Boys and girls basketball heads into stretch run
A basketball team from Prairie won the Class 3A bi-district title.
The boys team.
“Kind of a shocker,” Prairie coach Kyle Brooks acknowledged.
The Prairie boys basketball team, which started the season 2-6 and 0-2 in league play, rallied to finish second in the Class 3A Greater St. Helens League, then rolled off four consecutive wins in the bi-district to earn that title Saturday night.
“We seem to be getting better and better every week and getting more confidence,” Brooks said.
By reaching the semifinals of the bi-district, Prairie had already clinched a berth to state. But the two more wins, including the championship victory over league-rival Kelso, moved Prairie up a bit in the RPI rankings as well.
There are still a number of district and bi-district tournament games to be played throughout the state to determine the final teams to state. The WIAA will announce matchups for this week’s state regionals soon enough.
Still, the Falcons were the surprise winner of the boys bi-district.
Another surprise to some was the play of the Battle Ground boys, who had to win the play-in game just to advance into the main 4A bi-district tournament. The Tigers ended up going 5-1 — and every game was played in the Puget Sound area — to qualify for state.
“They just totally believed in each other. They believed in everything I was telling them,” Battle Ground coach Manny Melo said. “We’re getting hot at the right time. Guys are really stepping up into their roles. Everything is kind of clicking right now.”
Melo added that he cannot pinpoint one thing. So many things are going right for the team.
Except for maybe the celebration.
Melo and the Tigers were so thrilled with clinching a berth to state that the coach fell during the celebration and broke his wrist.
“First time I’ve ever broken a bone,” he said. “It was all worth it. I’d do it all over again.”
Another surprise to some, but not them, the Hudson’s Bay Eagles qualified for state in the 3A girls bi-district tournament.
“Bay has been a program that has received little respect in the past. Our girls want to prove that we belong on the court with other good teams,” coach Mike Rainville said. “We wanted to make it to the state playoffs someday. With a team led by underclassmen, we are way ahead of schedule. The Bay girls have high goals.”
In 1A boys basketball, Seton Catholic had a big weekend, finishing off a run in the consolation bracket for the third playoff berth. La Center, King’s Way Christian, and Seton Catholic all qualified for state.
As of Monday morning, 12 Class 4A, 3A, 2A, or 1A basketball teams from Clark County are going to state, with one more still alive.
4A boys: Union, third in the bi-district; Battle Ground, fifth in bi-district.
4A girls: Camas, fourth in the bi-district.
3A boys: Prairie, bi-district champion.
3A girls: Prairie, third in bi-district, Hudson’s Bay, fifth in bi-district.
2A boys: Columbia River, district champion.
2A girls: Washougal, district champion.
1A boys: La Center, district champion; King’s Way Christian, district runner-up; Seton Catholic, third place in district.
1A girls: King’s Way Christian, district runner-up.
1A girls: La Center faces Montesano 2 p.m. Monday at King’s Way Christian HS for final berth to state.