SPOKANE — All four fields in Spokane crowned a new champion this year; in fact, all four of last year’s champions slipped a lot this year, and none reached semifinals in Spokane.
In 1B girls basketball, Inchelium beat Oakesdale 46-34 for the State championship. Colton, which won the title for the 10th time in 11 years last season, lost most of that team to graduation and didn’t make the field this season.
In the 1B boys field, Odessa completed an undefeated season with a 62-36 win over Yakama Nation Tribal, bringing home the basketball championship trophy to go along with their football trophy from the fall. The boys’ field was also without its defending champ, the Sunnyside Christian Knights. The Knights, which made Regionals as the 15th seed, did come within four points there of Almira-Coulee-Hartline, which came within three of Odessa in semifinals. Taholah, the ninth seeded team, which beat Naselle for the District IV championship, lost in double-overtime in Wednesday’s first-round action.
In the 2B boys’ field, three-time defending champ Kittitas-Thorp was absent from the field after losing Brock Ravet and the legendary Class of 2019. Among this year’s favorites were St. George’s, the runner-up last season; Brewster, which gave Kittitas a very tough game in last year’s semifinals; Life Christian, which was fifth-place last year and looked even stronger this season; and Liberty, the number-one seed heading into the tournament.
But 10th-seed Willapa Valley pulled off the upset of the tournament, getting 30 points from Logan Walker and beating Liberty 71-62 in quarterfinals. That set up a semifinal matchup with fellow Pacific League member Life Christian. Life Christian blew out Valley, while in the other semifinal Brewster beat St. George’s 60-57. Brewster became the state champ with a 58-57 victory over Life Christian.
Liberty was also the number one seed in the 2B girls’ field. They went home with the championship, beating La Conner 52-45 in finals. Wahkiakum, which lost by six to La Conner in semifinals, won the third-place game in overtime on a Reigha Niemeyer buzzer-beater. Tri-Cities prep was the only defending champ to make it to Spokane, even though they lost Talia von Oelhoffen, a five-star college recruit who transferred to 4A Chiawana before her junior season. Tri-Cities was a step behind the 2B elites this year but did place, finishing sixth.
Also last week: in Yakima, 14-seed King’s won the 1A boys’ title; Lynden Christian edged Hailey Van Lith’s Cashmere squad for the 1A girls championship; North Kitsap beat Clarkston in 2B boys finals; and Lynden won in the 2A girls field. In Tacoma, Garfield won both the 3A boys and girls titles, Mt. Si won 4A boys, and Central Valley was the winner in 4A girls basketball.