Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News Clallam Bay’s Atokena Abe, top, makes a layup over the defense of Lopez Island’s Anna Velazquez, front, and Dariya Begman during a playoff game played Feb. 14 in Port Angeles.

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News Clallam Bay’s Atokena Abe, top, makes a layup over the defense of Lopez Island’s Anna Velazquez, front, and Dariya Begman during a playoff game played Feb. 14 in Port Angeles.

REGIONAL BASKETBALL: Clallam Bay girls one win from state; Neah Bay boys and girls play doubleheader

MILL CREEK — The Clallam Bay girls have played giant-killer once already this season. They’ll be gunning again Saturday to beat one of the best teams in the state.

The Bruins had to get past the No. 4-ranked team in the state, Cedar Park Christian of Mountlake Terrace, to make regionals to begin with. Cedar Park Christian came into that game with a single loss all year and the Bruins were able to knock them off at the 1B Tri-District Tournament 49-46 in overtime last Saturday.

“That was fantastic,” said coach Michael Maines. “The girls were so excited. The bus ride home was really quiet. I think they were exhausted.”

Maines said the Cedar Park Christian game was a huge hump for the Clallam Bay girls to get over. Playing in a league with powerhouse Neah Bay, Clallam Bay often must play loser-out “pigtail” games to advance to Tri-District play. The Bruins not only had to win one loser-out game, they earlier had to beat Lopez in another loser-out Tri-District contest.

Clallam Bay will play Tulalip Heritage at Jackson High School in Mill Creek (near Everett) at noon Saturday in their regionals matchup — their third-straight loser-out playoff game.

For seeding purposes, Clallam Bay is seeded No. 13 in regionals, while Tulalip is seeded No. 12. The loser’s season is over, while the winner goes on to the final 12 at the state 1B tournament which begins Wednesday.

A Bruins victory would send the school to Spokane for the first time since 2005-2006.

Tulalip gave the No. 10-ranked Neah Bay girls a handful at the 1B Tri-Districts in Port Angeles, leading most of the game until finally falling at the end 42-38.

Clallam Bay has quietly had an outstanding season of its own, going 16-5, and riding a six-game winning streak, including its two playoff wins. Three of those losses to the Neah Bay girls.

Two out of those three losses were close ones, with the Bruins holding a 9-point lead in one of the losses.

Neah Bay has given Clallam Bay a good lesson in the kind of tough basketball they will face in the postseason.

“It really helps us to have [Neah Bay] in our league,” Maines said. The Bruins were able to sweep all their other North Olympic 1B League games to finish 6-3 in league.

Maines said he and his coaches have watched Tulalip on film and see that they have three or four pretty tough players.

For a 1B girls’ team, Tulalip is tall. Tulalip has a pair of 6-footers, including Deandra Grant, who gave Neah Bay a lot of trouble inside.

They have another 5-11 player, Keryn Parks, who is a good outside shooter.

Maines said one reason Clallam Bay has been good this year is different girls step up each game.

“The thing about us is that it’s someone different every night. Any one of four or five girls can score, we’re pretty balanced,” he said.

Clallam is a young team with only three seniors on the roster — Jennica Maines, Mariah LaChester and Molly McCoy.

A couple of players who get big minutes, Hannah Olson and Miriam Wonderly, are just sophomores.

No. 10 Neah Bay vs. No. 15 Naselle

TACOMA — The Red Devils face the Comets (16-6), the Southwest District’s second seed, in a loser-out, winner-to-state contest at noon at Mount Tahoma High School.

A victory would put the Neah Bay girls in a 10:30 a.m. loser-out state tournament game at Spokane Arena on Wednesday against the loser of Saturday’s regional between No. 7 Evergreen Lutheran and No. 2 Oakesdale.

Boys Basketball No. 1 Neah Bay vs. No. 8 Almira/Coulee-Hartline

TACOMA — The Red Devils boys are assured of a chance at defending their state championship in Spokane even if they lose a rematch of last season’s title game at 10 a.m. Saturday at Mount Tahoma High School.

But a loss would add a loser-out first round contest on Wednesday to Neah Bay’s state trip, an unnecessary burden when fresh legs are at a premium due to daily state games.

A win would give Neah Bay a bye in the first round and a quarterfinal contest at Spokane Arena on Thursday.

________

Sports Editor Pierre LaBossiere can be contacted at 360-417-3525 or [email protected]

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