High School Sports

Chiawana’s Vongphachanh commits to play football at Utah State

Chiawana High School standout linebacker AJ Vongphachanh (90) has agreed to play for Utah State in the fall.
Chiawana High School standout linebacker AJ Vongphachanh (90) has agreed to play for Utah State in the fall. Tri-City Herald

Chiawana senior AJ Vongphachanh — Mid-Columbia Conference’s Defensive Player of the Year — says he has committed to playing football at Utah State University.

“I really felt there is a good relationship with the defensive coaches there,” said Vongphachanh. “They run a 3-4 defensive front, and they see me as a rushing linebacker.”

That was music to Vongphachanh’s ears. Other schools recruiting him run a 4-3 defensive alignment and coaches there eyed him as a defensive end.

This gives Utah State three area athletes on its roster for next season. Richland running back Parker McCary just finished his freshman season there.

Richland offensive lineman Aric Davison graduated early in December, then enrolled last month at Utah State after receiving a scholarship offer. Now, Vongphachanh joins the crew this summer.

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Chiawana High School standout linebacker AJ Vongphachanh (90) has agreed to play for Utah State in the fall. Noelle Haro-Gomez Tri-CIty Herald

Prep basketball

Here is a look at the postseason basketball tournaments this week:



Class 4A boys

District 8 tournament play begins Feb. 6 with four games.

Top-seeded Richland plays host to Central Valley at 6 p.m., while Chiawana plays host to University at 7 p.m.

Hanford travels to play Ferris at 6 p.m., while Walla Walla visits Greater Spokane League top seed Gonzaga Prep, also at 6 p.m.

Winners and losers meet on Saturday, and the tournament continues into next week. The top three teams in this tournament advance to state regionals.



Class 4A girls

District 8 tournament play also begins Wednesday for these teams. Top seed Chiawana opens at 5 p.m., against Gonzaga Prep in the first game of a doubleheader at Chiawana.

Pasco earned the second MCC seed over Richland, based on their RPI rankings. Because of that, the Bulldogs play host to University in a 5 p.m. tipoff.

Richland travels for a 6 p.m. game at Lewis & Clark, while Walla Walla visits Central Valley at 6 p.m.

Winners meet Saturday, losers play that same day, and the tournament rolls into next week. The top three teams in this tournament advance to state regionals.

Class 3A boys

The six-team District 8 tournament begins Feb. 5.

Kamiakin hosts Shadle Park at 7 p.m., while Kennewick travels to North Central — also at 7 p.m. These are both loser-out contests.

On Friday, the Kennewick-North Central winner will visit Hermiston (which earned the MCC’s top seed based on a better RPI ranking than Kamiakin); and the Kamiakin-Shadle Park winner will visit Mt. Spokane.

Both games are set for 7 p.m. Saturday.The tournament continues next week. The top two teams in this tournament earn state regional berths.



Class 3A girls

This is also a six-team tournament. It begins Feb. 5 as Shadle Park visits Kennewick, and Hermiston travels to North Central.

Both games start at 5 p.m., and both games are loser-out contests.

On Friday, the Hermiston-North Central winner visits Kamiakin; and the Shadle Park-Kennewick winner travels to Mt. Spokane. Again, both games are set for 5 p.m.

The tournament then resumes on Feb. 12. Two teams will advance to the state regionals.

2A CWAC boys district

This eight-team tournament began last Saturday, with Toppenish beating Grandview 55-44, and Ephrata topping East Valley 79-64 in loser-out games.

The tourney picks up on Feb. 5 with Toppenish at Wapato, and Ephrata at Prosser. Both games are at 7 p.m.

On Feb. 7 the tourney moves to the Yakima Valley SunDome. The Toppenish-Wapato winner meets Selah at 7 p.m. on one side of the SunDome, while the Ephrata-Prosser winner plays Ellensburg at 7:30 p.m. on the other side.

Loser-out games will be played at higher-seed sites on Saturday, and the tournament rolls into next week.

Only the champion earns a state regional berth. The second- and third-place teams must play the Great Northern League’s top two teams for the other two state regional berths.

2A CWAC girls district

This eight-team tournament began last Friday, with Ephrata beating East Valley 36-27, and Ellensburg topping Othello 55-28 in loser-out games.

The next round was scheduled for Monday night. But snowy weather has forced it to be moved to Feb. 5 with Ephrata visiting Grandview, and Ellensburg at Prosser. Both games are set for 5 p.m., with Prosser’s part of a doubleheader.

On Feb. 7, the tourney moves to the Yakima Valley SunDome. The Ephrata-Grandview winner meets Wapato at 5 p.m. on one side of the SunDome, while the Ellensburg-Prosser winner plays Selah at 5:30 p.m. on the other side.

Loser-out games will be played at higher-seed sites on Friday, and the tournament rolls into next week.

Only the champion earns a state regional berth. The second and third-place teams must play the Great Northern League’s top two teams for the other two state regional berths.

1A SCAC boys

The top four SCAC East teams open play Feb. 7 against the SCAC West’s top four.

Warden visits LaSalle, Granger is at Connell, Naches Valley travels to Royal, and College Place is at Zillah. All games start at 7 p.m.

The tournament moves to Granger and Zillah high schools on Feb. 9 with game sites yet to be set. But Thursday’s winners will meet, and the losers will play in loser-out games.

The tournament continues next week. The top four teams advance to state regionals.



1A SCAC girls

The top four SCAC East teams open play Feb. 5 against the SCAC West’s top four.

Royal visits Granger, Cle Elum is at Warden, Zillah travels to Connell, and College Place is at LaSalle. All games start at 7 p.m.

The tournament moves to Granger and Zillah high schools on Feb. 9 with game sites yet to be set. But Thursday’s winners will meet, and the losers will play in loser-out games.

The tournament continues next week. The top four teams advance to state regionals.



Class 2B boys

The District 5/6 tournament will pit the top teams in the Eastern Washington Athletic Conference against the Central Washington 2B’s best.

But while the EWAC has finished its league schedule and tournament, the CW2B still have to finish league play this week, and some teams are vying for seeding.

That will ferret itself out this week, but there will be 12 teams all playing at Hanford High School on Friday and Saturday, using the high school and middle school gymnasiums.

Friday’s loser-out matchups are set: at the middle school gym, White Swan plays Tonasket at 4:15 p.m., while Liberty Christian takes on Lake Roosevelt at 6 p.m.; in the high school gym, Manson plays Walla Walla Valley Academy at 2:30 p.m., while Bridgeport meets Columbia-Burbank at 7:45 p.m.

The teams with byes into Saturday? Kittitas/Thorp, Tri-Cities Prep, Brewster and Oroville.

After this weekend, everything moves to Chelan on Feb. 15-16. The top five placers earn state regional playoff berths.



Class 2B girls

Same setup for the girls as boys. Twelve teams will be at Hanford on Friday and Saturday.

There are a few more muddier pictures in the CW2B standings right now.

Here is Friday’s loser-out schedule: WWVA plays Waterville-Mansfield (no time and gym have been set yet, but because of WWVA’s religious beliefs they can’t play the game after sundown on Friday); Liberty Christian will play the CW2B No. 3 seed at 7:45 p.m.; Soap Lake plays Mabton at 4:15 p.m.; and DeSales will take on the No. 6 CW2B seed at 6 p.m.

The teams with byes into Saturday will be the CW2B’s top two teams, and Tri-Cities Prep and Columbia-Burbank.

After this weekend, everything moves to Chelan on Feb. 15-16. The top five placers earn state regional playoff berths.

If you don’t have any allegiance to teams, it’s a great chance to see 24 different teams play Friday and Saturday at Hanford.

Jeff Morrow is former sports editor for the Tri-City Herald.
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