An early run of the machine that will make T-shirts for the state champs caused some confusion on the opening day of the state tournament at the Tacoma Dome.
TACOMA — T-shirts were a hot item of discussion leading up to the Class 3A and 4A state basketball tournament games Wednesday.
Coaches and administrators were given a tour of the Tacoma Dome. When a group passed a stand where official gear will be sold, a press plate emblazoned “Washington State Champs Nathan Hale Raiders” was spotted.
Pictures and news of the press spread quickly. Nathan Hale became a heavy favorite when McDonald’s All-American forward Michael Porter Jr. and his brother Jontay transferred with his family from Missouri last summer. But the remainder of the Class 3A boys tournament field would still like the Raiders (26-0) to earn it first.
Jim Butler, owner of Rush Team Apparel and Equipment, which provides the official tournament gear, said the press was mistakenly left visible and not an indication of the company favoring any team.
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It was a test-run of new equipment. There will be templates for all eight teams in the title games, but only four will be used.
“It’s unfortunate,” Butler said of the oversight. “We’re in the business of helping kids celebrate getting there and do not lean toward one school or another.”
• For the first time, the boys and girls teams from Stanwood are both ending their season at the Tacoma Dome.
The Spartans girls come into the Class 3A state tournament as the No. 5 seed and the boys team will join them in the quarterfinals after a 64-52 victory over Shorecrest in their state opener.
“It’s a pretty big crowd for this place,” Stanwood coach Zach Ward said. “You’ve got to bring a lot of people to make it look like there’s even a dent in here. It’s pretty cool seeing a lot of red up there.”