How’s this for a script? A high school team with a thin bench faces a hostile crowd in a league playoff game. They lose their only post player to injury 29 seconds into the game, and have to go with five guards the rest of the way. And they win — in double-overtime. Could’ve been ripped right from Hoosiers, no? Happened in Pasco Saturday night, in an instant classic of a playoff game between Richland and Chiawana.
Unlike the instant classic that airs the next day on ESPN, we’ll never get to see that Richland/Chiawanna game. It will live only in the minds of the spectators. And the players — like the Richland guard who explained to a reporter why they’d spent so much time in the locker room after the game: “Nobody wanted to leave. We all wanted to save this feeling. We were like, ‘Can we just sleep here?'”
You know how March Madness is so exciting because every game means so much, because for so many of the players this is the apex of their athletic careers, and because amateur players aren’t very skilled and the games can get really crazy? Multiply that by 10 and you have high school district playoff basketball.
The most exciting sporting event I have ever attended is a district playoff hoops game–Issaquah’s upset of the Seattle Prep Panthers of Martell Webster and Spencer Hawes , which eliminated Prep from state tournament contention that year despite having two future NBA players on their roster. (Yes, they were coached by P.J. Carlesimo.)
If you live along the I-5 corridor, you are no more than a 30-minute drive from some amazing hoops action this week. And because I care about you, I want to make it really easy for you to find that action. So! I present to you a schedule for every single 3A and 4A district tournament in the state. Tonight, there are games in Bellevue, West Seattle, Spokane, Lake Stevens, Arlington, and Kirkland. Even more tomorrow. Take a look, find a game, and go enjoy what may be the most memorable sporting event you see all year.
What they’re saying…
“Be on time, and no earrings.” — Eric Wedge’s team rules, as relayed by Felix Hernandez
“Its not about the money. I took less to come back here. Heres where I feel comfortable. And thats very important.” — Erik Bedard
In other news…
Lookout Landing has the definitive post on the evolution of Felix Hernandez’ hair.
Injury-prone Erik Bedard was throwing “free and easy” and without pain on the first day of spring camp, reports John Hickey. Bedard threw 20 pitches at what Geoff Baker called “moderate speed.”
UW star Isaiah Thomas won Pac-10 Player of the Week for the third time this year.
As-yet-unsigned Storm forward Swin Cash will play in the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game on Friday. Fellow player Justin Bieber (OMG!) may want to keep his face clear of Cash’s active elbows.
UEFA Champions League: Schalke @ Valencia, 11:30 a.m. (FSN)
NCAA Hoops: UC Davis @ Seattle U, 7:10 p.m. (710-AM)
State district hoops
Seattle Prep vs. Franklin @ Bellevue College, 4:45 p.m. Winner to state.
Bellevue vs. Rainier Beach @ Chief Sealth, 4:45 p.m. Winner to state.
Chief Sealth vs. Mercer Island @ Bellevue College, 8:15 p.m. Winner to state.
Lake Washington vs. O’Dea @ Chief Sealth, 8:15 p.m. Winner to state.
Mt. Spokane @ North Central, 7:15 p.m. Loser out.
Kamiak @ Arlington, 7:30 p.m. Loser out.
Edmonds-Woodway @ Lake Stevens, 7:30 p.m. Loser out.
Newport vs. Redmond @ Juanita, 6:30 p.m. Loser out.
Skyline vs. Woodinville @ Juanita, 8:15 p.m. Loser out.
Rogers @ Ferris, 7:15 p.m.
Central Valley @ Gonzaga Prep, 7:15 p.m.