State basketball: Clark County dressed to the nines

Nine local teams are left in boys and girls state high school basketball tournaments

Clark County has nine teams still playing in the final week of the high school basketball season.

Two will play each other in an elimination game Wednesday, five others also play elimination games Wednesday, and two are already in the quarterfinals, which will be played Thursday.

Here’s a quick glance at the teams, their WIAA history, and their matchups.

Class 4A boys

At Tacoma Dome

No. 11 Skyview (18-9) vs. No. 6 West Valley (Yakima) (19-3)

3:45 p.m. Wednesday

The Storm beat Jackson 66-56 in the state regional elimination round, advancing to this, the round-of-12. 

West Valley went 19-2 before losing in the state regional seeding game. West Valley had won 17 in a row but suffered a wake-up call this past week with a 30-point loss to No. 3 Mount Si.

This is the second time Skyview has reached the Tacoma Dome. In 2018, the Storm went 2-2 and placed sixth.

The winner of this game advances to the quarterfinals against No. 4 Central Valley at 

3:45 p.m. Thursday. The loser is out. 

No. 12 Battle Ground (15-10) vs. No. 5 Federal Way (23-5)

7:15 p.m. Wednesday

The Battle Ground Tigers have the most losses of any of the remaining 12 teams. The Tigers would love it if Federal Way overlooked them because of that record. But remember, Battle Ground has played one of the toughest schedules in the state. In all, the Tigers played 16 teams that made it to state tournaments in Washington or Oregon. Yes, the Tigers are tested.

Battle Ground got here with a strong fourth quarter to beat Inglemoor 72-57 on Saturday in the state regional elimination game. 

Federal Way is one of the top teams in the state just about every year. Federal Way lost a tough one to No. 4 Central Valley in the state seeding game last week to fall into the round of 12. 

This is Battle Ground’s second consecutive appearance in the Tacoma Dome. The Tigers lost the round-of-12 game last year. 

In all, this is the program’s 16th appearance at state, dating back to 1946. Battle Ground won a state title in 1990. 

The winner of this game advances to the quarterfinals against No. 3 Mount Si at 7:15 p.m. Thursday. The loser is out.

No. 1 Union (25-0) vs TBA

5:30 p.m. Thursday

The Titans have a school-record 25 wins and, naturally, a school-record for most consecutive wins. They advanced directly to the quarterfinals with a 66-64 win over Gonzaga Prep, the two-time defending Class 4A state champions on Saturday. It was the second win over Gonzaga Prep this season.

The Union boys will go into the Class 4A state quarterfinals as the top seed in the state. Photo by Mike Schultz
The Union boys will go into the Class 4A state quarterfinals as the top seed in the state. Photo by Mike Schultz

The Titans have won 22 of their games by double-digits. However, they have been in close battles in three of their past eight games, including an overtime victory over Skyview and a score in the final seconds to beat Battle Ground.

No one at Union is guaranteeing a cakewalk in this tournament. In fact, all four top seeds advanced directly to the quarterfinals.

Tanner Toolson is Mr. Basketball for Washington, as honored by the Washington Interscholastic Basketball Coaches Association. 

Union will take on the winner of Wednesday’s Olympia-Auburn game in Thursday’s quarterfinal.

Union has been the most consistent boys basketball program in Clark County in recent years. This is Union’s sixth consecutive trip to state, and fifth year in a row in the dome. The Titans made it to the title game in 2017. In all, this is the ninth appearance at state. Union won the state title as a Class 3A program in 2010. 

Class 4A girls

At Tacoma Dome

No. 14 Camas (16-11) vs. No. 6 Glacier Peak (20-4) 

9 a.m. Wednesday

Breakfast with the Papermakers.

The Papermakers get the first game of the day in the dome, and they hope their defense will be wide awake.

The Camas girls pulled off a stunner in the state regional elimination round, advancing to the Tacoma Dome. Photo by Mike Schultz
The Camas girls pulled off a stunner in the state regional elimination round, advancing to the Tacoma Dome. Photo by Mike Schultz

The defense has led Camas to the state tournament. Oh, and a hot 3-point shooting night Saturday in the state regionals. 

Call them survivors. After all, the Papermakers finished third in the 4A GSHL and yet here they are, still with a chance to win a state title, in the final 12.

Glacier Peak is one of three 4A schools that has both the girls and boys teams in Tacoma. (Union and Central Valley are the others.) Glacier Peak came to Clark County early in the season, beat Prairie but lost a close one to Union. 

Glacier Peak won 16 in a row at one point, but has lost two in a row. 

Camas was eliminated in the state regional round last year but had made the dome the previous two seasons. 

The winner of this game will face No. 4 Chiawana in a quarterfinal game at 9 a.m. Thursday.

No. 7 Union (20-5) vs TBA

2 p.m. Thursday

The Union Titans have exactly one appearance in the Tacoma Dome. In 2018, the Titans lost in the round-of-12.

While the Titans still have never won a game in the dome, they are already the best team in school history. 

The Union girls have reason to celebrate. Their victory on Saturday advanced them to the 4A state quarterfinals this week in the Tacoma Dome. Photo by Mike Schultz
The Union girls have reason to celebrate. Their victory on Saturday advanced them to the 4A state quarterfinals this week in the Tacoma Dome. Photo by Mike Schultz

Union’s victory on Friday pushed the Titans directly to the state quarterfinals. Unchartered territory for this program. Oh, and guaranteed to play at least two games, as well.

The team is led by Mason Oberg, the 4A GSHL Player of the Year.

The Titans will play the winner of Wednesday’s game between Moses Lake and Rogers of Puyallup. 

Union finished second in the 4A GSHL but beat league-champion Skyview by 25 points in the regular-season finale. The Titans knew they were good enough for this run. In fact, Union is now 8-1 in its last nine games, including five postseason games. 

The Titans expect a decent crowd on Thursday, as well. The girls play at 2 p.m. and the boys play at 5:30 p.m. 

Class 3A boys

At Tacoma Dome

No. 5 Evergreen (20-4) vs. No. 13 Rainier Beach (17-9)

12:15 p.m. Wednesday

That record is special for the Evergreen Plainsmen, making their first final-week appearance at state since 2006. 

However, those four losses are of interest, too: All four have been by double digits. To be fair, the last two games — both losses — came without leading scorer Jaden Stanely, due to injury. 

Still, when Evergreen doesn’t have it, it doesn’t have it.

Mario Herring and the Evergreen Plainsmen lost in a state regional seeding game Saturday but get new life Wednesday in the round-of-12 at the Tacoma Dome. Photo by Mike Schultz
Mario Herring and the Evergreen Plainsmen lost in a state regional seeding game Saturday but get new life Wednesday in the round-of-12 at the Tacoma Dome. Photo by Mike Schultz

Oh, but even with the loss on Saturday in the state regionals, the Plainsmen are still alive. Because they had it a whole lot more times than they didn’t this season. Evergreen won 13 in a row, which included three postseason games to get to the bi-district finals. 

Rainier Beach is a national name in high school basketball. This is the ninth consecutive trip to state. The Vikings have won four state titles in that stretch. The program has nine state titles dating back to 1988. 

The winner of this game will advance to the quarterfinals at 12:15 p.m. Thursday against No. 6 Kamiakin. 

Class 3A girls 

At Tacoma Dome

No. 14 Hudson’s Bay (20-7) vs. Lake Washington (19-6)

3:45 p.m. Wednesday

In their last year as a 3A program, the Eagles will get to experience the Tacoma Dome. 

(Next year, should the Eagles make it to the final week, they will be going to Yakima for the 2A tournament.)

In fact, for more on the Eagles, check out our story on how they have turned their program around in recent years:

Lake Washington won the KingCo title and lost to No. 3 Arlington in the state regional seeding round over the weekend.

The winner of this game will head to the quarterfinals to take on No. 4 Mt. Spokane at 3:45 p.m. Thursday.

Class 1A boys

No. 10 La Center (18-6) vs. No. 7 King’s Way Christian (19-6)

10:30 a.m. Wednesday

A year ago, these two teams made it to the final four. That can’t happen this year. But Clark County is assured of a quarterfinalist.

Oh, and a year ago, King’s Way Christian went all the way to the state championship game from a double-digit seed. La Center would love to do that this season.

The King’s Way Christian boys are going to state for the sixth consecutive season. Photo by Mike Schultz
The King’s Way Christian boys are going to state for the sixth consecutive season. Photo by Mike Schultz

King’s Way Christian has had La Center’s number this campaign, winning both Trico League matchups. King’s Way Christian won the league title.

However, when the Knights stumbled in the district tournament, La Center stepped in and took the crown. 

So as far as momentum goes, give that edge to the Wildcats, who advanced to the round-of-12 with a win over Bear Creek in a state regional elimination game. 

This is the second, and final, shot for King’s Way Christian to get to the quarterfinals. The Knights lost a close one to No. 2 Cashmere in the state regional seeding round. 

This is the fourth consecutive state appearance for La Center and the third time the team has reached the SunDome in that stretch. La Center won back-to-back state titles way back in 1996 and 1997.

This will be the sixth consecutive appearance for King’s Way Christian at the dome. The program’s best finish came last year, taking second.

The winner of this game will play No. 1 Seattle Academy at 10:30 a.m. Thursday in the quarterfinals.

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About The Author

Paul Valencia joins ClarkCountyToday.com after more than two decades of newspaper experience. He became the face of high school sports coverage in Clark County during his 17 years at The Columbian. Before moving to Vancouver, Paul worked at Oregon daily newspapers in Pendleton, Roseburg, and Salem. A graduate of David Douglas High School in Portland, Paul enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving three years as a soldier/journalist. He and his wife Jenny recently celebrated their 20th anniversary. They have a son who has a passion for karate and Minecraft. Paul’s hobbies include: Watching the Raiders play football, reading about the Raiders playing football, and waiting to watch and read about the Raiders playing football.

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