Regional Round Preview: A glance at the local matchups

Feb. 21—Eleven area basketball teams are still alive in the chase for a state championship, and they'll return to the court this Friday and Saturday.

Among the 11 still standing, seven are already guaranteed spots in the 12-team tournaments in Spokane and Yakima, while four play in loser-out games this weekend.

The Oakville boys were the 12th local team to make it out of districts, but the Acorns were given the No. 19 seed in the 20-team 1B boys bracket and they lost at No. 14 Wilbur-Creston-Keller 68-46 in the opening round of that tournament on Tuesday.

Here's a look at what's coming up for the 11 teams still standing.

Already in: Seeding games

The Napavine girls, the Adna girls, the Rainier girls, the Napavine boys, and the Mossyrock boys are already through to Spokane, but they each have a chance to earn a bye to the quarterfinals on Thursday, Feb. 29 with wins this weekend.

The same scenario is in play for the W.F. West girls and Tenino boys, which are both already through to Yakima.

Girls games

The top-seeded Napavine girls will welcome Mabton to W.F. West on Saturday in a rematch of a game that happened over winter break. Two days before Christmas, the Tigers topped the Vikings 61-44.

Mabton lost its following two games, but have since won 12 in a row, allowing less than 30 points per game, including a win over Warden in the District 5 title game.

Mabton's Esmeralda Sanchez scored 18 in the district championship, and the Tigers will look to limit her similarly to how they did in their December matchup where she scored just eight points.

Rainier is heading east for a tough matchup against Colfax on Friday, the reigning state champions, who are led by 2022-23 2B Player of the Year Brynn McGaughy.

McGaughy, who has received over 40 Division I offers, has been working back to full strength from a leg injury she suffered last summer and seems to be peaking just in time for the state tournament.

In last week's District 7 title game, she scored 37 points on 14 of 14 shooting, hauled in 24 rebounds, blocked six shots, and nabbed three steals.

The Adna girls are also heading east, as they'll meet Okanogan in Wenatchee on Friday.

Okanogan plays very similarly to the Pirates, as they are led by guards that can get hot from deep in Jacey Boesel, Aleena Lafferty, and Alex Goetz. Okanogan cruised to a District 6 title before squeaking by Northwest Christian (Colbert) to clinch their spot in Regionals.

The W.F. West girls will welcome Archbishop Murphy, and the Bearcats will certainly have the size advantage. The Wildcats don't have anyone six feet or taller, which may present a challenge against Julia Dalan.

The Wildcats have done more than hold their own against some tough competition over the course of the season, however, losing by just seven to 1A No. 1 Nooksack Valley and hanging with 2A No. 2 Lynden for a half as recently as last week.

Boys games

The Napavine boys will be at W.F. West on Saturday, and they'll welcome Saint George's. The Dragons are led by Elden Pierce and Shawn Jones, two players that offer contrasting styles.

Pierce stands at 6-foot-6 and presents a challenge inside, while Jones — a high school track All-American — is always the quickest player on the court, and he uses his speed to find open looks and drive inside when needed.

After surviving a scare against Reardan in the first round of the district tournament, the Dragons made it all the way to the championship, where they lost to unbeaten Colfax.

The Mossyrock boys will also have their hands full in their Regional, as they'll head to Cheney to face Wellpinit, the reigning 1B state champions.

Wellpinit went unbeaten in 1B play this season, only falling to 2B Reardan and Idaho's Lakeside.

The Tenino boys were presumably more than happy with getting into the top eight in the 1A bracket, but as the No. 8, they'll have their hands full with undefeated Zillah.

The Leopards missed out on the state tournament last season, but they've been near the top of 1A often in the past decade. They've won three state titles since 2014, and this group may be just as strong as any of those three.

They have a pair of wins over Royal and Seton Catholic, which are also in the top-8 in the 1A bracket, and they have a win over Lynden, the 2A No. 1.

All on the line: Loser-out games

The remaining four area teams will be playing in loser-out games, where the winners will face the losers of the top-eight matchups in the Round of 12 beginning Wednesday, Feb. 28.

Boys games

The W.F. West boys head north to face Sammamish. The Redhawks took No. 3 North Kitsap to the wire before falling in the District 2/3 semifinals, and they rebounded with a win over Bremerton in the third-place game.

The Adna boys will face La Conner at W.F. West on Saturday. On paper, the Pirates should be able to take advantage of the Braves' 2-3 zone defense, and they'll have the size advantage, as La Conner has just two players 6 feet or taller.

If Adna wins and Napavine is upset by Saint George's, the Pirates and Tigers will meet in a loser-out Round of 12 matchup on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. in Spokane.

Girls games

The Mossyrock girls will face Evergreen Lutheran at W.F. West on Friday. The No 15. Eagles are 1-2 against other 1B tournament teams, as they defeated No. 11 Lummi Nation but couldn't break 20 against both No. 2 Mount Vernon Christian and No. 4 Crosspoint.

And rounding out the 1B girls tournament is Pe Ell, who will head to Grandview to face Sunnyside Christian.

Of the Knights' three losses, only one came to another 1B school, when Oakesdale topped them in the District 9 title game last Friday. Their only two other losses came to 2A Selah and 1A Naches Valley.