Hereâ€™s an overview of the WIAA state high school Class 1B boys basketball tournament taking place Wednesday-Saturday at the Spokane Arena:
WEDNESDAY GAMES (winner to Thursday quarterfinals, loser out)
No. 11 Wahkiakum (17-10) vs. No. 6 Lake Roosevelt (19-5), 3:45 p.m.
Winner: Plays No. 5 Life Christian Academy (24-3), 3:45 p.m.
No. 10 Willapa Valley (19-7) vs. No. 7 Onalaska (), 5:30 p.m.
Winner: Plays No. 1 Liberty (24-0), 5:30 p.m.
No. 12 Kettle Falls (17-9) vs. No. 4 Brewster (21-3), 7:15 p.m.
Winner: Plays No. 3 Toutle Lake (20-4), 7:15 p.m.
No. 9 Colfax (19-7) vs. No. 8 White Swan (18-7), 9 p.m.
Winner: Plays No. 2 Saint Georgeâ€™s (20-4), 9 p.m.
The favorite? Life Christian Academy: For the first time in four years, the 2B state champ will not be Kittitas, which made an impressive run that ended in the regional round. So now that a juggernaut led by the stateâ€™s all-time leading scorer Brock Ravet is not in the field, who is the favorite? Look no further than 5-seed Life Christian Academy, which is defensive-minded, long, athletic and has a starting five that not many teams in the state can easily match up with.
2019 runner-up Saint George’s reloaded: After losing three starters, Saint George’s coach Ryan Peplinski knew the team he was returning could make the state tournament. But the Dragons earning a 2-seed, he says, is an achievement he didnâ€™t predict. Credit that to point guard Dan Rigsby, who is averaging 16 points and eight assists per game, opting to be a facilitator as much as a scorer. Nick Watkins grew at least three inches, and at 6-foot-5, heâ€™s led the team in the second half of the season with 23 points per game. Can they lead the Dragons to avenge its runner-up finish last year?
Liberty enters undefeated: The hottest team entering the tournament is Liberty of Spangle, which enters the week 24-0 after making out of the 2B Northeast League, taking down 2-seed St. Georgeâ€™s, then beating White Swan in a regional seeding game. The Lancers boast depth well beyond high-scoring guard Jacob Holling and sophomore backcourt mate Tayshawn Colvin.
FIVE PLAYERS TO WATCH
G Omari Maulana, Life Christian Academy, jr.
G Dan Rigsby, Saint Georgeâ€™s, sr.
G Broc Keeton, Toutle Lake, sr.
F Cade Gebbers, Brewster, jr.
G Tayshawn Colvin, Liberty (Spangle), soph.
FIRST-ROUND GAME TO KEEP AN EYE ON
Onalaska vs. Willapa Valley: Thereâ€™s recent history to take into account assessing this 10-7 matchup. Onalaska beat Willapa Valley by 15 in its district tournament on Feb. 21. But all bets are off in the Spokane Arena, where Willapa Valley could be riding the momentum of a regional win over Friday Harbor. The balanced Loggers led in the first half of its seeding game loss to Saint Georgeâ€™s.
Lake Roosevelt 67, Wahkiakum 55
Onalaska 70, Willapa Valley 61
Brewster 82, Kettle Falls 77
Colfax 58, White Swan 52
Life Christian Academy 63, Wahkiakum 49
Liberty (Spangle) 73, Onalaska 71
Brewster 65, Toutle Lake 64
Saint Georgeâ€™s 56, Colfax 51
Life Christian Academy 67, Liberty (Spangle) 55
Saint Georgeâ€™s 68, Brewster 65
Life Christian Academy 67, Saint Georgeâ€™s 60
Daily: $16.50 for adults, and $13.50 for students/senior citizens (Wed.-Fri.) $17.50 for adults, $14.50 for students/senior citizens. (Sat.)
Weeklong: $39.50 for adults, $31.50 for students/senior citizens (Thu-Sat.). $51.50 for adults, $40.50 for students/senior citizens (Wed.-Sat.)