Columns & Blogs

No more Lamb-Weston regionals

A few weeks ago the WIAA named the regional sites for boys and girls basketball.

Last spring, the organization announced that it was doing away with the 16-team state basketball tournament format, claiming that it was losing money over the four-day tournament.

Now the state has regional tournaments that will be considered the first round of the state tournament. Those dates for regional play are Feb. 25-26.

The following weekend, March 3-5, will be the Hardwood Classic at three sites — 3A and 4A boys and girls at the Tacoma Dome; 2A and 1A boys and girls at the Yakima SunDome; and the 2B and 1B boys and girls at the Spokane Arena.

Each tournament will have just eight teams (i.e., in Tacoma, eight 4A boys, eight 4A girls, eight 3A boys, and eight 3A girls).

This allows students, says the WIAA, to miss one less day of classes. It should also help the WIAA to make some money, since we’re basically at the quarterfinals at this point and perhaps more people will come.

But the real stickler is the regionals on the weekend before.

One area athletic director told me that because the WIAA has turned it into the first round of state, the gate receipts go to the WIAA.

That means no more Lamb-Weston regional hoops at the Toyota Center, which made money for the CBBN and Greater Spokane League while preparing teams for the state tournament with some good ol’ neighborhood donnybrooks.

I remember when the Big Nine and the GSL began the regional tournament back in the late 1980s — then sponsored by Spokane law firm Evans, Craven and Lackie and held at Eastern Washington University.

Whoever came out of the ECLs back then were already battle-tested for state and did well. The west-side took notice of this and quickly put together their own regionals over the next few years.

Now, it’s no more.

Here are the first-round sites for our area for that Feb. 25-26 weekend:4A boys and girls at Richland High; 3A boys at Spokane Falls Community College; 3A girls at Shadle Park; 2A boys at Sunnyside High; 2A girls at Grandview High; 1A boys at Eisenhower; 1A girls at West Valley of Yakima; 2B boys and girls at University High in Spokane; and 1B boys and girls at Walla Walla High School.