Five Teams to Watch – 3A State Tournament

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Posted On: 02/28/18 9:07 AM

PC: WIAA Website

No. 4 Kelso Hilanders (21-4)

Knocking off Wilson, North Thurston, Lincoln, and Timberline- Kelso might be the hottest team going into state. Kelso is a favorite among many going into this year’s tournament. The Hilanders play at a physical level that will shock most of these teams. Kelso’s success is large in part due to Coach Joe Finch and junior F Shaw Anderson (21.8 ppg). Kelso could potentially face Garfield in the semifinals- setting up a showdown between two tournament favorites. Watch for Kelso to make some noise in this year’s tourney.   

With a first round bye, Kelso will play the winner between Stanwood and Eastside Catholic.

 

No. 13 Seattle Prep Panthers (17-10)

Seattle Prep knocked off #4 Rainier Beach and #1 Garfield in the same week during districts – followed by a regional win over North Thurston to seal their spot state. The 10-losses on their record are somewhat misleading, as this group might be the most well-rounded team in the tournament. Coached by Michael Kelly, the talented Prep boys are a polished group that plays strong tight-knit basketball. The Panthers are led by seniors G Kalu Stricklin1(11.0), G Jaxon Woodward, and 6’10 center Nic Lynch (16.7 ppg) – along with the junior G Nikola Trifunovic (11.5). Prep is playing their best ball heading into the state tournament.

Seattle Prep faces Timberline in the first round.   

 

No. 3 Lincoln Abes (24-1)

Lincoln is coming off a big regional-round win over Eastside Catholic. Being the top team out of Tacoma, Lincoln knew eventually they would face teams from Seattle’s dominant metro league. This win proved Lincoln is no joke. The Abes only loss this year came in the district tournament – which might have actually been for the best. The team now looks re-focused and hungry, as if they’re out to prove themselves. They’re coached by Aubrey Shelton and led by seniors Le’Zjon Bonds (13 ppg), Emmett Linton (17 ppg), and Willie Thomas (13 ppg).

With a first round bye, Lincoln will play the winner between Seattle Prep and Timberline.

 

No. 6 Eastside Catholic Crusaders (20-6)

Eastside is coming off a two heartbreaking losses, but senior G Brock Mackenzie (18.5 ppg) and the young talented group is equipped to make a run. Coached by Brent Merritt, the future is bright for Eastside, having three freshman fuel this team – including freshman G Shane Nowell (9.5 ppg), the brother of University of Washington guard Jaylen Nowell. Along with highly touted football prospect, 6-5 freshman J.T. Tuimoloau (8.5 ppg).

Eastside Catholic will face Stanwood in the first round.

 

No. 1 Garfield Bulldogs (25-1)

Garfield’s perfect record was broke up in the district round after a loss to Seattle Prep. Until that point, Garfield had dominated the state’s most competitive metro league. The Bulldogs bounced back with three consecutive wins, including a blowout win over Wilson (Tacoma). From top to bottom, the team is stacked with raw talent. Coached by Garfield alumni Brandon Roy, and led by stars J’Raan Brooks (13.4 ppg, 11.2 rpg), Jamon Kemp (9.0 ppg), Marjeon Beauchamp (11.4 ppg), and PJ Puller (17.7 ppg). Based on talent alone, this team is unmatched. Look out for these boys, they’re hungry and only have one goal in mind – a state title.

With a first round bye, Garfield will play the winner between Stanwood and O’dea.