High School Sports

District basketball games pushed back again because of weather. How will this impact the brackets?

Lincoln’s Kashaud Babbs (3) takes a three-point-shot in the first quarter. Lincoln played Wilson at Lincoln High School in Tacoma, Wash., on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019.
Lincoln’s Kashaud Babbs (3) takes a three-point-shot in the first quarter. Lincoln played Wilson at Lincoln High School in Tacoma, Wash., on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. joshua.bessex@gateline.com

District basketball tournaments around the South Sound have again been delayed by snow.

Sumner School District athletic director Tim Thomsen, who has managed basketball tournaments in the West Central District for the past two decades, confirmed Monday morning that all tournaments in the South Sound are expected to resume play Wednesday.

“Right now, if we play Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, we can get it all done,” Thomsen said.

Games that were postponed Friday and Saturday of last week were originally projected to be played Tuesday night, but Thomsen said conditions are too unpredictable, and it’s possible many schools in the region will still not be in session.

The Class 1A girls play-in game between Seattle Christian and Port Townsend, which is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday in Port Townsend, is the only game that could still tentatively be played that night.

If tournaments — including the boys and girls 4A West Central/Southwest bidistrict tournaments, 3A West Central/Southwest bidistrict tournaments, 2A West Central District tournaments and 1A West Central District tournaments — do resume Wednesday, Thomsen said every game in the brackets could be completed by the Sunday, Feb. 17 deadline set by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association to seed the state regionals.

WIAA executive director Mike Colbrese said that date could be flexible dependent on weather, but as of last weekend, it was still set for Feb. 17.

“We’ve been working with the WIAA on their deadline,” Thomsen said. “Their deadline is Saturday (to have games completed). They have a lot of work to get the regionals figured out. They will likely give us some grace for the consolation side of our brackets.”

If Wednesday’s games are postponed because of weather, Thomsen said the district brackets will likely be adjusted to prioritize games that will determine which teams qualify for state regionals.

In 4A, seven teams from the bidistrict tournaments qualify for the state regionals. Four of those spots will be decided by which teams win quarterfinals, and the other three by teams that come through the consolation side of the bracket.

In 3A, five teams from the bidistrict tournaments qualify. Again, four spots are decided by quarterfinals winners, and one more by the teams that come through consolation.

In 2A, six teams from the WCD tournaments qualify, with four spots decided by quarterfinals and two more by consolation.

In 1A, two teams from the WCD tournaments qualify through a series of loser-out games.

Thomsen said there is a scenario — though WCD athletic director Joe Keller stressed last week this would not be ideal — where the semifinals, finals and third-fourth place games in the 4A, 3A and 2A tournaments are not played.

In that case, teams would miss out on two games that could adjust their RPI rankings before state regional seeding.

“It’s going to be a little bit of a challenge that way,” Thomsen said. “Teams on the winning side want the RPI points, but we don’t need to play the semis and the finals. With the sites we do have, we have to prioritize to get the qualifiers done.”

WIAA assistant executive director Andy Barnes emailed the association’s executive board, and district directors Monday, detailing the possible outcomes of seeding the state regionals.

“We are aware that districts have contingency plans for district basketball tournaments,” the note says. “We are hoping that those plans include the concept of playing only the elimination games with seeding games being played only when possible.

“To that end, we are still planning on developing the regional basketball schedule this Sunday, Feb. 17. However, if necessary we will allow districts to finalize their seeding and get us final results by 5 p.m., Monday, Feb. 18.

“Our goal would be that no later than noon, Tuesday, Feb. 19 we will be able to release the regional basketball schedule and locations.”

Thomsen said this is the first time in the two decades he has managed these tournaments that a weather event has ever had the impact it has had in the past week.

Though, he said schools around the South Sound have been willing to host games through the end of the week in interest of completing the brackets.

“We’re trying to take all of these factors into consideration, and make it work for everybody,” Thomsen said. “Everybody around the state is going through the same thing.”

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Lauren Smith covers the Seattle Mariners for The News Tribune. She previously covered high school sports at TNT and The Olympian, beginning in 2015. She is a graduate of the University of Washington and Emerald Ridge High School.