Here’s a brief look at the local squads that have advanced to the Tacoma Dome for the Hardwood Classic, with the first games taking place on March 6 at 9 a.m.
Record: 22-3 overall, 11-1 in Narrows 3A
Regional Result: Beat Mountlake Terrace 58-38
State opener: March 6 vs. O’Dea – 9 a.m. – Tacoma Dome
Leading scorers (season): G David Jenkins – 14.3 points per game; G Jamal Welch – 11.9 points per game; F Alphonso Anderson – 11.7 points per game
Outlook: All things considered, the Rams got as favorable of a draw as they could, with heavy favorite Rainier Beach sitting on the other side of the bracket. But no game is easy this time of year, and O’Dea features a balanced attack, with four players averaging double figures in scoring. Sitting in the post for the Irish is imposing 6-foot-9 center Jacob Lampkin. The Rams likely won’t be fazed by the 9 a.m. start, as they regularly have early-morning practices. With a win, the Rams might face Eastside Catholic – 80-40 winners over Timberline in the regionals – in the semifinals.
Record: 20-5 overall, 9-3 in Narrows 3A
Regional Result: Beat Mountlake Terrace 61-59
State opener: March 6 vs. Cleveland – 3:45 p.m. – Tacoma Dome
Leading scorers (season): F Tamia Braggs – 16.0 points per game; G Kiaira Thomas – 12.1 points per game; G Aamira Turner – 9.4 points per game
Outlook: The Lady Abes certainly seem to be peaking at the right time, as they make their first appearance at the Dome since 2006. But the draw did them no favors, as they are scheduled to face defending champs and top-ranked Cleveland in their opener. Lincoln’s rising defense will be tasked with slowing down senior guards Makayla Roper and Myzhanique Ladd, and an Eagles offense that averages nearly 70 points per game. The Lady Abes will try to feed Cleveland some of their own medicine, as Thomas and Turner can get in the lane and score quickly.
Record: 19-5 overall, 11-1 in Narrows 3A
Regional Result: Beat Ferndale 59-54
State opener: March 6 vs. Mercer Island – 9:00 p.m. – Tacoma Dome
Leading scorers (season): G Josie Matz – 15.0 points per game; F Violet Morrow – 13.4 points per game; F Kiara Knox – 13.3 points per game
Outlook: Many didn’t expect the young Lady Rams to be here, but the trio of Matz, Morrow and Knox has proven to be a formidable source of offense. Wilson got a favorable draw, but also a potentially scary matchup in Mercer Island, who just knocked off title contender Glacier Peak in the regionals. Despite a relatively new group, Morrow will look to help erase the disappointing loss at the Dome last year. Matz, the speedy freshman floor general, will be a key to the Rams’ success.