Now in its 10th year, this marks the first time the Bulldogs and Bears have been invited to play. as part of the nation's best.
Washington’s powerhouse high-school basketball programs are headed to New York to see how they compete on the national stage.
Garfield boys and Central Valley girls were invited to participate in the GEICO Nationals, formerly the Dick’s Sporting Goods High School Nationals, where the top programs in the country compete in a three-day single-elimination event. The tournament starts March 29 and all games will air on ESPN networks, culminating with the girls championship March 31 at 7 a.m. on ESPN2 and the boys title game at 10 a.m. on ESPN.
Billed as preview to future college and pro stars, it’s Garfield and Central Valley’s first time participating in the national tournament, which is in its 10th season. The Washington schools earned their right to play not only by winning their respective state tournaments earlier this month but by being nationally ranked throughout the season.
Garfield, which has won the most state titles in WIAA history at 14, finished its season ranked 11th in the country, according to USA Today. The Bulldogs (27-1) feature top recruits in USC commit J’Raan Brooks, a 6-foot-9 forward, and Star Times pick PJ Fuller, a 6-4 guard. Garfield will tip against Virginia’s Oak Hill Academy (40-1) at 4 p.m. on March 29, airing on ESPNU.
CV went undefeated at 29-0 this season in winning its Class 4A girls state title. Stanford-bound twins Lexie and Lacie Hull helped the Bears to a No. 11 national ranking. Central Valley will play Georgia’s Westlake (30-1) on March 30 at 10 a.m. PST on ESPNU.
“I think we have a pretty good chance to succeed,” CV coach Freddie Rehkow said. “It depends if we’re able to defend and rebound against probably a bigger team. It’ll also depend on how much we are able to get out of the time we have between now and the actual game as far as practice. I have so many athletes that are participating in track and other events, so coordinating calendars to practice is our first challenge.”
This is the second opportunity for Garfield coach Brandon Roy, Fuller and sophomore guard MarJon Beauchamp to participate in the tournament. The trio helped Nathan Hale win the Class 3A state title last year with the No. 1 recruit in the nation, Michael Porter Jr., on its roster and were asked to play. Porter playing in the McDonald’s All-American Game the day before the tourney began was an issue that contributed to Roy declining the offer.