First-year Black Hills boys basketball coach Jeff Gallagher has gotten a first-hand glimpse at what an intense, close-in-proximity rivalry Black Hills and Tumwater have. As the former head coach at Valley Catholic High School in Beaverton, Ore., before taking over the Wolves this past summer, he experienced no true rival for the Valiants.
In Tumwater, things are different.
“You throw a rock across I-5, and there they are,” Gallagher said.
Crosstown rivalry aside, both teams will be fighting for their playoff lives when they meet at 7:30 tonight at Black Hills High. The boys game
is the nightcap of a girls-boys doubleheader.
Tumwater (5-12 overall, 3-7 Evergreen Conference) is one game ahead of Black Hills (4-15, 2-9) in the league win column.
The 2A EvCo’s crystal ball couldn’t have set up tonight’s script any better: If Black Hills wins and Tumwater losses a home game to second-place River Ridge next Tuesday, the Wolves and Thunderbirds will be tied for the fifth and final playoff spot heading into next weekend’s 2A Southwest District IV tournament. In that case, a tiebreaker game between Black Hills and Tumwater will be played at River Ridge on Wednesday. If Tumwater wins, it clinches the final playoff berth regardless of Tuesday’s outcome, and Black Hills’ season ends.
“We’re playing for our season (tonight),” Gallagher said, “and we need some help.”
Despite a 12-game losing streak that dates back to Dec. 14, the Wolves are in a prime position to earn a playoff berth. They got in this position by jumping out to wins in their first two league games in mid-December – a 49-47 win over Aberdeen and a 64-53 win two nights later over Centralia. In three of its past five games, however, Gallagher’s squad has been a late possession or two away from earning a much-needed win. A each time, he said, his team hit a “2- to 3-minute loll.”
“All of a sudden,” Gallagher said, “you’re down, eight, nine, 10 points.”
The two teams haven’t had this much at stake since they met in the district semifinals two years ago, when the Wolves pulled an upset after losing to Tumwater twice during the regular season.
“I think it’s going to be fun,” Gallagher said. “The last time we played them at their place, it was a wonderful high school basketball environment. I’m hoping for that way (tonight). … Our guys are ready to go.”
POSTSEASON HEATING UP
The 4A and 3A/2A state bowling championships begin at 10 a.m. today at Narrows Plaza Bowl in University Place, with Baker-format games (five bowlers take turns, one frame at a time) taking place Saturday. After claiming its first district title last weekend, Timberline is one of the favorites in the 3A/2A team race. …
In wrestling, today and Saturday are filled with subdistrict tournaments. The 4A/3A Narrows subdistrict meet begins at 5 p.m. today at Foss and wraps up starting at 10 a.m. Saturday. The 2A EvCo subdistrict meet begins at 5 p.m. today at Aberdeen and wraps up starting at 10 a.m. Saturday. The one-day 1A subdistrict and girls subdistrict starts at 10 a.m. in Elma. …
In gymnastics, the North Thurston Public Schools’ subdistrict meet starts at 5 p.m. Thursday at Mount Rainier, while in 4A, Olympia’s subdistrict meet starts at noon Saturday, also at Mount Rainier. …
Olympia’s boys swimming team will compete at the West Central District III championships today and Saturday at Curtis.
REGIONAL BASKETBALL PAIRINGS RELEASED
The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association released its boys and girls basketball regional pairings Tuesday and there are significant benefits to playing in a district title game: staying close to home.
The District IV champions and runners-up for both 2A boys and girls will play their regional games at Tumwater High School, while the 1A boys and girls champions and runners-up will play at W.F. West High School.
Timberline is a District 4/5 regional host site, where boys and girls champions and runners-up from 1B will play.
NARROWS LEAGUE BASKETBALL CHANGES
To make room for the possibility of tiebreaker basketball games, the final two regular-season games for 4A/3A Narrows League boys and girls will be moved up two days to Monday and Wednesday, instead of the originally scheduled Wednesday-Friday games. In 4A girls, the regular-season finale between Yelm and Bellarmine Prep will tip off at 7 p.m. Wednesday, instead of Friday at Bellarmine. The winner will claim the 4A Narrows League title outright and the No. 1 seed into the West Central/Southwest bi-district tournament.Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473 firstname.lastname@example.org theolympian.com/southsoundsports @MegWochnick