usual tipoff but Ward is hoping to follow the Spartans’ day-of-game routine as closely as possible.
But he knows it’ll be tough.
“It’s hard to keep things normal,” Ward said, “because of the fact you’re playing in the Tacoma Dome which is a goal for these kids for as long as they can remember.”
Shorecrest fans will have a long day at the SunDome on Thursday with the Scots girls (15-10) playing in the first game of the day against Washougal (19-5) at 9 a.m. and the boys team (15-10) taking on River Ridge (21-1) at 7:15 p.m.
The King’s boys (21-3), the defending 1A state champion, drew top-ranked Zillah (23-1) in their state quarterfinal matchup at 12:15 p.m. Thursday at the Yakima SunDome.
King’s head coach Rick Skeen had a feeling the Knights might draw the Leopards and began scouting Zillah Saturday night. Rather than be upset with a matchup many thought could be a state championship, Skeen thinks playing Zillah early in the tournament actually is an advantage for King’s.
“That’s the way our draw process works,” Skeen said. “Ultimately, if you’re going to win a state title you have to play good teams. We look at it as we were going to have to face Zillah on Thursday, Friday or Saturday if we were going to get where we want to go. Being able to play them with three days to scout them and fresh legs probably gives us the best chance.”
Shortly after the Knights’ boys team plays the King’s girls (19-5) will face the Columbia (Burbank) Coyotes (20-5) at 3:45 p.m. in their quarterfinals game.
In the 1B girls state tournament, Tulalip Heritage (23-1) faces Sunnyside Christian (24-0) at 3:45 p.m. Thursday at Spokane Arena.
State quarterfinal draws for local teams can be found below. For full brackets look HERE.
Snohomish (20-3) vs. Lewis and Clark (18-6), 10:30 a.m. at Tacoma Dome
Stanwood (17-5) vs. O’Dea (20-6), 10:30 a.m. at Tacoma Dome
Lynnwood (24-0) vs. Prairie (21-4), 5:30 p.m. at Tacoma Dome
Arlington (23-1) vs. Lincoln (24-1), 9 p.m. at Tacoma Dome
Edmonds-Woodway (16-10) vs. Kamiakin (14-10), 7:15 p.m. at Tacoma Dome
Shorecrest (16-8) vs. River Ridge (21-1), 7:15 p.m. at Yakima SunDome
Shorecrest (15-10) vs. Washougal (19-5), 9 a.m. at Yakima SunDome
King’s (21-3) vs. Zillah (23-1), 12:15 p.m. at Yakima SunDome
King’s (19-5) vs. Columbia (Burbank) (20-5), 3:45 p.m. at Yakima SunDome
Tulalip Heritage (23-1) vs. Sunnyside Christian (24-0), 3:45 p.m. at Spokane Arena