State basketball: Evergreen’s journey is the surprise of the tourney

The WIAA has announced the matchups for the state regional rounds in boys and girls basketball, and Clark County has seven teams remaining in various classifications.

Evergreen boys basketball makes it to state, along with six other teams from Clark County

The brackets made it unlikely.

The odds were against it.

Still, on Saturday, it happened.

Two Class 3A schools from Clark County played each other for the final berth to the Class 3A state boys basketball tournament.

Two rivals.

Playing in a gym that will be torn down about a minute after the end of this academic year.

And for a game that was scheduled about 19 hours before tip-off, for a game that was played at 4 p.m on a Saturday, it was a pretty good crowd.

Why? Well, again, it was for a state playoff berth.

Plus, the players called all their friends. 

Be there.

Make it special.

For the Evergreen Plainsmen, it was a bit more special. They dominated the fourth quarter to pull away for a 73-60 win over Mountain View at the Thunderdome. The Plainsmen, who were nearly left for dead when they were 3-11 this season, have peaked at the perfect time and have advanced to the state regional round of 20.

Oh yes, 20. The Class 3A state tournament, unlike the other classifications, has 20 teams this season. 

Evergreen, the 20-seed, will take on 13-seed Arlington on Tuesday in the first elimination game of the state regional round. Call it a play-in game, if you will. If the Plainsmen win that game, they will play another elimination game on Saturday. The winner of Saturday’s game will go to the Tacoma Dome as one of the final 12 teams in state.

In all, there are seven teams from Clark County that have reached the state regionals in the various classifications. Three of those teams are assured of advancing to Tacoma or Yakima. All the matchups are listed below.

Of the seven teams, Evergreen has to be the biggest surprise.

The Plainsmen had a nine-game losing streak at one point. Since then, they have gone 8-2.

That included two wins in elimination games in the Class 3A bi-district tournament. That gave Evergreen two games to win one to go to state. Mountain View was in the same situation on the other side of the consolation bracket. Both lost on Friday, setting up a winner-take-all matchup on Saturday.

Clark County teams taking on each other for one berth to state happens a lot in Class 2A and 1A. But it is rare in the 4A and 3A. The bi-district features the Greater St. Helens Leagues going up against leagues in the Puget Sound area. The GSHL squads are often separated on the bracket in order to avoid early round matchups. For this year’s 3A boys bi-district, the only way for two Clark County teams to have played is if they mirrored their results. That’s what happened. Mountain View won two elimination games in a row, then lost, just like Evergreen.

On Saturday, the two teams continued to mirror each other. Tied at 12 after the first quarter. Tied at 28 at halftime. Tied again after three quarters. 

Then it was all Evergreen, with a 32-point outburst in the final quarter to close the chapter on Mountain View’s season and Mountain View’s gym. (Mountain View will open a new building next school year.)

“We were excited. We wanted this game,” said senior DJ Edmonsen, who scored 21 points. “We wanted to come here and end their season at their house.”

Delo Doutrive, also a senior, had even more motivation than usual in a winner-to-state, loser-out game.

“This is my old high school, my freshman year,” Doutrive said. “I had to show them up this year, show them they underestimated me. So I had to go off.”

Doutrive scored 15 of his 23 points in the second half.

He said he felt love from the Evergreen student section, appreciated the energy.

As soon as the Plainsmen lost on Friday night, they knew they’d be playing close to home, so they got the word out to their friends.

“I told everybody to come,” Edmonsen said. “You see the stands? It was packed. I live for moments like this. It felt really good.”

Evergreen coach Brett Henry said this journey has been special, particularly with playing the final game of the bi-district tournament in Clark County.

“It’s everything you want, to be able to play close to home, especially when you’ve been on a bus for a total of 15 hours in the last week or whatever,” Henry said. “It’s what you do it for. It’s really for the kids, to finally experience that in front of their friends, their family.”

Evergreen will be back on the bus on Tuesday for a 213-mile trek to Arlington. Should the Plainsmen win that, it will be a 365-mile one-way trip to Central Valley High School in Spokane on Saturday.

The Plainsmen won’t mind at all.

They are still playing basketball. Not too many expected that when they were 3-11.

Here are the state regional matchups for the seven Clark County basketball teams and what each games means:

Class 4A boys

No. 6-seed Mariner vs. No. 3 Union, 10 a.m. Saturday at Battle Ground High School. 

At stake: Winner goes directly to state quarterfinals at the Tacoma Dome. Loser will also go to Tacoma but must play in the round-of -12.

Class 4A girls

No. 16 Inglemoor vs. No. 9 Camas, 8 p.m. Friday at Battle Ground High School.

At state: Winner advances to Tacoma Dome for round-of-12. Loser is eliminated.

Class 3A boys (State regional play-in game)

No. 20 Evergreen at No. 13 Arlington, 6 p.m. Tuesday at Arlington HS. 

At stake: Winner advances to state regional at 4 p.m. Saturday against No. 12 Central Valley at Ferris High School in Spokane. The winner of Saturday’s game will advance to round-of-12 at the Tacoma Dome.

Class 2A girls

No. 6 Port Angeles vs. No. 3 Hudson’s Bay, noon Saturday at Battle Ground High School.

At stake: Winner goes directly to state quarterfinals at the Yakima Valley SunDome. Loser will also go to Yakima but must play in the round-of-12.

No. 7 Washougal vs. No. 2 Ellensburg, 4 p.m. Saturday at Davis High School in Yakima.

At stake: Winner goes directly to state quarterfinals at the Yakima Valley SunDome. Loser will also go to Yakima but must play in the round-of-12.

Class 1A boys

No. 13 Lakeside vs. No. 12 King’s Way Christian, 2 p.m. Saturday at Battle Ground High School.

At stake: Winner advances to Yakima Valley SunDome for round-of-12. Loser is eliminated.

Class 1A girls

No. 15 La Center vs. No. 10 Annie Wright, 6 p.m. Friday at Mt. Tahoma High School in Tacoma.

At stake: Winner advances to Yakima Valley SunDome for round-of-12. Loser is eliminated.
For all brackets and ticket information, to go the WIAA’s basketball page:

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