Local high school basketball teams prepare for regionals

Black Hills coach Tanya Greenfield passes along her postseason experience as player, assistant coach

mwochnick@theolympian.comFebruary 28, 2014 

Kobe Key gets off a shot against Chris Leiba, left, in boys basketball practice at River Ridge High School on Thursday. Issiah Scott and Alfonso Vela watch the play. The Hawks play White River in a Class 2A regional game at 8 p.m. Saturday at Puyallup High School.

PETER HALEY/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

The person with the most postseason experience on the Black Hills Wolves roster isn’t a player.

It’s coach Tanya Greenfield.

This week, the third-year Wolves coach has drawn from her postseason past – first, as a player on Sehome High’s 1987 team that played for a state title and second, as an assistant coach at Chelan, where the Goats made four consecutive Class 1A state tournament appearances – to inspire her players.

Saturday’s Class 2A girls regional against White River (21-5) is the furthest Black Hills (18-5) has gone in the postseason since advancing to state at the Yakima SunDome in 2010. No player on the roster has made it past the district tournament, and Greenfield’s past experiences have helped paint a picture of what lies ahead. A win Saturday means a trip to Yakima as one of the final eight 2A teams for the three-day state tournament.

“They’re so focused,” Greenfield said. “We’ve talked about it all year, coming into the gym focused and right now, it really counts.”

The regional is the team’s third consecutive win-or-go-home game. The Wolves won two loser-out contests last week in the 2A District IV tournament, including Saturday’s 72-56 win over River Ridge to secure the district’s final regional berth.

A big reason for the success has been the play of senior Sarah McGee. The Southern Utah signee is averaging a double-double in points and rebounds for the second consecutive season. She can play all five positions but has been a force inside during the previous two loser-out games with a combined 37 rebounds.

“She understands she has to do more for us to be successful,” Greenfield said.

It will be an all-2A Evergreen Conference doubleheader at Puyallup High School on Saturday. The Wolves

face the Hornets at 6 p.m. followed by the River Ridge boys against White River at 8 p.m.

The Hawks are in a similar situation. After making five consecutive state appearances from 2006-11, they haven’t been to Yakima since. River Ridge lost to Renton, 73-57, at last year’s regional at Tumwater.

The Timberline boys tip off at 6 p.m. Friday – the first among the six South Sound regional teams (the W.F. West and Mary M. Knight girls and the Oakville boys, in addition to the Black Hills girls and River Ridge boys). The Blazers face Eastside Catholic, a team many consider to be the second-best in the tough 3A Metro League behind national power Rainier Beach, in a 3A boys regional at Bellevue College.

The game features contrasting styles – the Blazers with their up-tempo style versus the Crusaders with their slowdown, inside-dominated game.

But the Blazers are just fine with the underdog role, and a win will give the program back-to-back state appearances for the first time since playing in consecutive title games in 1980-81.

“They’re embracing the challenge and they’re ready,” Blazers coach Allen Thomas said.

PREP BASKETBALL REGIONAL GAMES AROUND SOUTH SOUND

FRIDAY

Class 3A boys regional

At Bellevue College

Timberline (13-11) vs. Eastside Catholic (20-5), 6 p.m.

About the Blazers: The 3A Narrows League’s third-place team is the considered the underdog, but the Blazers do just fine in that role. At last year’s regional, they upset Mercer Island to make the Class 3A state tournament at the Tacoma Dome. A win puts Timberline at state in back-to-back years for the first time since 1980-81, when the Blazers played in two consecutive state title games. With sophomore Jarryn Bush averaging better than 12 points a game during the playoffs, the Blazers have averaged 68 points a game in four playoff games; two of them were against league foes Lincoln and Foss.

Key players: W Donaven Dorsey (20 ppg, 10 rpg, 5 apg), G Brandell Evans (13 ppg, 6 apg, 5 rpg).

About the Crusaders: The Crusaders are battle-tested coming from a brutal 3A Metro League, led by powerhouse Rainier Beach. Leading scorer Mandrell Worthy, a 6-foot-3 all-league forward, had a season-high 33 points in a game late last month, but he didn’t play in the Sea-King District title game last week because of an ankle injury. The result: a season-low 38 points for Eastside Catholic.

SATURDAY

Class 2A boys regional

At Puyallup High School

River Ridge (14-10) vs. White River (19-7), 8 p.m. (on radio, 95.3-FM)

About the Hawks: Can they ride Jason Kananin’s momentum to Yakima? The emergence of Kananin in the past two playoff games – 54 combined points in two loser-out games – has River Ridge another win away from the SunDome, where it hasn’t been since 2011. If the Hawks have a halftime lead, there’s a good chance they’ll win. In all 14 victories, the Hawks have led at the break. This game also is a preview for next season; River Ridge will join the 2A SPSL, which features White River.

Key players: G Jason Kananin (16 ppg, 2.5 rpg), G Kobe Key (12 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2 apg).

About the Hornets: Balance is the key for White River. If there’s a weakness, it might be ball-handling, but wings Brandon Dove and Spencer Swigart were two of four White River players to score in double figures in the West Central District title game win over 2A SPSL rival Fife.

Class 2A girls regional

At Puyallup High School

Black Hills (18-5) vs. White River (21-5), 6 p.m. (on radio, 95.3-FM)

About the Wolves: A spot in regionals marks the first time since 2010 they have made it out of district. The senior class, which has never made the state tournament, is hungry to cap their careers with a trip to Yakima. And for the second consecutive week, the No. 5 Wolves face another top-10 team in a win-or-go-home game. Black Hills has yet to lose to a 2A team not in their conference; four of their five losses have come against top-five teams in the EvCo: W.F. West (three times) and River Ridge (once). The other loss? At 4A Puyallup, 53-51, to open the season.

Key players: W/P Sarah McGee (11 ppg, 13 rpg), P Shayla Smothers (10 ppg, 7 rpg), Sydney Sauls (8 ppg), Taylor Sauls (8 ppg).

About the Hornets: For the second consecutive year, the Hornets are facing a 2A EvCo team (River Ridge in 2013) in a regional game. White River defeated 2A SPSL rival Sumner, 48-45 in overtime, to win the West Central District III title and a No. 1 seed. White River coach Chris Gibson called the Wolves “tough” and “battle tested.”

Class 2A girls regional

At Tumwater High School

W.F. West (21-2) vs. Bellingham (13-11), 2 p.m.

About the Bearcats: With four players 6-foot or taller – including 2A EvCo MVP and WSU-bound Nike McClure – a lot of the Bearcats’ offense runs through the paint. W.F. West hasn’t lost since a Dec. 27 nonleague defeat to 3A Juanita, and last Friday’s 2A District IV title game win over Mark Morris was a statement as the Bearcats hope to make it four consecutive trips to Yakima.

Key players: P Nike McClure (12.3 ppg, 10.5 rpg), P Julie Spencer (10 ppg, 9.5 rpg), G Tori Weeks (6.8 ppg, 3.5 apg).

About the Red Raiders: At 13-11, Bellingham’s record isn’t spectacular, but they Red Raiders are finding their winning ways at the right time. With no player taller than 5-9, they do it with speed: Leading scorer Ashley Porter (11.7 ppg) is the defending 100-meter state champion in track and field.

Class 1B girls regional

At Tumwater High School

Mary M. Knight (16-4) vs. Tulalip Heritage (16-4), 4 p.m.

About the Owls: If MMK can hit its perimeter shots, watch out. That’s what happened in the district title game win over Taholah to snap the Chitwins’ streak of four district crowns. The Owls’ lack of size means they must rely on the 3-pointer, which has led to a 16-win season behind Jaycee Valley – coach Lance Valley’s daughter – and Ashley Kiliz.

About the Hawks: One name – 6-foot sophomore post Adiya Jones – is all you’ll need to know. Not only is she the team’s leading scorer, but she also scored 40 points in a 50-34 regional-clinching win over Shoreline Christian on Feb. 21.

Class 1B boys regional

At W.F. West High School, Chehalis

Oakville (17-7) vs. Shorewood Christian (18-6), 2 p.m.

About the Acorns: In their second year as an independent, the Acorns have had a 10-win improvement from a season ago, and are a win away from a trip to the 1B state tournament in Spokane for the first time since 2010. As the No. 1 seed from District IV, Oakville relies heavily on Ray Lopez, whom second-year coach Cliff Harris described as an “outstanding 3-pointer shooter.” He averages 20 points a game and shoots 43 percent from 3-point range.

About the Lions: Shorewood Christian’s roster is small – just seven players – but those seven are effective. Stan Domingo had 30 points in the Lions’ victory last week over Lummi to advance to regionals.

Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473 mwochnick@theolympian.com mwochnick@theolympian.com

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