With a fifth consecutive Mid-Columbia Conference title under its belt, the Richland High School boys basketball team will look to carry the momentum from its seven-game winning streak into the MCC-Greater Spokane League playoffs, which begin Wednesday.
Like the other MCC 4A teams in the tournament — Chiawana, Walla Walla and the winner of the Hanford-Pasco play-in game on Tuesday — the Bombers (15-4) must win at least three games to advance to the regional round of the state playoffs. A loss in the first or second round pushes that number to four, as the tournament is double elimination.
Richland was the last MCC 4A team to reach both the regional round (in 2015) and play a game at the Tacoma Dome (lost to Garfield in the 2014 championship).
On Wednesday, the Bombers will host the winner of a play-in game between University and Lewis and Clark (7 p.m. tipoff after the girls game). Richland lost to all three of the GSL teams already seeded in the tournament during the regular season — 69-56 vs. No. 2 Ferris on Dec. 2; 79-51 vs. No. 1 Gonzaga Prep on Dec. 27; and 69-68 at No. 3 Central Valley on Dec. 29.
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Other first-round matchups include: Chiawana (10-11) at Ferris (16-4) at 6 p.m.; Central Valley (15-5) at Walla Walla (9-10) at 6 p.m.; and Hanford (6-15) at Gonzaga Prep (19-1, No. 2 in RPI) at 7 p.m. All first-round games will take place Wednesday, with all second-round games Saturday.
Hanford eliminated Pasco 73-65 on Tuesday.
The lone MCC boys team to play in the regional round last season, Kamiakin gets to sit back — and log some valuable practice time — its MCC rivals face a slate of loser-out games.
On Tuesday, Southridge lost to Rogers 59-49 in the MCC-GSL 3A bi-district, ending a 1-19 season for the Suns. Rogers (3-18) will play at Mt. Spokane (8-12) in another loser-out game on Thursday. The winner of that game plays at Kamiakin on Saturday in the first round of double-elimination play.
Kennewick (8-12) will host North Central (3-17) in the other loser-out game Thursday, with the winner playing at Shadle Park (16-4) on Saturday in the double-elimination bracket.
Once into the double-elimination bracket, teams must win two of three games to advance to a glue-crossover game against a team from the SeaKing District 2.
Grandview (8-12) visits Toppenish (14-6) (winner plays at Wapato), and Prosser (12-8) travels to Ephrata (13-7) (winner to conference-champ Selah) at 7 p.m. Thursday in loser-out, first-round games of the district tournament. The second-round games take place Saturday.
The winners of the first-round games, as well as top-two seeds Wapato (15-4) and Selah (17-3), are guaranteed at least glue-crossover game with the Great Northern League. The CWAC gives its top two teams automatic bids to regionals.
Connell (11-8) will play at La Salle (10-9), Naches Valley (9-10) will play at East-champ Wahluke (16-3, No. 11 in RPI), Granger (13-7) will head to Warden (15-5, No. 12), and Kiona-Benton (10-10) travels to West-champ Zillah (19-1, No. 3) at 7 p.m. Friday in the first round of the SCAC’s district tournament.
The tournament is double-elimiation, and any team that wins two games gets a regional berth. All games past the first round will be played at either Sunnyside, Wapato or Toppenish. The second-round games take place Saturday, and the winners- and losers-bracket championships take place Feb. 18.
Tri-Cities Prep (12-8) will either play Tonasket or Manson on Feb. 14 at Eastmont Junior High in the first round of the EWAC-Central Washington 2B tournament.
If the Jaguars win that game, they will be one of four teams competing for three regional berths in double-elimination play Feb. 17 and 18.