Sunnyside’s girls basketball team has led a dual life this season and this weekend that duality will be intensely intertwined.
First of all, the Grizzlies are 10-3 in CBBN play with two games left and they trail first-place Moses Lake by one game heading into their showdown tonight in Sunnyside. A victory tonight, and another Saturday at winless Eastmont, would secure a share of the league title.
But while the focus will be squarely on the Chiefs tonight, the biggest priority for the weekend is coming out of it with at least one victory. While that may seem like routine business with Saturday’s trip to Eastmont, it’s still necessary to gain the most important prize — a No. 1 seed in the 3A regional tournament next week.
“The girls set some goals and we’ve had our eyes on a couple things at the same time,” said Coach Rick Puente. “I give our girls a lot of credit for staying focused on what’s right in front of them. Right now that’s Moses Lake. But, yes, we really want that No. 1 seed.”
If Sunnyside sweeps or splits this weekend it would finish league play with a higher winning percentage than the Mid-Columbia’s top 3A team Kamiakin, which ended up 10-4 in its conference. That would not only give the Grizzlies a home game in Tuesday’s first round but home court through the entire tournament, which advances three teams to the regional level of state.
“We feel like playing in a 4A league has been great preparation for us, and going up against Moses Lake (tonight) gives us the intensity level we’ll need for next week,” Puente added. “We’ve worked hard to get in this situation and we want to take advantage of it.”
As part of its 15-3 season record, Sunnyside has defeated the Mid-Columbia’s top two teams, Kamiakin (69-59) and Hanford (70-51). With the top seed the Grizzlies would host the Greater Spokane League’s No. 4 team, North Central, on Tuesday.
Should Sunnyside advance further it would host a semifinal on Feb. 21 and championship or consolation game on Feb. 22. With the CWAC district tournament going on at Sunnyside through Feb. 22 we could have tripleheaders both days.
SCAC to stay intact
The WIAA on Thursday denied an appeal by Cashmere, Cascade and Chelan to join the SCAC in the fall.
What’s left of the Caribou Trail League, after four schools change classifications and Omak co-ops into the 2B league, had asked the SCAC to include them and create North and South Divisions. The 13-school conference, which is downsizing with the loss of Warden and Mabton to 2B, voted no.
The Caribou trio then requested WIAA mediation for the merger and that process was concluded Thursday. The SCAC will now work with the three schools to help fill in games wherever possible. The four remaining 1A schools in District 6 will continue their postseason affiliation with District 7.
Pirates in position
If Davis’ boys basketball team takes care of business, it could celebrate tonight and Saturday on its home floor.
With a one-game lead over Wenatchee heading into the CBBN’s final two games, the Pirates can secure the top seed to district by beating Eastmont tonight.
Davis must still play Wenatchee on Saturday, but even if the Panthers beat Eisenhower tonight and upend Davis on Saturday to share the league title the Pirates would still own a 2-1 head-to-head advantage over WHS.
With a sweep Davis would extend its win streak to seven games and win the league championship outright. The highest seed hosts throughout the four-team district tournament.
Moses Lake has already wrapped up the girls No. 1 seed and Davis is trying to hold No. 2, which gets a home game in the first round of district on Feb. 21.
The Pirates have a one-game lead over Wenatchee and face winless Eastmont tonight. If that margin remains Saturday the No. 2 seed will be on the line when Davis hosts the Panthers, who have defeated Davis twice this season.
One playoff heartache was enough, but what Selah’s girls endured Wednesday night was brutal.
With two chances at qualifying for district out of a three-team playoff at East Valley, the Vikings lost to Grandview 26-24 on Hannah Pond’s buzzer-beater and then to Toppenish 32-31 when Brenda Garcia made a 3-pointer with three seconds left.
“It was an unbelievable way to end a season. The heartbreak couldn’t be any worse,” said Selah coach Rick Hartman, whose team had a 3-1 record against those foes in league play and had swept Toppenish. “That was our league this season — anybody could beat anybody. It was always that close.”
After falling to Grandview, Selah had 20 minutes to regroup and couldn’t, falling behind Toppenish 20-4 in the first of two quarters. But the Vikings caught fire and rallied to a 31-29 lead before Garcia’s game-winner.
On the plus side, Selah was the youngest of the contenders with two starting freshmen and only one senior on the team. With an 11-9 record, the Vikings posted the program’s first winning season since 2007.
Bracket to watch
There were only five wrestlers in the 120-pound bracket at Saturday’s SCAC West district tournament, but it was loaded with three state medalists. And those three had some real battles.
Granger’s Ricky Almaguer, who owns two third-place medals from state, outlasted Highland’s Juan Pablo Salcedo 5-4 in overtime in the final, and Salcedo got there by edging Granger’s Adrian Morales 3-2 in the semifinals.
Royal’s Carlos Hernandez, also a past state placer, won the East title and will take on the West’s formidable trio on Saturday in the 1A Region III tournament at Zillah.
Matches start at 10 a.m. with placing matches and finals set for 2:30 p.m.
On the dotted line
Cheyenne Fletcher, an infielder on Selah’s state championship fastpitch team, has signed with NCAA Div. III Linfield of Oregon.
Three other locals are headed to NAIA colleges — Naches Valley quarterback Corey Hill (Mayville State University, N.D.), Zillah defensive back Anfernee Cortez (Eastern Oregon) and Cle Elum golfer Sarah Winebrenner (Robert Morris, Ill.).