Rick Sloan has no reason to believe that what has transpired the last 17 games for his Central Valley boys basketball team won’t continue at the State 4A tournament that begins this morning at the Tacoma Dome.
The Bears have been a classic example of what sharing, defense and passion can do for a team.
“They’re unselfish and they work hard,” Sloan said. “I know I probably sound like a broken record, but they not only do it in games, but they do it in practice. That’s what makes them so much fun to be around.”
CV (20-3) rides a 17-game winning streak to state. The Bears open against a perennial state power, No. 4-ranked Garfield (19-5), in the final game at 9 p.m.
Garfield is led by a pair of 6-foot-5 players who are athletic and monsters on the boards. Tucker Haymond, who averages 22 points and 10 rebounds per game, was named the KingCo most valuable player. Tre’Vaunte Williams, a transfer from Foster, averages 17 points and 10 rebounds.
Could CV do what 2010-11 state champ Gonzaga Prep did?
“In these guys’ mind, they’re not done yet,” Sloan said. “I like our chances.”
The University boys came within five points of the century mark in their state-qualifying win over Kennewick.
Titans coach Garrick Phillips said his team could have scored more than 100.
“We started running more time off the shot clock in the fourth quarter because we wanted to get the game over,” Phillips said. “We defended their best player (Bryce Leavitt) well, but Reggie Clinton went off. We could have won by about 30.”
The unheralded Clinton had what Tri-City Herald reporter Jack Millikin said was the game of his life. He finished with a career-high 35 points on 14-of-23 shooting. He made 7 of 12 3-point attempts.
The Titans (19-4) face the Lake Washington Kangaroos (20-6) this morning at 10:30.
U-Hi’s focus will be defending 6-11 post Darien Nelson-Henry, who is headed to the University of Pennsylvania. He fills up the stat line with 19 points, 12 rebounds, three assists and four blocks.
“We’re going to want to speed the game up,” Phillips said.
Five the magic number
Moments after the Central Valley girls earned their first state berth under coach Freddie Rehkow, he talked about the number five.
“We qualified for state in my fifth year at East Valley and we’ve done the same here,” Rehkow said. “It’s something about the five-year mark. They say it takes three to five years to build a program.”
Days before CV’s regional game, the Bears were fighting for their postseason lives, having lost to a surging Gonzaga Prep in the district title game and then escaping with a one-point win over upset-minded Mead in a loser-out game.
Rehkow is hopeful he’ll see the team that rose to the top of the state rankings and stayed there through the regular season when CV (23-2) gets to play the breakfast opener this morning against Eastlake (15-9) at 9.
“These seniors deserve this,” Rehkow said.
Here come the 3s
The Gonzaga Prep girls (18-5) are preparing to defend the 3-point shot when they take on Woodinville (22-2) at 12:15.
Woodinville averages 17 3-point attempts per game, making 111 of 399 overall (28 percent).
“They huck it,” G-Prep coach Mike Arte said.
Woodinville is led by University of Idaho-bound Ali Forde, a 6-1 post. She averages 14.4 points per game. The other starters average between 7.6 and 9.3 points.
The U-Hi girls (16-7) get the late game tonight at 9 when they take on Seattle Prep (21-6).
Seattle Prep and U-Hi were ranked eighth and ninth, respectively, in the final Associated Press poll.
U-Hi coach Mark Stinson has a solid scouting report including some video from G-Prep’s nonleague 55-37 win over Seattle Prep in December.
“They (Seattle Prep) didn’t play well against Gonzaga Prep, but the word is they’ve gotten a lot better since then,” Stinson said.