Friday's girls regional basketball games
Class 4A (winner-to-state, loser-out)
Yelm (20-4) v. Skyline (19-5), 8 p.m. at Rogers High School, Puyallup
How they got here: Yelm defeated Union, 52-51, in the regional seeding game in 4A West Central/SW bi-district; Skyline lost to Inglemoor, 54-36, in the DIstrict 2 title game.
The skinny: Tornados coach Russ Riches says his current team is very similar to the 2008-09 that earned their first state tournament appearance (Class 3A) in nearly 20 years -- balance, good ball handlers, and strong post play. You cant stop just one player on offense for Yelm, the 4A Narrows League champions, as four players are averaging better than seven points a game. Division I recruit Anushka Maldonado (12.6 ppg, 9.0 rpg) has scored in double figures in three of the Tornados four games this postseason, including a career-high 28 in the regional seeding game over Union. Skyline, known for its man defense and full-court pressure, has a Division I recruit of its own in senior wing Haley Smith, a Colorado signee.
Class 2A (winner-to-state, loser-out)
River Ridge (18-5) v. White River (21-4), 6 p.m. at Kent-Meridian High School, Kent
How they got here: River Ridge defeated Centralia, 60-44, for the final seed from District IV; White River lost to Sumner, 57-43, in the West Central/SW bi-district title game.
The skinny: The Hawks have been a new-look team this postseason, combining its strong outside shooting with points in the paint, led by Savannah McGill and Rebecca Stevenson. The Hawks defensive pressure starts and ends with Jazzlynn Brewster (15 ppg), a first-team all-EvCo pick who averages 3.2 steals per contest. Question marks surround the health of two of White Rivers top players, Kennedy Hobert, the 2A SPSL MVP (wrist) and Sutton Mills (concussion). Hobert went 0-for-11 shooting in Mondays loss to Sumner before being pulled in the third quarter. Hobert is the daughter of former UW quarterback Billy Joe Hobert.
W.F. West (19-4) v. Archbishop Murphy (19-5), 6 p.m. at Tumwater High School
How they got here: W.F. West lost to Mark Morris, 48-43, in the 2A District IV title game; Archbishop Murphy lost to Cedarcrest, 56-50, to earn the third seed from District 1/2.
The skinny: Perhaps no 2A team in the state has the frontcourt size of the Bearcats, who feature 6-3 Jamika Parker, 6-1 Julie Spencer and 5-11 Olivia Erskine. Parker, a senior and the 2A EvCos MVP, is a shot-blocking machine with 310 blocks and counting in her career. Defense is W.F. Wests speciality, as few teams have had success against them. The Bearcats allow an average of 33.6 points per game. Archbishop Murphys offensively primarily goes through 6-2 senior post Beth Carlson, a Santa Clara signee.
Saturday's boys regional basketball games
Class 3A (winner-to-state, loser-out)
Timberline (15-9) v. Mercer Island (22-3), 4 p.m. at Mount Tahoma High School, Tacoma
How they got here: Timberline lost to Lincoln, 52-51, in the West Central/SW bi-district title game; Mercer Island defeated Franklin, 62-48, for third place in the Sea-King tournament.
The skinny: Not many teams want to face the red-hot Blazers right now. Despite its one-point loss to 3A Narrows-rival Lincoln in the bi-district title game with 25 points coming from Donaven Dorsey (21 ppg), Timberline is playing great basketball at the right time, but coach Allen Thomas said his players havent played their best ball yet. Were dangerously close, he said. This is the furthest a Timberline team has gone in the playoffs since 2004. Mercer Island, which won 16 of its first 17 games, is well-balanced on both ends of the floor, led by 6-8 center Joe Rasmussen, the KingCo 3A/2A MVP and defensive player of the year. Little-known fact: he wears a size 19 shoe. Rasmussen is a Seattle Pacific signee, whose father, Blair, who had an eight-year NBA career.
Class 2A (winner-to-state, loser-out)
River Ridge (17-6) v. Renton (22-2), 6 p.m. at Tumwater High School
How they got here: River Ridge defeated Mark Morris, 50-47, in the 2A District IV title game; Renton defeated Franklin Pierce, 62-50, to earn the sixth seed from West Central District III.
The skinny: The Hawks continue to be one of the hottest teams in Class 2A, winning 14 consecutive games since starting the 3-6 through their first nine games. And in spite the Hawks winning their fifth consecutive district title, their regional matchup is a brutal one: No. 2-ranked Renton. Senior guard Brad Wallace is the schools all-time leading scorer and is vastly approaching 700 points this season, averaging 28 points per game. Ten of the 22 games he's played in, he's tallied 30 or more points. The Indians and Hawks have many similarities --- speed, up-tempo play, and guard-oriented. Neither team as much size; the Indians tallest player in the regular rotation is 6-3. River Ridges Austin Parker is 6-4. At one point, Renton was 19-0 before its first loss to Kennedy, Feb. 1. Guard Johnathan Patterson was the Seamount League MVP.
--Meg Wochnick, staff writer