The Port Townsend and Quilcene boys basketball teams are starting their journeys today for some possible state hardware.
Both start state championship tournament play Wednesday and both teams feel confident of making an impression on the state level.
The Redskins, ranked No. 3 in state and 20-3 on the year, opens against district No. 1-seed Granger at the Class 1A tourney at Yakima SunDome beginning at 9 p.m. on Wednesday.
The Rangers, 19-6 and ranked No. 9, look for their first state win ever in the 2B tourney at Spokane Arena against Pe Ell at 2 p.m.
Redskins leave at 10
Port Townsend hits the road for state at 10 a.m. today at the high school.
“I don’t know if we’ll get a police escort out of town like last year, but maybe we will get one when we get back,” Port Townsend coach John Stroeder said.
Stroeder and his Redskins are confident after capturing sixth place at the 2A tourney last year and taking eight seniors to Yakima this week.
Those seniors include 6-foot-5 forward Parker McClelland, all-state as a junior, named to this year’s all-state game and just named to the Olympic League first team for the second year in a row.
McClelland, who was named to the 2A all-tournament team in 2008, is scoring 17 points a game with six to seven rebounds per game and two blocks per game.
Another senior is 5-9 guard Dakotah Pine, coming off an ankle injury and voted to the all-league second team.
Pine is feeling good and will start Wednesday’s game, Stroeder said.
Senior 6-2 forward Walker Wilson and senior 6-5 guard Joe Aase were league honorable mentions.
Other seniors include Jesse Yourish, Elan Solvik, Jaydee Dodd and Vinnie Johnson.
Port Townsend’s first-round opponent, Granger, will be looking up to the Redskins in more ways than one.
“We hear that they have two 6-foot guards and they don’t have a good inside game,” Stroeder said.
“They like to run a 2-3 zone and play some man-to-man. They shoot from long range, run up-and-down the court and they play really, really hard.”
The Redskins feel good about their chances and their position in the bracket.
“We feel pretty confident going in,” Stroeder said. “And we feel good about our bracket. Vashon Island, Winlock and Lake Roosevelt are all on the other side of the bracket.”
Stroeder is expecting one of those three to make it to the state title game.
Vashon is ranked No. 1 and handled Port Townsend well in the district tournament. But Winlock, ranked No. 5, is as big and dangerous as Vashon, Stroeder said.
The Redskins already were headed to state even before they qualified because they were named the 1A all-academic team.
“That’s a pretty big thing,” Stroeder said. “We have some pretty smart kids. I’m not the smart one, they are.”
Rangers leave at noon
Quilcene, meanwhile, leaves for the 2B tournament from the high school at noon.
The Rangers have never won a state boys basketball game but coach Brad Burlingame is hoping that this is the year that happens.
“We’re pretty happy about going to state,” Burlingame said. “We have a good chance of winning one or some games.”
This is the first time the Rangers have been to state since 2000.
Quilcene features experience with seven seniors.
“We have guys who have played a lot of basketball,” Burlingame said.
The Rangers feature two all-Sea-Tac League players.
Nate Burlingame is the MVP of the Sea-Tac South while Chris Bacchus made the first team.
Nate Burlingame, the point guard, is averaging 16 points a game with 5.5 steals and assist per contest.
The Rangers don’t know too much about their first opponent, Pe Ell.
“We hear they are not very big,” Brad Burlingame said. “They like to shoot from the outside a lot.
“We haven’t found out a lot about them because they don’t report their scores. What we know we have read on blogs.”