High school teams ready to hit the hardwood as basketball playoffs begin

Meadowdale’s Alicia Morrison (lower) reacts after the Lady Mavericks suffer a one-point loss Feb. 22, 2019 to end their 2018-2019 season one game shy of reaching the Hardwood Classic at the Tacoma Dome. (File photo by Doug Petrowski)

It’s high school basketball playoff time and six Edmonds School District teams will hit the court this week on a quest that they all hope will end with state tournament games at either the Tacoma Dome or the Yakima Dome.

While some teams are considered contenders to play deep into their district and possibly even state tourneys, others are hoping to survive long enough to surprise higher-seeded teams and create havoc in the brackets.

For Meadowdale senior Alicia Morrison, the postseason means one thing: erasing a memory from last year and getting to the Tacoma Dome.

Last season Morrison was part of the Mavericks’ girls basketball team that went 3-1 in their district tournament to earn a spot in the regional round of the WIAA 3A state tourney. That regional game against the West Seattle Wildcats ended in heartache for Morrison and her teammates as the Mavs lost 41-40; the defeat ended Meadowdale’s season one game short of a trip to the Dome.

“Yes, it’s always been in the back of my mind since Day One,” Morrison said of that one-point loss to the Wildcats. “Ever since the day after the West Seattle game I’ve been thinking, ‘Okay, we have a goal, we’ve got to get there and this is what we have to do to do it.’”

Meadowdale has come a long way from Morrison’s freshman year in 2016-2017, when the Lady Mavs won just four games all season. Now with a squad that will again contend for a spot at regionals — and a chance to win their way to the Dome — Morrison can imagine what it would be like to play the first week of March in Tacoma.

“It would be super special,” Morrison said with a big smile.

While the Lady Mavs will be in the mix for one of the three district berths to the 3A girls basketball regional round, members of the Meadowdale boys’ team will also be looking to punch their ticket to games beyond their district tournament. 

After finishing the regular season with a mark of 11-9, the Mavericks are seeded No. 5 in the District 1 3A Boys Basketball Tournament, a 10-team tourney in which seven of the 10 squads there actually had more wins this year than Meadowdale. That doesn’t deter Mavs’ Coach Roger O’Neill from having high hopes.

“We’re really playing good basketball right now; we’re peaking,” O’Neill said recently. “That’s what I told (my players) all year, is that we want to be playing our best basketball in early and mid-February.”

Even with his optimism, O’Neill acknowledged that the District 1 boys tourney will be a battle. “This district tournament is going to be hard to pick for people who are looking at that bracket because I think there’s going to be seven or eight teams in the bracket that could fight for those three spots,” he said.

The Mavs enter the district tournament hobbled, as starters Hunter Moen and Cole Nelson suffered ankle sprains last week. And their first game of the double-elimination district tourney will be on the road against rival Edmonds-Woodway, which will be looking to avenge their regular-season loss to Meadowdale last month.

While there are plenty of games to play before anyone can book their trip to Tacoma for the 3A state tournaments or Yakima for the 2A state tourneys, O’Neill is thinking ahead to the possibility of both the Meadowdale boys’ and girls’ teams making it to the Dome.

“It would be fun,” O’Neill said. “You know, it used to be the norm and there was nothing quite like it. I remember in 2009 we had both teams in the state semis, both playing on Friday night (in the Tacoma Dome). Don’t put that as a prediction for this year, but when a school gets both teams even to regionals or to the state tournament, it’s pretty special for the whole school community.”

“I know the Lady Mavs are a great team and they’re rolling; we’ll try to do our part,” he added.

Meadowdale and Edmonds-Woodway are the only Edmonds School District teams in the 3A boys’ district tournament that begins this week — the Mountlake Terrace Hawks also qualified for the postseason and will be playing in the District 1/2 2A Boys Basketball Tournament.

On the girls’ side, Meadowdale, Edmonds-Woodway and Lynnwood are all in 3A girls’ district tourney, although the Royals do have to begin their postseason with a tournament play-in loser-out game. Likewise, the Mountlake Terrace Lady Hawks have slipped their way into the District 1/2 2A Girls Basketball Tournament, but will face the challenge of a loser-out game right away.

To view the bracket for the 2020 District 1 3A Boys Basketball Tournament that includes Meadowdale and Edmonds-Woodway, click www.wiaadistrict1.com/tournament.php?tournament_id=3109&sport=3&ps_type=1.

To view the bracket for the 2020 District 1 3A Girls Basketball Tournament that includes Meadowdale, Edmonds-Woodway and Lynnwood, click www.wescoathletics.com/tournament.php?tournament_id=3108&sport=12

To view the bracket for the 2020 District 1/2 2A Boys Basketball Tournament that includes Mountlake Terrace, click www.wescoathletics.com/tournament.php?tournament_id=3022&sport=3

To view the bracket for the 2020 District 1/2 2A Girls Basketball Tournament that includes Mountlake Terrace, click www.wescoathletics.com/tournament.php?tournament_id=3024&sport=12.

Prep Basketball: District Tournament opening games (Edmonds School District teams)

— No. 11 seed Mountlake Terrace Hawks (girls) versus No. 6 seed Sammamish Totems; Wednesday, Feb. 12; 7 p.m. at Sammamish High School (District 1/2 2A Girls Basketball Tournament loser-out game; winner to play at No. 3 seed Liberty Patriots on Friday, Feb. 14)

— No. 7 seed Lynnwood Royals (girls) versus No. 10 seed Marysville-Getchell Chargers; Wednesday, Feb. 12; 7 p.m. at Lynnwood High School (District 1 3A Girls Basketball Tournament loser-out game; winner to play at No. 2 seed Arlington Eagles on Friday, Feb. 14)

— No. 6 seed Edmonds-Woodway Warriors (girls) versus No. 3 seed Ferndale Golden Eagles; Friday, Feb. 14; 7 p.m. at Ferndale High School (District 1 3A Girls Basketball Tournament quarterfinal game)

— No. 11 seed Sedro Woolley Cubs or No. 6 seed Anacortes Seahawks versus No. 3 seed Mountlake Terrace Hawks (boys); Saturday, Feb. 15; 7 p.m. at Mountlake Terrace High School (District 1/2 2A Boys Basketball Tournament quarterfinal game)

— No. 5 seed Meadowdale Mavericks (boys) versus No. 4 seed Edmonds-Woodway Warriors (boys); Saturday, Feb. 15; 7 p.m. at Edmonds-Woodway High School (District 1 3A Boys Basketball Tournament quarterfinal game)

— By Doug Petrowski

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