YAKIMA The Hardwood Classic state basketball tournament opens today in three venues, with each featuring some highly touted teams from the Lower Yakima Valley.
The action kicks off with eight boys and girls teams in each classification — 1B, 2B, 1A, 2A, 3A and 4A — facing off in loser-out games.
Nine area teams are in the state tournaments in the Yakima Valley SunDome, Spokane Memorial Veterans Arena and the Tacoma Dome.
Prosser (15-9) and Wapato (16-6) open the state 2A tournament against each other in the SunDome at 10:30 a.m.
The No. 15-ranked Mustangs reached the loser-out game against the rival No. 7-seed Wolves by upsetting two-time defending state champion Clarkston, then by knocking off Centralia last weekend in regional action.
Wapato advanced to the loser-out game after being trounced by Anacortes, 69-35, over the weekend.
While the Mustangs are riding high after their two victories, they are still confronted with the fact that they couldn’t top the Wolves during the regular season — Wapato handed Prosser two losses.
Only one of the two teams will make it into the state’s 2A Elite Eight; where Olympic High School is awaiting the winner.
Olympic received a first-round bye. The second-round game against either Prosser or Wapato is set for 10:30 a.m. Thursday.
While Prosser and Wapato are the only lower valley boys teams to take the court today, Sunnyside Christian, Mabton, Zillah, Prosser and Sunnyside girls are all on the court in loser-out matchups.
Zillah and Prosser girls will also be in the SunDome.
In 1A action, the No. 9-ranked Leopards open against No. 8 Mount Baker at 2 p.m. The winner will move on to face No. 2-ranked Lynden Christian at 2 p.m. Thursday in the same venue. Zillah (16-4) reached the state tournament by crushing No. 16-ranked Elma, 79-38, over the weekend.
In 2A girls hoops, No. 9-ranked Zillah will take on No. 8 Archbishop Murphy at 9 p.m. in the SunDome. The winner advances to the state quarterfinals’ 9 p.m. Thursday game against No. 2-ranked William F. West. The Mustangs (19-4) eliminated No. 16-ranked Franklin Pierce, 56-49, over the weekend.
The only 4A team left alive in the post season, the No.4-seed Sunnyside Grizzlies girls, take the court today inside the Tacoma Dome against No. 12-ranked, Auburn-Riverside.
No. 3 Glacier Peak awaits the winner in the state quarterfinals at 7:15 p.m. Thursday in the dome.
Sunnyside (18-1) fell last weekend in the regional championship game to No. 5 ranked Central Valley (Spokane), 63-49, the defending state 4A champion.
At Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena, both Mabton and Sunnyside Christian girls take the court today in 2B and 1B tournaments, respectively.
No. 10-ranked Mabton (17-6) will face No. 1 Dayton (19-3) at 9 p.m. The Vikings reached state by topping No. 16 Friday Harbor, 43-27.
Meanwhile, the top-ranked Bulldogs were handed one of their only losses last weekend by No. 8-ranked Colfax.
Colfax advanced to the state 2B quarterfinals after receiving a first-round bye today.
The winner of the Vikings-Bulldogs match today will advance to Thursday’s 9 p.m. game against No. 2-ranked undefeated Wahkiakum (23-1).
The No. 9-ranked Sunnyside Christian girls, playing on the opposite end of the arena in the 1B Hardwood Classic, will open state today against No. 8-ranked Selkirk at 2 p.m.
The Knights (16-3) reached the loser-out game by nearly tripling the score of No. 16 Taholah, 75-26, over the weekend. Meanwhile, the Rangers (17-3) slipped into the loser-out game after falling to defending state champion and No. 1-ranked Colton, 54-26.
Colton (18-2) receives a bye today and advanced to the state quarterfinals on Thursday.
The No. 2-ranked Oakesdale (16-4) girls are waiting in the wings for their semifinals match against the winner of the Sunnyside Christian-Selkirk game.
That semifinals matchup is set for 2 p.m. Thursday, also in the area.
In the same bracket, the No.18 Yakama Nation girls (10-5) take on the No. 6-ranked Almira/Coulee-Hartline Warriors (17-3) at 9 a.m. in the arena.
The winner of that game advances to the quarterfinals against No. 5-rnaked Tacoma Baptist at 9 a.m. tomorrow.
On Thursday, a few other area teams will hit the court after receiving first-round byes.
The No. 3-ranked 1A Granger girls and the No. 3-ranked 1A Zillah boys play in the SunDome and the No. 2-ranked 1B Sunnyside Christian boys play in Spokane.
Granger awaits the winner of the Montesano-Meridian game. Montesano is ranked No. 5 and Meridian No. 13.
Granger girls will play that winner at 12:15 p.m. tomorrow in the SunDome.
Also in the dome, the Leopards area awaiting the outcome of the Northwest School vs. Cascade Christian game.
The Leopards will take the court at 7:15 p.m. against the victor.
Back in Spokane, the Sunnyside Christian boys are also waiting to see who they will face.
The Knights will be in the state quarterfinals at 9 p.m. tomorrow. They will face the winner of the Neah Bay vs. Taholah game. Neah Bay is the No. 1-ranked 1B boys team and Taholah is No. 9.
The Knights reached the quartefinals after blasting No. 7-ranked Chief Kitsap Academy, 80-31 last week.