Class 4A Boys | Decatur draws Snohomish in state tournament first round
The third-ranked Decatur High School boys basketball team has a 23-2 record and just won the rough-and-tumble West Central 4A District tournament...
Seattle Times staff reporter
RENTON — The third-ranked Decatur High School boys basketball team has a 23-2 record and just won the rough-and-tumble West Central 4A District tournament, surviving an ultra-competitive field from which six teams advanced to state.
Decatur's reward? How about a first-round date with 22-2 Snohomish?
It was the biggest surprise Sunday at the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association headquarters, where officials drew the matchups for the Class 4A boys basketball tournament, which starts Wednesday at 9 a.m. at the Tacoma Dome.
"Snohomish, we look at them as another No. 1 [district] seed. But they slipped up," said Decatur coach Kevin Olson. "You've got to play good teams, and we'll start off with one of the best."
The Decatur-Snohomish matchup occurred because Snohomish finished third at districts after being upset by Edmonds-Woodway. Snohomish was then placed in the pool with the other non-No. 1 district seeds, all at the mercy of the draw.
The No. 1 teams from each district are spread throughout the bracket. Teams from the same district can't play each other in the first round.
The bracket's bottom half looks tough, with three of the top four ranked teams in the state, including No. 1 Franklin. The defending champions start with Mariner of Everett. Second-ranked Ferris of Spokane, the only undefeated team, plays Kentwood, and fourth-ranked Federal Way plays Redmond.
Franklin coach Jason Kerr maintained a low-key approach Sunday, saying winning another title isn't the goal.
"We'd like to be still playing on [championship] Saturday," Kerr said. "We're trying to let the kids have a good time, enjoy the experience."
Still, Franklin has to be the favorite with its explosive backcourt tandem of Venoy Overton, a USC commitment, and Peyton Siva.
"You got to play them sooner or later," said Ferris coach Don Van Lierop.
As for his team's chances, Van Lierop said, "We've done well in Eastern Washington. We'll see how that translates."
Redmond, which lost 10 of 13 games during the middle of the season, headlines a quartet of teams vying for the Cinderella role. The Mustangs (13-12) barged into the big-time with emotional wins in four straight loser-out games at districts.
Garfield, Kentwood and Prairie also arrive with double-digit losses. No team with that distinction has won the 4A tournament; the team with the most losses to win the title was the 20-8 South Kitsap squad of 1950.
Garfield, which has 11 state titles in its storied history, is back for the first time since 2002. Curtis also returns, but minus star Isaiah Thomas who averaged 40.5 points last year in one of the tournament's greatest scoring displays. Thomas is at a Connecticut prep school working on his grades.
Michael Ko: 206-515-5653 or email@example.com
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