Sports

HARDWOOD CLASSIC: Beamer boys will open Thursday with Gonzaga Prep at Tacoma Dome

Beamer senior Bogdan Bliznyuk was the SPSL South Player of the Year after averaging 19.9 points and six rebounds for the Titans. Beamer will open the state tournament at 7:15 p.m. Thursday at the Tacoma Dome against Gonzaga Prep  - Casey Olson/The Mirror
Beamer senior Bogdan Bliznyuk was the SPSL South Player of the Year after averaging 19.9 points and six rebounds for the Titans. Beamer will open the state tournament at 7:15 p.m. Thursday at the Tacoma Dome against Gonzaga Prep
— image credit: Casey Olson/The Mirror

Class 4A Hardwood Classic (Tacoma Dome)

Thursday

Game 1: Kentridge vs. Garfield, 3:45 p.m.

Game 2: Issaquah vs. Jackson, 5:30 p.m.

Game 3: Gonzaga Prep vs. Todd Beamer, 7:15 p.m.

Game 4: Richland vs. Wenatchee, 9 p.m.

Friday

Game 5: Loser 1 vs. Loser 2, 12:15 p.m.

Game 6: Loser 3 vs. Loser 4, 2 p.m.

Game 7: Winner 1 vs. Winner 2, 7:15 p.m.

Game 8: Winner 3 vs. Winner 4, 9 p.m.

Saturday

Game 9: Winner 5 vs. Winner 6, 9:30 a.m (fourth/sixth)

Game 10: Loser 7 vs. Loser 8, 1 p.m. (third/fifth)

Game 11: Winner 7 vs. Winner 8, 3 p.m. (first/second)

The Favorites

Garfield Bulldogs (24-1)

The Bulldogs are the gold standard in the state, in terms of success on the boys' basketball court. Garfield has won a state-record 11 big-school state championships and feature another extremely talented roster. The top-ranked Bulldogs beat Battle Ground in the Regional Tournament round Saturday, 69-51, to earn the trip to the Tacoma Dome.

Garfield has a very Federal Way feel on its roster. Last season, Brayon Blake and DeeShawn Tucker led Federal Way High School a second-place finish in the SPSL South. Blake, a 6-foot-6 forward led the Eagles in scoring at 14.5 a game, and Tucker, a 6-foot point guard, averaged 10 points a game.

Garfield also features former Federal Way resident Jashaun Agosto, who is averaging 8.0 points. Agosto drew national acclaim back in 2008 when he displayed his basketball skills on the Ellen Degeneres Show and Good Morning America, among others.

This year's Bulldogs are led by Treamaine Isabell, who is averaging a robust 23.5 points a game, including a 47-point outburst during a Christmas tournament in Las Vegas

Garfield opens the state tournament Thursday inside the Tacoma Dome against Kentridge, who also have just one loss on the season. The Chargers' lone loss came against Beamer in the West Central/Southwest District Championship game.

Jackson Timberwolves (23-1)

The Timberwolves cruised to the WesCo League 4A title with a perfect record and feature the two-headed monster of Dan Kingma and Jason Todd. Kingma, a 5-foot-10 guard, is averaging 17.8 points a game and Todd, a 6-foot-5 guard, is scoring 17.3 points.

Jackson's lone loss of the season game to Lincoln on Jan. 20, 61-55. The Timberwolves showed what type of team they were by winning the ultra-prestigious MaxPreps Holiday Classic over Christmas in Palm Springs. The tournament wins came over California heavyweights Harvard-Westlake, Long Beach Poly and Capital Christian.

Jackson has won their four postseason games by an average of 30 points, including a 67-33 win over Stadium at Regionals. Jackson opens the state tournament at 5:30 p.m. against Issaquah.

The Next Tier

Richland Bombers (24-0)

The Bombers enter the state tournament as the lone unbeaten team with a perfect 24-0 record. The only knock against the Bombers is they have played only teams from east of the mountains. Their lone game against an opponent from Western Washington came against Mount Rainier, who finished 3-17 in the SPSL North. Richland beat up the Rams, 95-62.

Richland earned the berth into the state tournament with an 83-55 win over Moses Lake in the Regionals, 83-55. The Bombers are led by Steven Beo, Jacob DeVries and Peyton Radliff. Beo finished with 28 points, Radliff had 16 and DeVries chipped in 14 during the win over Moses Lake.

The Bombers open Thursday against Wenatchee at 9 p.m.

Beamer Titans (21-4)

The Titans might have the deepest team at the state tournament. Beamer finished 15-1 to win the SPSL South and won the program's first-ever West Central/Southwest District Tournament title.

The Titans beat up Bothell at the Class 4A Regional Tournament Saturday, 77-41. During win over Bothell, Beamer had eight players hit a 3-pointer, including four scoring in double figures. Beamer has been led all season by Bogdan Bliznyuk, who was the South Puget Sound League South Division Player of the Year. Bliznyuk is averaging 19.9 points, six rebounds and 2.5 assists during the season.

Fellow senior Trey Burch-Manning is averaging 14.6 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists, Charles Frazier is scoring 11.3 points and grabbing 4.6 rebounds and point guard Quadir Williams is scoring 7.7 points and 6.7 assists.

The Titans open the 4A Hardwood Classic against Gonzaga Prep at 7:15 p.m. Thursday. The winner will play the winer of a game between Richland and Wenatchee on Friday. The two losers will also play Friday.

Kentridge Chargers (24-1)

The fourth-ranked Chargers suffered their only loss of the season to Beamer in the championship of the West Central/Southwest District Tournament. Other than that loss, the Chargers have been dominant, beating Arlington in the Regional Tournament, 65-61.

The Chargers are led by Jawan Stepney, who is averaging 19.9 points a game. His lowest total of the year came against Beamer, when he scored only four points during the 51-36 loss.

Kentridge takes on Garfield in the marquee game of the opening round of the Hardwood Classic at 3:45 p.m. Thursday.

Underdogs

Gonzaga Prep (21-4)

The Bullpups proved to be the best team from Spokane at the end of the season. After losing to Ferris in the district tournament, Gonzaga Prep won four games in a  row to qualify for state. The Bullpups beat Central Valley, Chiawana and Ferris, before beating South Kitsap at Regionals, 87-69.

Gonzaga Prep is led by Sam Dowd. The 5-foot-7 guard is averaging 13 points a game. Ryan Alexander, Reed Hopkins and Brendan McClary are also averaging in double figures.

Issaquah Eagles (18-6)

Three of the Eagles' losses have come against Garfield this season. But they dominated Bellarmine Prep in the Regionals, 64-46. The win over Bellarmine came after losing to Garfield in the KingCo League Championship game, 83-65.

The Eagles are led by Ty Gibson, a 6-foot-3 guard who is averaging 15.6 points a game. Trevon Ary-Turner, a freshman, is second on the team at 10.6 points a game.

Issaquah opens the state tournament against Jackson at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

Wenatchee Panthers (16-8)

The Panthers earned the berth into the Hardwood Classic by beating the defending 4A champion Curtis Vikings in the Regionals, 59-58. The Panthers are led by 6-foot-3 Gavin Long, who finished with 27 points against Curtis.

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