High School Sports

Rough road for Mid-Columbia teams at state

The bracket karma was not kind to the Mid-Columbia basketball teams headed to state this week.

The area's nine contenders found out their first-round opponents Sunday. Among those opening foes are two defending champions, one unbeaten, another that's ranked first in the state and two more ranked second or third.

The Chiawana girls didn't get any breaks as the new school's first team to qualify for state, drawing No. 3 Federal Way (21-6) in their 4A opener at 2 p.m. Wednesday at the Tacoma Dome.

The sixth-ranked Riverhawks (23-3) lost to the Eagles 55-48 in Pasco on Jan. 2. Federal Way is young, with a sophomore and freshman in the backcourt and a talented 6-foot-1 freshman post in Talia Walton. But all six of their losses have come to unbeaten and top-ranked Auburn Riverside and to fellow No. 3 and defending champion Kentwood -- the last two by a single basket.

The Moses Lake girls (15-12) have an equally tough draw against No. 9 Bellarmine Prep (18-7) at 8:30 p.m. The Chiefs, who finished the regular season 10-10 before going on a postseason run, face a team that had won 14 of 15 until losing to Auburn Riverside 72-65 in the West Central district title game.

The No. 4 Walla Walla boys (22-5) open at 3:30 p.m. against unranked Lincoln (18-7), which just knocked off No. 1 Federal Way. The Abes were 8-7 before reeling off 10 wins in a row.

The game will feature an outstanding matchup between Wa-Hi's Gary Winston and Lincoln's Jordan Russell, a pair of speedy guards used to dressing down defenders.

In the 1A ranks, both the Columbia (Burbank) boys and Connell girls have tall tasks in their openers.

The Coyotes (15-9) take on unbeaten and fourth-ranked Onalaska (24-0), led by 6-0 junior guard Dalton Ritchey (11.8 ppg), at 5:30 p.m. at the Yakima SunDome.

The Eagles open the day's play at 10:30 a.m. against top-ranked and defending champion Seattle Christian (21-2), featuring a pair of Division I recruits in junior guard Lexi Petersen and 6-2 sophomore post Katie Collier.

The No. 3 Liberty Christian boys (21-2) should have a real barn-burner in their 9 p.m. first-round game with No. 6 Colfax (18-8) in the 2B tournament at Spokane Arena.

The Bulldogs get serious scoring contributions from seven players, all but one of them 6-foot or taller.

Waitsburg-Prescott (16-7) has a 12:30 p.m. date with Napavine (12-11), which lost five of six to finish the regular season.

On the girls side, Liberty Christian (14-9) plays No. 7 Northwest Christian of Lacey (19-3) at 12:30 p.m., while DeSales (19-5) draws defending champion and No. 2 Colfax (22-3) at 5:30.

The Bulldogs have won state titles in five of the last six seasons, including four in a row in the 1A ranks before dropping down.