This time of year, basketball games take on special meaning for high school athletes. Victories keep alive the dream of advancing, perhaps, to a state tournament; losses, on the other hand, can bring a sudden and shocking close to the season.
Here’s where local teams – those who had advanced to postseason play – stand through games of last weekend.
ENUMCLAW HIGH BOYS
The Hornet boys will take on Curtis High tonight, Wednesday, in the semifinal round of the West Central/Southwest District tournament. Tipoff is slated for 6 p.m. at Puyallup High. The Hornets also will play Saturday, guaranteed of one of the top four district placings and a berth in the regional tournament, the equivalent of the 4A’s Sweet 16.
Four of the 16 regional teams will be eliminated in loser-out contests while the remaining dozen head to the Tacoma Dome for the four-day state tourney that opens Feb. 28 and runs through March 3.
EHS advanced to the district semifinals Feb. 9 with a 60-51 victory over Kentwood High School.
The district opener was a nail-biter, decided in the final seconds. In the end, the home-court Hornets defeated the Rogers Rams 58-57 to jump into the winner’s side of the bracket.
At one point trailing by double digits, EHS mounted a spirited comeback. Kaden Anderson fueled the effort, finishing with 29 points – or half the team’s total.
Enumclaw High girls
The Hornet girls had been forced into a Feb. 6 play-in game against Skyline High, needing a win to slip into the West Central/Southwest District tournament. That didn’t happen, as it was Skyline advancing with a 58-48 victory.
After falling behind 17-10 at the close of the first quarter, EHS went into a slump and totaled just 10 points during the second and third periods combined. A 26-point outburst during the final eight minutes wasn’t enough to close the gap.
Senior Jessica Cerne, an all-league selection, closed out her Hornet career in a big way, scoring 25 points.
WHITE RIVER GIRLS
The Hornet girls take on a familiar foe – the Fife Trojans – in the semifinals of the West Central District 2A tournament. Game time is 7:45 tonight, Wednesday, at Bellarmine Prep in Tacoma.
White River opened district play on their home court Feb. 9, jumping to an early lead over Kingston before settling for a comfortable 64-50 triumph.
The Hornets will play again Saturday, assured of a Top 4 district placing and a berth in the regional tournament. From that field of 16, a dozen will advance to the four-day state Class 2A tourney, to be staged Feb. 28 through March 3 at the SunDome in Yakima.
A 62-61 loss to the Decatur Gators on Feb. 5 spelled the end of the season for the Spartan boys.
The teams were paired in a loser-out contest that had the winner advancing to the West Central/Southwest District tournament.
SUMNER HIGH GIRLS
A 58-54 loss to Kentwood on Feb. 10 brought an end to the season for the Spartan girls.
The team had made it to the West Central/Southwest District 4A tourney, where they opened against Thomas Jefferson High. The Spartans kept things close for the first half, but couldn’t keep up with the Raiders; eventually, a 64-45 setback pushed the SHS girls into Saturday’s loser-out contest against Kentwood.
BONNEY LAKE BOYS
A Saturday afternoon game against Stadium, played at Rogers High, meant the end of the line for the Panthers. The squad suffered a tough, 51-49 loss in the loser-out contest.
The district tournament began Feb. 7 with a long trip to Clark County; the journey home was even longer for the Panther boys, who fell 53-41 to Prairie High. The loss brought about Saturday’s game against Stadium.
BONNEY LAKE GIRLS
A Friday night, 42-38 victory over Mount Tahoma kept the season alive for the Panther girls. To stay in the Class 3A West Central/Southwest District tournament, Bonney Lake needed to defeat the Kelso Highlanders Feb. 12 at Clover Park High School.
If Bonney Lake was successful, the girls would play again tonight, Wednesday, in another loser-out contest. Game time would be 6 p.m. at Clover Park.
A Feb. 7 road trip, in the district tourney opener, proved disastrous for the Panther girls, who fell 66-19 at Prairie High. The defeat pushed Bonney Lake into the loser-out side of the district bracket.