In Greater Spokane League 4A and 3A district tournaments this year, earning a first or second seed will present the shortest and less difficult route to state.
The top four of five 4A and 3A teams from regular-season play qualify for district tourneys. But earning a first or second seed comes with extra privileges.
Gone are the four-team double-elimination formats. Just the top two seeds can capture a district championship.
The GSL will send two 4A teams to subregionals with the Mid-Columbia Conference in the aforementioned sports with each league pooling its lone state allocations to send the top two teams to state. In 3A, the GSL will send four teams to subregionals with the MCC in the aforementioned sports with each league pooling its lone state allocations to send the top two teams to state.
The district format for 4A teams will work like this: The top two teams from league play get double-elimination protection and play for the district title and top seed to subregionals. The loser of that game will play the winner of a loser-out game between the third and fourth seeds for the second berth to subregionals.
The district format for 3A teams will work like this: The top two teams will play for the district title. The third and fourth seeds face off with the loser going to subregionals as the No. 4 seed. The 3-4 winner takes on the loser of the district title game to determine the second and third seeds to subregionals.
The schedule will not allow district tourneys in boys and girls basketball for 3A teams.
“The whole idea is to put a premium on league play,” Central Valley athletic director Butch Walter said.
“We wanted to continue the tradition of deciding 4A and 3A district champions,” added GSL secretary Herb Rotchford.
At the 4A subregional, the GSL and MCC No. 1 seeds will play to decide which team earns the top berth into the state tournament. The No. 2 seeds from each league will play a loser-out game with the winner taking on the loser of the game between the No. 1 seeds for the second state berth.
At the 3A subregional, four first-round, loser-out games will be played between the leagues’ top four teams. The GSL No. 1 will play host to the MCC No. 4; the MCC No. 1 will entertain the GSL No. 4; the GSL No. 2 will host the MCC No. 3; and the MCC No. 2 will host the GSL No. 3.
The tourney will be re-seeded after the first round with the top two teams ultimately earning state berths.
The subregional format will stay the same for the leagues 4A teams next year since the state allocations remain the same in the second year of the two-year classification cycle. The subregional format will change for the 3As, though, because a third state berth will be available.
GSL athletic directors met Wednesday to finalize their district details and will gather with MCC officials next week to cement plans for subregionals, too.
• The new Big Nine – consisting of 4A schools Eisenhower, Davis, Moses Lake, Wenatchee and Eastmont – receives one state allocation this year and two next year.
That begs a question. Why does the Big Nine get two state berths next year and the 4A GSL, which also has five teams, receives one state berth?
Andy Barnes of the WIAA said that the Big Nine gets the extra state berth based on having a larger combined enrollment than the GSL.