Timberline (18-6) vs. No. 6 Issaquah (20-3)
10 a.m. Saturday at Bellevue College
About the Blazers: Don’t expect Timberline to go quietly against a top 10 team. The Blazers found a rhythm in the West Central District tournament, led by Jarryn Bush, who averaged 20.8 points across the four games. Bush has been a constant threat inside in the postseason, and if he and leading scorer Erik Stevenson ( ppg) get hot, the Blazers are nearly unstoppable.
About the Eagles: Issaquah is on a nine-game winning streak. And 10 in a row would give Trevon Ary-Turner (18.9 ppg) and company a third consecutive trip to the Tacoma Dome. The Eagles took fourth last season in the 4A tournament. Guards Scott Kellum (15.7) and Jason Crandall (11.1) round out the attack for the 4A KingCo champs.
Olympian pick: Issaquah, 70-58
No. 6 Selah (20-3) vs. Tumwater (16-6)
6 p.m. Friday at Mount Tahoma High School
About the Vikings: Selah’s last trip to a dome was to the Tacoma Dome in 2004, when it went two-and-out in the 3A state tournament. A duo of underclassmen – freshman Elijah Pepper (20 ppg) and sophomore Zakery Donato (15) – will pace the Vikings in a quest to make it to the dome in Yakima. Selah is frantic on offense says coach Tim Garza, who describes his team’s attack as “controlled chaos.”
About the T-Birds: Two Southwest District 4 titles in a row for Tumwater, but the T-Birds want to forget the end of last year’s postseason – they dropped their regional game, 70-69, to Fife. Weston Vandenhazel, a 6-10 post, is the centerpiece of a retooled T-Birds offense, and has been the go-to in the postseason. He’s averaged 20 points per game in his last three outings.
Olympian pick: Selah, 63-55
No. 4 Squalicum (19-4) vs. No. 2 River Ridge (21-2)
8 p.m. Friday at Puyallup
About the Storm: Squalicum is back for a grudge match after dropping last year’s third-place game, 72-50, to the Hawks. Look for a track meet – both sides play up-tempo and create opportunities to get out in transition. Squalicum returns the bulk of its line-up, and is paced by Washington State football commit Josiah Westbrook (17 ppg), Damek Mitchell (15) and Darious Powell (14).
About the Hawks: The go-to guy changes every game, which makes River Ridge a nightmare to predict. The Hawks have five players averaging double digits – Jaden White (14.7), Mac Armstrong (11.7), LaBrandon Price (11.7), Isaiah Scott (10.5) and 2A SPSL MVP Kobe Key (10.2). Pulling down offensive boards has been the lifeline for the Hawks all season, and coach John Barbee says rebounding will be key in what could very well be a shootout.
Olympian pick: River Ridge, 65-62
Clarkston (16-8) vs. No. 8 Black Hills (20-3)
2 p.m. Saturday at Centralia
About the Bantams: The absence of a ranking before the name is a mirage. Clarkston is one of the best 2A teams in the state and has a regular season finale win over top-ranked East Valley (Spokane) to prove it. The attack disciplined, as is the defense. Jaclyn Meyers leads the way with 13.8 points per game and 6.2 rebounds.
About the Wolves: Been here twice in the last two years, but have yet to make it to Yakima. Emma Duff – the 2A EvCo co-MVP and Black Hills’ leading scorer at 18.8 points per game – is a threat from anywhere on the floor. The Wolves beat up on reigning state champion Mark Morris, 53-30, last weekend to secure their first Southwest District 4 title since 2009.
Olympian pick: Black Hills, 53-51
River Ridge (15-9) vs. No. 4 Ellensburg (20-2)
6 p.m. Saturday at Eisenhower (Yakima)
About the Hawks: Saint Martin’s signee Makenna Schultz (19.6 ppg) is the centerpiece. And with dad Steve in his first year coaching the program, and nine underclassmen on the roster, the Hawks will need a big game from the veteran to carve out a return trip to Yakima. River Ridge went two-and-out at the state tournament last year, and lost one of those games to, yep, Ellensburg.
About the Bulldogs: Last year’s third-place team is still playing pretty sound basketball. Don’t expect many turnovers from the Central Washington Athletic Conference champs, whose only loss this year was in the season opener to Class 4A sixth-ranked Chiawana. Lexie Bland and Kassidy Malcolm are the two to watch for Ellensburg.
Olympian pick: Ellensburg, 65-46
Mary M. Knight (13-5) vs. No. 3 Tulalip Heritage (22-1)
2 p.m. Saturday at Everett Community College
About the Owls: The work outweighs the talent, coach Lance Valley says. The Owls have six players on the roster, and three of them are eighth-graders. But Mary M. Knight is in the mix for a trip to Spokane on the shoulders of two energetic guards – freshman Kaylee Sowle (15 ppg) and senior Jaycee Valley (14 ppg).
About the Hawks: Tulalip Hertiage has one loss this season – a 2-pointer to Mount Vernon Christian in the 1B Tri-District tournament championship last weekend. The Hawks are quick and transition and have the role players to round out an offense that averages 56 points per game. Adiya Jones, a 5-10 center, is the funnel for the Hawks’ offense, and will be a handful for the Owls inside.
Olympian pick: Tulalip Heritage, 58-45