Washington Class 3A girls basketball state tournament bracket breakdown: Schedules, storylines, players to watch, predictions

Here’s an overview of the WIAA state high school Class 3A girls basketball tournament taking place Wednesday-Saturday at the Tacoma Dome:

WEDNESDAY GAMES (winner to Thursday quarterfinals, loser out)

No. 14 Hudson’s Bay (20-7) vs. No. 6 Lake Washington (19-6), 3:45 p.m.
Winner: Plays No. 4 Mount Spokane (19-3), 3:45 p.m.

No. 10 Seattle Prep (20-8) vs. No. 7 Lincoln of Tacoma (19-6), 5:30 p.m.
Winner: Plays No. 1 Eastside Catholic (25-1), 5:30 p.m.

No. 12 Capital (19-6) vs. No. 5 Shorecrest (21-3), 7:15 p.m.
Winner: Plays No. 3 Arlington (22-2), 7:15 p.m.

No. 9 Garfield (19-7) vs. No. 8 Kennewick (18-5), 9 p.m.
Winner: Plays No. 2 Bethel (23-1), 9 p.m.

THREE STORYLINES

How much high-level senior talent will there be on the Tacoma Dome floor?

A lot, starting with McDonald’s All-American selectee Dalayah Daniels, of Garfield, who has battled an ankle injury much of the season. She is the state’s premier wing prospect. But Mount Spokane’s Jayda Noble (UW), Garfield’s Meghan Fiso (Michigan) and Kennewick’s MeiLani McBee (Hawaii) are also exciting standouts.

When was the last time a young group like Eastside Catholic stormed the state in this manner?

Not sure the state has seen this deep of a group of ninth graders play at this high of a level before. Shifty Malia Samuels will soon be the state’s best point guard, and is an unbreakable leader. And forward Miracle Sheppard is the catalyst in the team’s fullcourt press who can also score in transition. The Crusaders are the 3A favorites.

Will anything prevent another Eastside Catholic-Garfield championship showdown Saturday night?

Although this isn’t the deepest classification in the state, there are some bracket-busting contenders. Returning state runner-up Mount Spokane is likely Eastside Catholic’s top threat in the top half of the bracket. And 3A contenders Arlington (3A Wesco champion) and Bethel (3A PCL champion) await to see if the Daniels-led Bulldogs can get past Wednesday.

FIVE PLAYERS TO WATCH

F Tiarra Brown, Bethel, sr.

F Dalayah Daniels, Garfield, sr.

F Jayda Noble, Mount Spokane, sr.

G Malia Samuels, Eastside Catholic, fr.

F Tamia Stricklin, Seattle Prep, jr.

FIRST-ROUND MATCHUP TO KEEP AN EYE ON

Seattle Prep vs. Lincoln of Tacoma: If you like grinder openers at the state tournament, this is your best bet. The Panthers see better competition in the Metro League, and have a reliable tandem in guard Molly Moffitt and forward Tamia Stricklin. But Abes post player Sharayah Johnson has come on the past month.

GAME PREDICTIONS

First-round games
Lake Washington 57, Hudson’s Bay 52
Seattle Prep 51, Lincoln-Tacoma 47
Shorecrest 60, Capital 46
Garfield 70, Kennewick 55

Quarterfinal games
Mount Spokane 68, Lake Washington 57
Eastside Catholic 62, Seattle Prep 58
Arlington 65, Shorecrest 60
Garfield 72, Bethel 66

Semifinal games
Eastside Catholic 59, Mount Spokane 58
Arlington 68, Garfield 65

Championship game
Eastside Catholic 69, Arlington 64

TICKETS

Daily: $15 for adults, and $12 for students/senior citizens (Wed.-Fri.) $16 for adults, $13 for students/senior citizens. (Sat.)

Weeklong: $38 for adults, $30 for students/senior citizens (Thu-Sat.). $50 for adults, $39 for students/senior citizens (Wed.-Sat.)

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