After winning three straight loser-out games just to qualify for the Class 4A state tournament, the Roosevelt High boys basketball team...

Share story

RENTON — After winning three straight loser-out games just to qualify for the Class 4A state tournament, the Roosevelt High boys basketball team might have hoped to catch a break in yesterday’s draw.

But all the fifth-ranked Roughriders (20-5) got was more of the same. Not only did they fall into what looks like the tougher half of the bracket, they also landed a first-round date with South Kitsap (24-1), the state’s top-ranked team.

The showdown at high noon is expected to be one of the highlights of Wednesday’s opening round at the Tacoma Dome.

“The stars are shining early,” said Roosevelt senior Marcus Williams. “We got what they say is the hardest team, the No. 1 team, first. That’s what we like. We’ve always had the hard road and we’ve made it through.”

The Wolves from Port Orchard are 2-0 against the Roughriders this season. The teams met during the Oh Boy! Oberto Christmas Classic on Dec. 29 at Bothell High, and again at the King Holiday Hoopfest on Jan. 17 at Edmundson Pavilion.

South Kitsap came from behind to win both games, the first one in overtime.

But both contests occurred before Roosevelt senior Chris Chase was granted an additional year of eligibility by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association. Chase, a 6-foot-4 guard, debuted for the Roughriders on Jan. 18 and is averaging 15.3 points.

“It’s probably a little better for them because they have a new guy who is a pretty good player,” said South Kitsap coach John Callaghan of the coming rematch. “We haven’t played against them (with him). They’re tough. It’s going to be a good game.”

The winner could meet a surprising team from Kamiak (17-6) in the quarterfinals.

The Knights from Mukilteo finished fourth in the WesCo South Division, but came on to win the Northwest District tournament and earn their first-ever trip to state. They open against North Kitsap (17-9) of Poulsbo at 2 p.m.

Third-ranked Kentwood (21-5), the defending state champion, also starts in the top half of the bracket. The Conquerors face Pasco (20-5) at 10:30 a.m.

Seventh-ranked Eisenhower (23-3) of Yakima meets Prairie (22-6) of Vancouver in the 9 a.m. opener.

“That top half is a very tough bracket,” said Kentwood coach Dean Montzingo. “To win state, you have to beat the best teams; you have to beat everybody. It’s a matter of just focusing on one game at a time and winning that game for that day.”

Second-ranked Bethel (24-2) looms in the bracket’s bottom half. The Braves from Graham are making their seventh straight state appearance and return one of the most experienced teams in the tournament. They open against Gonzaga Prep (18-9) of Spokane at 3:30 p.m.

Snohomish (18-6) and its Washington-bound star, Jon Brockman, take on 10th-ranked Evergreen (20-7) of Vancouver at 5 p.m.

First-round action concludes with a pair of intriguing matchups. The first pits ninth-ranked Mountlake Terrace (19-5) against eighth-ranked Ferris (21-4) of Spokane at 7 p.m. The second pairs Curtis (19-6) of Tacoma against Inglemoor (21-2) at 8:30.