(Yakima, WA) Another Hardwood Classic is in the books and with the annual Coaches whining about an old format that is no longer viable, missed or even wanted by most, the tears of success and of disappointment, hugs from underclassmen to the graduating Seniors there were other fun, uplifting and motivating moments at all 3 venues. However, we were in Yakima for the 2A and 1A Tournaments and the following are random events and moments we witnessed that helps make these tournaments so special and so memorable. In no particular order or importance here are some of our favorites.
*Weather was certainly an issue and on Day 1 when we exited the SunDome, it had become The SnowGlobe and there was 2+ inches of snow on our car. Roads were packed with ice and slick and the following morning it was an ice rink getting back to the Dome. Then after a day of no snow, some sun but temperatures not above 25-degrees when we left that night no ice! Roads were bare and dry. We understood the main roads but the side roads to the house we were staying in a neighborhood all clear and dry. Our driveway and sidewalk all clear and dry! No evidence of snow plows piling up the snow on the side of the roads. Still plenty of snow in the yards and fields but none on the roads! Where did all the snow and ice go in 20-degree weather? We still don’t know, but appreciated it.
*At the end of the 2A boys State Title the P-A announcer alerted the crowd of 2 lost items he had at his table. “Your attention please, I have 2 hearing aids that were turned in to me at my table. If you are missing your hearing aids please come and pick them up.” Pause…….”or if anyone knows of anyone that are missing their hearing aids please let them know where they are.”
*The 2A girls Championship game is sent to Overtime between Washougal and East Valley (Spokane). Just before the jump ball to begin overtime, Washougal’s Beyonce Bea looks at her sister Jaiden Bea and says, “It’s Work Time.” The Panthers outscored the Knights 14-5 to win their 1st ever State girls basketball title 49-40. Beyonce scored 30 of the 49, had 15 rebounds and 3 blocked shots and earned the ESN 2A girls Tournament MVP.
*Annie Wright made their first State Tournament appearance in school history and won their opening game 71-67 over Zillah. The Gators Julianna Walker led AW with 38 points hitting 8 3-balls. The game was the 1st girls game of the tournament and ended up being the highest scoring girls game, both 1A and 2A over the 4 days.
*After the Lynden boys State Title win over Selah the Lions fans pelted the court and sideline with plastic flower bouquets like after a great ice skating performance. Then some man came walking up press row asking everyone if they wanted to keep the flowers, which we didn’t and he was happy to take them. Where and what he is doing with them…well that is his business and we see no reason and frankly a little scared to find a reason why he wanted them.
*We loved this, East Valley’s Faith Adams fouled out late in their OT loss to Washougal during a time they needed to foul to stop the clock. While exiting the floor she walked past and shook hands with each of the Washougal coaches.
*King’s Way boys player Khalfani Cason fell and hit the floor hard in their 2nd game against Seattle Academy and his shoulder popped. He left the floor to the locker room and came out with ice wrapped around his shoulder. He was done for the game but his teammates came through and beat SA to advance to the State Semi-Finals against King’s on Friday. Cason was back in the starting line-up and they were clear underdogs to King’s who were fresh off easily defeating the clear favorite to win a state title in any of the classifications this year Lynden Christian. But the big effort and upset win of their own over LC took its toll on King’s and KWC made their run and it was Cason who hit a shot with 6-seconds to play to win the game. Cason went from being out on the bench with his shoulder wrapped in ice to game hero. The magic ended for KWC as they lost to Zillah Saturday night in the Championship game.
*ESN partner’s with Selah High School’s Video Production class and teacher Jeff Weeks. Weeks is an English teacher and the Vid Prod teacher but tried his hand at teaching some math. Weeks went to buy a Coke from one of the SunDome concession stands and the cost was $5.50. He handed over a $5 and a $1 bill expecting 50-cents change. He received back $4.50. Weeks then tried to point out the mistake, he says the worker was young and he didn’t want her to lose any money from her days work so he said I think you gave me back to much change. She said no it’s right. Weeks then said I gave you a 5 and a 1 and it costs $5.50, so yes you gave me too much change. The worker dug her heels in claiming no, it was correct. Weeks says he once again went through the math but there was no convincing her so he took the $4.50 and enjoyed his $1.50 ice-cold Coke.
*During the Lynden Christian girls Championship game the Lynden Lions Pep Band played for the Lyncs supporting their crosstown rivals. It wasn’t enough though as they fell short of defending their title to La Salle.
*The La Salle vs Lynden Christian girls Championship game was truly an all-girls event. Not only were the players of course girls but all 3 officials were women. It was the first time in 1A girls basketball history that an all-female officiating team had done the Championship game. La Salle finished what they started and went 27-0 to win it all.
*There were several teams that made big impacts despite their high seeds. In the 1A boys the 10, 11 and 12 seeds all took home trophies. #12 Bellevue Christian grabbed the 6th place trophy while #10 King’s ended up 3rd beating #2 LaCenter in the trophy round. But it was #11 King’s Way Christian who played for the Championship but #3 Zillah was too much pulling away for an easy win but the Knight’s went home with the 2nd place trophy. In the 1A girls the only team not in the top 8 to play on Saturday was #9 Medical Lake. The Cardinals finished 5th losing to Cashmere in the 3rd place game.
On the 2A side of the bracket the outsiders included #13 Renton on the boys side. Renton just missed from getting to the Championship game losing a tough one to Selah in the Semi-Finals but finished strong with a big win over Pullman for 3rd place. And the #13 seed Black Hills Wolves also made noise on the girls side as they collected their 4th straight State Trophy finishing in 6th place. The Wolves were 0-3 against the defending State Champs WF West Bearcats when they played in a loser out contest on Friday. The Wolves also playing without one of their key players, Jordyn Bender who hurt her knee in the 1st game of the tournament, beat and eliminated the Bearcats to get into the trophy round. The unexpected run by the Wolves ended there as they simply ran out of gas heading into their 4th straight game but still a great accomplishment by all these teams when they weren’t supposed to make it much past opening day.
*Our final note was the talk of a Lynden sweep. There was a legitimate shot Lynden and Lynden Christian could sweep all 4 championships in the SunDome. The Lynden boys and girls teams were ranked #1 and the LC boys also #1 while LC girls were #3 but were defending Champions. The sweep was off the table on Thursday when both the Lynden girls and LC boys were handed defeats. LC girls lost to La Salle in the Championship game and the potential sweep was down to one game for at least one title. The Lynden boys came through with a tough fought win over Selah to repeat as 2A Champions.
There is no doubt everyone who attended had their own experiences and observations which makes this event truly unique to everyone who experiences it on an annual basis.