The White River girls and Enumclaw High boys are the only local basketball teams still standing, each headed this week to their respective state tournaments.
The highly-touted White River girls will take to the road, competing in the Class 2A tourney in the Yakima Valley SunDome. Enumclaw’s boys will stick close to home, as the tournaments for both the Class 4A and 3A classifications will again be staged in the Tacoma Dome.
Tournaments for all the state’s classifications are four-day affairs, opening Wednesday and concluding Saturday. With a new format in play, however, some squads – like White River – will not make their tourney debut until Thursday.
WHITE RIVER GIRLS
The Hornet girls, guided by Hall of Fame coach Chris Gibson and sparked by league MVP Kendall Bird, have earned a first-round tournament bye – thanks to a regional victory and high Rating Percentage Index ranking.
The Hornets, who head to Yakima with the No. 3 RPI ranking, will play at 7:15 p.m. Thursday. They will face the winner of a Wednesday game between Lynden (No. 4 RPI) and Olympic (No. 13). A Thursday victory would send White River to Friday’s semifinals at 9 p.m.; a Thursday loss would drop the Hornets into the loser’s bracket, with a Friday contest at 2 p.m.
State tournaments have a double-elimination format.
White River was victorious in its regional game Saturday afternoon, defeating Washougal 66-53 at Rogers High School.
In a game bogged down by constant whistles – 50 fouls were called – the Hornets found themselves trailing 25-22 at halftime. White River reversed that trend during the third period and used a 22-12 advantage during the final eight minutes to seal the deal.
Sofia Lavinder paced the Hornet offense with 22 points and Bird posted 18. Georgia Lavinder also cracked double figures, scoring 13.
For White River, postseason play has become commonplace under Gibson. The Hornets have advanced to state play 16 times since the 2000 season.
The Hornet boys kick off their Tacoma experience today, Wednesday, challenging Inglemoor High in a game slated to tip off at 2 p.m. Because EHS lost its regional contest, today’s game against the Kenmore school is a loser-our affair.
Should Enumclaw (No. 8 RPI) top the Vikings (No. 16), the Hornets would next play at 2 p.m. Thursday against Spokane’s Gonzaga Prep.
Saturday’s regional game brought no favors for EHS, which was paired against the top-rated crew from Union High. The Hornets kept things close early, trailing just 19-16 after one quarter of play, but the Union squad prevailed the rest of the way and registered a 75-50 win.
Enumclaw received 12 points each from Griffin Webb and Peter Erickson.
Enumclaw High is making its first Tacoma Dome appearance since 2010. That brought an impressive performance, as the Hornets won three straight games to advance to the state title game; in the finale, EHS fell to Union High and took home second-place honors.