By Nathan Joyce
There's something different about the Class 4A boys state basketball tournament, which opens Wednesday at the Tacoma Dome.
No Ferris Saxons. No Franklin Quakers.
Those two teams have loomed large over the tournament in recent years. Ferris won the last two state titles with undefeated seasons, but didn't qualify this year with a rebuilding squad. The Quakers are always counted among the favorites, but they will likely be favorites in the Class 3A tourney next week as they dropped down a class this year.
"It's good not to see them," Federal Way coach Jerome Collins told the Seattle Times. "There's not such a dominant team this year."
While there's no one dominant team, there are a few strong contenders.
Federal Way, the champion of the ultra-tough South Puget Sound League and West Central District, finished the regular season as the top-ranked team.
Garfield of Seattle, which won the KingCo title, heads into state with an 11-game winning streak and the best player in the tournament. Guard Tony Wroten is the top-ranked sophomore in the nation.
Also on Garfield's half of the bracket is Eastern Regional champion, No. 2 Eisenhower (25-1) of Yakima, and Narrows League champion Foss (20-5) of Tacoma.
The girls tournament has Lewis and Clark (25-2) looking for its fourth straight title. The Tigers had their 56-game winning streak, two games short of the state record, stopped last month against Mead.
No. 1 Kentwood (24-1) and No. 2 Pasco (25-0) should also be contenders. Those two teams seem on track to meet in the quarterfinals.
The Class 1A state tournament tips off Wednesday in Yakima and the Class 2B tournament is in Spokane.
4A Boys Bracket
4A Girls Bracket
Basketball: Tri-Cities Prep wins first title
The Tri-Cities Prep Jaguars (21-6) won the first state title in school history (it opened in 1998) by upsetting No. 1 Moses Lake Christian in the Class 1B state title game at the Yakima SunDome.
MLC (23-3) entered the game on a 20-game winning streak.
The Jaguars were a surprise winner in the state tourney. Well, at least to everybody else.
"We just didn't want to come here and be happy," tournament MVP Sergio Lopez told the Tri-City Herald. "We wanted to come here and get a trophy."
In the girls state title game, tourney MVP Kelsey Moser scored 24 points as top-ranked Colton (24-0) wrapped up an undefeated season by beating St. John-Endicott (19-5) in the title game 48-45.
Moser's free throws with 18 seconds remaining sealed the win. Colton finished second last year and was third in 2007.
Football: Gervais hired as Blanchet's AD
Steve Gervais, who won six state titles as a football coach and was the architect of Skyline's nationally-ranked program, became the athletic director of Bishop Blanchet in Seattle.
Gervais spent the past season as running backs coach at the University of Washington under since-deposed coach Tyrone Willingham.
Basketball: Lakeside's Schneider retiring
Sandy Schneider, who has won five state titles at her run at Lakeside in Seattle, will retire after the season.
She has been the girls basketball coach at Lakeside since 1979.
Lakeside has qualified for the Class 3A state tournament again this season. She is the middle school athletic director.
"I oversee 12 basketball teams, and it's really hard to do everything," Schneider told the Seattle Times. "So it's time. It's time for me to step down and move into a mentor role, but I do enjoy it. But that's the time to leave, right? You want to leave when you're still loving it."