Basketball teams throughout the state tipped off their seasons in November and, now, only an elite handful remain in the running for state tournament honors. Included in that select group are the Enumclaw High boys and the White River girls.
Both squads survived the regular-season rigors, advanced through district tournaments, played in the 16-team regional round and are about to reap the benefits of a successful season. State tournaments for all classifications begin today, Wednesday, with 4A and 3A teams heading to the Tacoma Dome, 2A and 1A schools trekking to Yakima and the small B schools making the traditional trip to Spokane.
Here’s how the local teams stand.
The Hornets head to the Tacoma Dome carrying the No. 7 ranking in the state, according to the Ratings Percentage Index, and have received a first-round bye. They will take the court at 9 p.m. Thursday, March 1, against either No. 8 Sunnyside or No. 9 Lewis and Clark (Spokane). Those two will play today in one of the four tourney openers.
A Thursday victory would push Enumclaw into the tournament’s Final Four. Friday’s semifinal contest could bring an encore against tough Federal Way, a team the Hornets defeated Feb. 17 in the district tournament.
If the Hornets were to lose Thursday, Friday’s game would be a loser-out affair beginning at 2 p.m. The winner of that one would play Saturday for fourth or sixth place honors.
Enumclaw advanced to state after a Feb. 24, 51-44 victory over the highly-regarded, No. 2-ranked Skyview Storm in a 4A regional game played at Battle Ground High.
Coach Terry Johnson’s crew started in a bit of a hole, trailing 19-12 at the end of the first quarter. But the Hornets held the advantage the rest of the way.
It was the big guys doing most of the offensive damage for the Hornets, as 6-6 sophomore Peter Erickson had a team-high 16 points and 6-7 senior Kaden Anderson finished with 13. Bryson Engebretson joined them in double figures, scoring 10.
The state experience begins today, Wednesday, for the White River High girls. Having dropped their regional game, the No. 8-ranked Hornets will take to the SunDome floor at 2 p.m. against No. 9 Black Hills High. The drawback of playing Wednesday is that opening-round games carry loser-out status.
If White River is successful today, they will play Thursday – again at 2 p.m. – against No. 2 ranked W.F. West. The teams are familiar with one another, having played a nonleague contest in January; that one didn’t go the Hornets’ way, as the Chehalis school emerged with a 72-55 win.
Starting with two victories would send White River into the Final Four, with a 5:30 p.m. game on Friday. An opening-round win and a Thursday loss would bring a Friday game at 10:30 a.m. That would be another loser-out game, with the winner playing Saturday for fourth or sixth place.
White River’s Feb. 28 regional loss was to East Valley-Spokane. After making a long trip to Spokane to play at University High, the Hornets fell 75-62 to the Knights, who are now carrying the top-ranked RPI among the state’s 2A girls teams.
White River tried to keep things close, but were outscored in each of the first three periods, eventually trailing by 13 points with just eight minutes to play.
Senior Georgia Lavinder’s shooting helped keep the Hornets in the game, as she finished with a team-high 24 points. Freshman Kara Marecle added 14.