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The Rainier Beach boys basketball team will aim for a mythical national title in the Dick’s Sporting Goods High School National Tournament in New York starting Thursday.

The prestigious tournament invites eight teams from around the country to compete for what it labels a national championship.

Rainier Beach is seeded second and will play Findlay Prep (Nev.), the 7 seed, at 1 p.m. PT at Christ the King High School in Queens, N.Y. The game will be televised on ESPNU. If the Vikings win, they will face either Northside Christian Academy (NC) or Oak Hill Academy (Va.) on Friday at 11:30 a.m. PT on ESPN2. The title game will be held at Madison Square Garden at 9 a.m. PT on ESPN.

“This isn’t about Rainier Beach; we’re happy to be the ones who basically blaze the trail for this, but this is good for Washington, period,” Vikings coach Mike Bethea said. “People know Washington is on board. We know what great football programs we have. Now this paves the way for teams like a Bellevue and all our good baseball teams.”

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The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association had to grant Rainier Beach permission to participate in the tournament.

A waiver was granted after the school presented its case to the WIAA’s executive board on Feb. 26.

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