Thursday, June 22, 2017 This Week's Paper

Playoff fever hits Tacoma’s hoopsters

The district basketball crunch is nearing its end, and a host of Tacoma schools are still in the postseason mix for a ticket to regionals, while some have already secured a spot to the big dance. If the Tacoma-area schools can continue notching wins, this year may very well go down as one of the largest bumper crops of basketball talent that the City of Destiny has ever produced.

With as many as 16 Tacoma-area teams still in the hunt for a trip to the state tournament, let’s take a look at how they’ve reached this point and what is now standing in the way of the state tournament.

Bellarmine Prep’s Lady Lions have had an incredible season. The 4A South Puget Sound League champions dispatched Union by an embarrassing score of 58-15 to open district play. Up next was 20-4 Todd Beamer, a team that has given Bellarmine problems in recent years. At one point, it looked as though Beamer was going to pull away from the Lady Lions, but Bellarmine stepped up and closed out Beamer by a score of 53-46. Up next for Bellarmine is a semifinal date with powerhouse Kentridge (22-2), which will happen a few hours after this issue goes to print. Should the Lions win, they will face either Camas or Auburn Riverside on Saturday, Feb. 18 at Puyallup High School at 4 p.m.

The Bellarmine boys are also still in the hunt, however they are attempting to make it through the consolation bracket now. The Lions made short work of Auburn to open district play with a 76-54 win. Up next for Bellarmine was a matchup with Union (17-3), the top-ranked team in the WIAA’s Rating Percentage Index. Union was able to pull away from Bellarmine for a 63-53 win. The Lions can punch a ticket to state with a victory over Camas on Wednesday, Feb. 15. It’s a loser-out game, so everything will be on the line for Bellarmine.

Both Curtis teams have already punched a ticket to the regional round, with the boys already earning a spot in the Tacoma Dome, due to their own RPI ranking, with is currently eighth.  The Curtis boys (20-2) will face top-ranked Federal Way (22-1) on Thursday, Feb. 16 at Mt. Tahoma at 6 p.m. The Curtis girls (17-7) have advanced to the regional round with a 45-32 win over Tahoma and a 52-48 victory over Puyallup in a loser-out game.

The Lincoln boys (22-0) are still without a blemish on their record. After dropping a 101-65 thumping on Evergreen to open districts, the Abes dispatched Central Kitsap to assure themselves a spot at the Tacoma Dome, as well as a date with Timberline (17-5) in the district semifinals on Wednesday, Feb. 15. Not to outdone, the Lincoln Lady Abes have also advanced to the Tacoma Dome, and will play Prairie (19-3) in the district semifinals on Thursday, Feb. 16 at Olympia High School at 6 p.m.

Wilson’s boys have assured themselves a spot in the regionals with a 69-62 win over North Thurston and a 62-59 last-second, half-court buzzer beater over Kelso to push them into the district semifinals. It’s quite possible that Wilson could meet Lincoln in the district finals on Saturday, Feb. 18 at Puyallup High School at 2 p.m. The Wilson Lady Rams (14-9) will face Mountain View (10-12) on Thursday, Feb. 16 at Timberline High School at 6 p.m. in a loser-out contest. The Lady Rams would also need another win two days later over either Peninsula or Timberline to advance to regionals, since the district only sends five teams this season.

The Foss boys (18-5) will play Kingston (16-6) in the 2A district semifinals on Wednesday, Feb. 15. Already assured of a spot in the regionals, a victory will send Foss to the district title game at their home gym on Saturday, Feb. 18 at 5:30 p.m.

Life Christian’s boys (22-1) have notched their third straight ticket to the state tournament in Spokane. The Eagles will face Adna (18-4) in the 2B district semifinals with a shot at a district matchup with 21-0 Napavine to the winner. The ingredients may be just right for this year’s team to make it to the big game in Spokane. Chief Leschi (18-5) is still alive in district play with a loser-out, winner to state matchup on tap with Toutle Lake (17-6) on Wednesday, Feb. 15. A win for the Warriors will send them to regionals and also might sew up a high enough RPI slot to be assured of a trip to Spokane.

The Tacoma Baptist girls continue their magic run, reaching 22-0 for the first time in school history. The Crusaders will face Northwest Yeshiva (15-9) at home on Thursday, Feb. 16 at 7 p.m. A win sends the Crusaders to state, while a loss would mean the Crusaders would have to win one more game to advance. The Tacoma Baptist boys (16-8) began a second-half season surge that just may push them all the way. The Crusaders will play Rainier Christian (13-6) on Thursday, Feb. 16 at Auburn High School at 7 p.m. A victory sends the Crusaders to the regional round, while a loss would mean a loser-out game two days later.