Elite 11: Those Left Behind

HoopGurlz Publisher
Posted Feb 27, 2007

It's an imperfect process that leaves very good teams sidelined every year.

If it weren't more fun to watch and write about the games, teams and players, I'd sit someone down to explain to me the whole classification and district playoff system. Which means I never will. So I'll be like everyone else and grouse about the excellent teams that are left on the sidelines while teams that barely have broken even take spots in the state tournament.

No one should begrudge the "first-round fodder" for being in the tournament, by the way. They played their way in, fair and square. And there should be some aspect to a state high-school tournament that allows every region to be represented.

But it's a highly imperfect system that leaves very good teams east of the Cascades home just about every year. Last year it was Gonzaga Prep; this year it's Moses Lake and Pasco. I'd of course love to see very good players such as Carly Noyes of Moses Lake and Cydney Knight of Pasco on this week's grand stage.

It looks wrong to have a mega-district such as the West Central that produces six representatives through a confusing system that resembles the party presidential nomination process in which teams sometimes can get to the state tournament seemingly by being in the right place at the right time. Or a system that seems to allow the Great St. Helens champion (OK, Prairie, all right, since it seems synonymous) a week off while the rest kill each other, only to be slaughtered in the district championship game. Or a system in which the third East Region representative has to play two games on a Saturday.

I'm not supposed to know this, because I'm a day late with this story, but Sehome upset previously unbeaten Anacortes in 2A Northwest District play on Monday night. Yet Anacortes can get to the state tournament by winning its next game. Whoa, in a tournament, a team can lose but still win? Anacortes deserves to get in, but that's not the point. The point is, it's confusing and when something's confusion, it's open to questions.

Here's an imperfect thought on an impossible situation: Create eight districts across the state, and hold a straight knockout tournament to determine a champion in each. The eight district champions are the only automatic bids to the state tournament. The other eight spots are determined by rankings - compiled by, say, The Times and HoopGurlz in the West and the Spokesman Review and Washington Preps in the East (just throwing out ideas here) - or a second-chance, play-in system.

Some years, some districts will produce "weak" champions. So be it. Every area at least produces a champion. And there are eight other spots to address the Moses Lake or Gonazaga Preps of that particular season.

California has a system in which there is a regular playoff process simultaneous to a playoff regardless of classification. I must confess, it's all very confusing. But, at least, everyone who deserves a shot at a championship seems to end up with one. br>
The HoopGurlz.com Elite Eleven high-school girls basketball team rankings are featured on KING-TV's Sports Blitz and The Seattle Times.

Click Here to Discuss Washington High School Rankings

HoopGurlz.com Elite Eleven
Washington State's Top Teams Without Regard to Classification
Records Through Feb. 24
1. Kentwood (4A) Record: 25-0 Last: 1
Comment: Conks need Beth Johnson's back to be sound.
2. Roosevelt (4A) Record: 23-0 Last: 2
Comment: Riders prove they can win ugly, too.
3. Meadowdale (3A) Record: 23-0 Last: 3
Comment: Marelle Moehrle still has hot hand.
4. University (4A) Record: 23-2 Last: 4
Comment: Two straight wins over L&C.
5. Chief Sealth (3A) Record: 20-3 Last: 7
Comment: Rematch with Issaquah lacks appeal of last year.
6. Auburn Riverside (3A) Record: 21-2 Last: 10
Comment: Stephanie Wilber has 49 points in last two games.
7. Mt. Tahoma (4A) Record: 24-1 Last: 5
Comment: Shauneice Samms most improved scorer in the region.
8. Jackson (4A) Record: 21-2 Last: 8
Comment: Goes into State on 11-game win streak.
9. Lewis and Clark (4A) Record: 22-3 Last: 6
Comment: A likely appointment with Roosevelt.
10. Prairie (4A) Record: 18-3 Last: NR
Comment: Ashley Corral's 38 gets them to State.
11. Anacortes (2A) Record: 22-0 Last: 11
Comment: We go by last week's records, so Sehome upset isn't counted.

The Wait List
Bellevue Christian (1A) 19-3; Black Hills (2A) 16-5; Brewster (1A) 21-2; Burlington-Edison (2A) 16-5; Capital (3A) 18-4; Clarkston (2A) 16-5; Colfax (1A) 23-2; Columbia (1A) 19-2; Curlew (1B) 24-3; East Valley (2A) 19-3; Ellensburgh (2A) 17-5; Evergreen Lutheran (2B) 21-2; Issaquah (3A) 17-5; King's (1A) 22-3; Lakes (3A) 16-3; Liberty (2B) 22-2; Lindbergh (3A) 21-3; Lynden Christian (1A) 23-1; Mead (4A) 21-6; Monroe (4A) 16-6; Moses Lake (4A) 22-4; Pasco (4A) 22-3; Prairie (4A) 17-3; Pullman (2A) 21-0; Rainier Beach (3A) 15-6; River Ridge (2A) 20-1; Seattle Prep (3A) 18-4; Sehome (2A) 17-5; Shoreline Christian (1A) 21-2; Skyline (3A) 19-2; Skyview (4A) 19-5; Sprague-Harrington (1B) 25-4; Tumwater (2A) 14-6; Woodland (2A) 19-2.

More Elite Eleven Rankings:
Dec. 4: No Satisfaction for Issy
Dec. 11: Sealth or Riverside?
Jan. 8: Stuff Happened
Jan. 17: Week with Buzz
Jan. 23: Cream Has Risen
Jan. 29: Second Time Around
Feb. 5: Any More Questions?
Feb. 12: Aura of Invincibility
Feb. 12: Aura of Invincibility

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Glenn Nelson is the publisher of HoopGurlz.com and the editor-in-chief of Scout Media (www.Scout.com), an online sports network and magazine-publishing company and subsidiary of Fox Interactive Media. Glenn also founded and coached the Dragons and Northwest HoopGurlz select girl's basketball teams. He previously was a longtime, national-award-winning basketball columnist and writer for The Seattle Times. His work also has appeared in several national magazines and books. He is co-author of "Rising Stars: The Ten Best Players in the NBA" (Rosen Publishing, 2002). He can be reached at hoopgurlz@comcast.net.

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