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Defending champs between Wenatchee and state

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Nothing like having the defending state champion standing between you and your first state tournament berth in 15 years.  The Panthers face Curtis in a regional loser out, winner to state game Saturday at Big Bend Community College in Moses Lake at 2 o’clock.

This will be Wenatchee’s first regional game in five years.  In 2009 their season ended with regional losses to Eisenhower and Gonzaga Prep.  In the new setup for regional play each team gets one make-it-or-break-it game as the final step to reach the state tourney.


Who is Curtis?

Curtis High School is in University Place (population 31,340…Wenatchee is 32,520) just south of Tacoma and opened in 1969.  They are in the South Puget Sound League South Division where they went 14-2 and finished in second place.  For the season they are 21-6 and ranked ninth in the final AP poll.  From the school to the Tacoma Dome, site of the state tourney, is 7.5 miles.  Their colors are blue and white.

The Vikings are no stranger to state completion.  In the past 31 seasons they have participated in the 4A event 15 times, including the title last year when they defeated Jackson 60-56 (a team WHS lost to 64-51 last season in Port Townsend).  In addition to first place a year ago they have played in the championship game three other times, losing all three (1985, ’86 and 2011).  Of their 15 tournaments they have placed nine times – a first, three seconds, two thirds, a fifth, a sixth and an eighth.  Oh yes, they also went four times before they were a 4A and won the 3A title in ’71.

So they hit the road to Moses Lake Saturday.  No big deal for them.  During Christmas break they traveled to the Desert Edge Holiday Hoop Fest in Phoenix where they defeated a team from Illinois and went 2-1 against Arizona squads.  The season before they went 4-0 at the Lahainaluna Invitational in Maui…and 2010-11 and 2011-12 the Vikings ventured to the San Diego area to play in the Torrey Pines Holiday Classic.

Trying to find info on their players is trying.  One article in the Tacoma News Tribune mentioned most of their height from last season’s title team graduated.  It sounds like their tallest players this year are a pair of 6-3 young men, one of which is a starter

One former Viking hoopster you may have heard of is Isaiah Thomas.  He went on to average 16.4 ppg in three years for the Huskies and now is averaging 20.6 ppg in his third year with the Sacramento Kings.


Panther Stuff

Wenatchee and Curtis have never faced each other before.

This will be the Purple and Gold’s 11 regional.  In the previous 10 between 1986 and 2009 they won seven and lost 15.

Saturday’s game will be the 23rd this season, the most in five years.

The boys have won six of the last seven games.

The 9-2 record at home is the best in 16 seasons.  Seventeen years ago the ’97-98 team also won nine of 11.

The game will be the first time Wenatchee has ever played at Big Bend Community College.

Chase Resch averaged 5.1 ppg his first 15 games.  Over the last seven games he has averaged 15.1.

Wenatchee’s five non-league opponents and win/loss records – Lake City, ID 16-5 (in 5A regional), Newport 9-11, West Seattle 10-14, Monroe 7-15 and Lake Stevens 2-18.  Total 44-63.


Wenatchee and State

Now that the local five is a single victory from state at the Tacoma Dome, Panther fans are abuzz with speculation for the future and talk of past teams.  While Wenatchee can’t match the record of Curtis over the past half century or so (Vikings 19 appearances in 52 years, Panthers two in 54), they have been there those two times.  Under coach Eli Juarez the 1993-94 squad was eliminated in two straight at the Seattle Coliseum, and in 1997-98 they won their first game and then lost two at the Kingdome.

But Wenatchee has a lot more state appearances than just those two.  Between 1925 and 1959 the Panthers qualified for the big show a dozen times…all at the UW in those days.  Their best finish was is in 1934 and ’37 when they placed sixth.  In 14 trips to state they have played 41 games, winning 13, losing 28 and brought home four trophies…in addition to the pair of sixths, they got sevenths in ’28 and ’41.


Time for the Big Nine to Come Up Big

Checking out the ScoreCzar computer rankings (for whatever they’re worth) Wenatchee and Moses Lake are ranked the lowest of the 16 schools in the 4A regional.  The other 14 teams are all ranked between 1 and 20, while the Panthers are tied for 26th and the Chiefs are 33rd.  Note, Curtis is 11th.  ML plays Richland and the Bombers are second.  One reason Curtis ranked high was they played nine games against top 25 teams (5-4) and Wenatchee played none.

On the girls side Moses Lake fares better.  Fifteen of the 16 teams are ranked in the top 19 and Moses Lake is 13th.  Davis is back at 35th.  The Chiefs play Kentridge who is ninth, and the Pirates face Gonzaga Prep who is 10th.


Stretching the Truth, In Fact Not Close

Getting this close to state can lead to excitement and giddiness that can cloud memories and lead to shoot-from-the-hip type statements.  After Saturdays triumph it was reported from whatever sources, that this is “their first district championship in school history.”  Au contraire!  A pretty sweeping statement for a school with 104 years of the peach-basket sport.  And not the truth.  Between 1928 and 1963 Wenatchee won 10 district championships


How Low Can You Go?

Something happened last Thursday night that hadn’t occurred for over four decades.  On the 20th Wenatchee beat Eastmont 45-35.  The last time these two schools combined for fewer than 80 points was the opening game of the 1973-74 season.  On December 4, 1973 (40 years, 2 months and 16 days ago) Jack Brantner’s Panthers defeated the Wildcats 40-33 on the local floor.

* The only time in the series WHS scored less than 45 points and won (they’ve won 65) was a 42-35 win in 1963-64. 

* The last time EHS scored as few as 35 in the series was 1971-72 when WHS won 48-35.

* The last time WHS was involved in such a low scoring game was a 40-32 loss at Lake City, ID on 11/26/11.


Wenatchee moved up three more places to a tie for 26th this week in the ScoreCzar computer rankings. 



Wenatchee’s five non-league opponents and their win/loss records – Cashmere 23-0 (in 1A regional), Bellarmine Prep 17-4 (in 4A regional), Ballard 11-11, Lake City, ID 11-12 and Lake Stevens 9-13.  Total 71-40.


A number of numbers will be included next week.


Wenatchee remained tied for 39th this week in the ScoreCzar computer rankings.



Jared Vargas earned 23 points at the state meet Saturday at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way and that total placed Wenatchee 22nd in the final team standings.  Vargas finished fourth in the 100 breaststroke for 15 points, and ninth in the 200 individual medley for eight points…and Vargas is only a sophomore.  This runs Wenatchee’s string to 15 consecutive years of having swimmers place in the state competition.


Big Nine All-League Swimming

Jared Vargas was named Swimmer of the Meet, and he and six other Panther swimmers all earned CBBN all-league honors

FIRST TEAM: 200 Individual Medley, Jared Vargas, so.;  100 Breaststroke, Jared Vargas, so.

SECOND TEAM: 200 Medley Relay – Jared Vargas, so, Austin Boese, so, Garrett Christensen, sr, Thomas Higley, sr;  500 Free Style – Jack Van Well, so.;  100 Breaststroke, Austin Boese, so.; 400 Free Style Relay – Garrett Christensen, sr., Tucker Reid, sr., Josiah Anderson, sr., Jack Van Well, so.;

HONORABLE MENTION: 100 Free Style – Thomas Higley, sr.; 200 Free Style Relay – Thomas Higley, sr., Austin Boese, so., Josiah Anderson, sr., Jared Vargas, so.


Big Nine All-League Wrestling

Wenatchee had seven wrestlers receive all-league honors for the season just completed.  On the first team are Kris Garrett at 145 lbs. and Kole Davis at 195 lbs.  Honorable Mention went to Cody Schuyleman, 145 lbs,; Ian Tamngin, 152 lbs,; Logan Tidd, 160 lbs.; Justice Martinez, 170 lbs.; Armando Juarez, 285 lbs.


Big Nine All-League Basketball

Eight Panthers received all-league honors for the 2013-14 season. 

For the boys Dillon Sugg, a senior, and Gavin Long, a sophomore, were first team selections.  Sugg was second team as a freshmen and first team the last three seasons.  Junior Chase Resch and sophomore Grady Miller received honorable mention.  Sugg and Resch also made the All-defensive team.

Amira Chandler, a second team member a year ago, made the girls first team this year.  On the second team are Ali Sealby, a junior, and Katie Kansky, a senior.  Sophomore Maddi Hallberg received honorable mention.  Both Chandler and Sealby are on the All-defensive team.



Player of the year: Nikhil Lizotte, jr., Davis.

Defensive player of the year: Tyezaeh Walker, so., Davis.

Coach of the year: Eli Juarez, Davis.

FIRST TEAM: Max Jones, jr., Davis; Nick Navarro, so., Davis; Dillon Sugg, sr., Wenatchee; Gavin Long, so., Wenatchee; Cesar Sandoval, so., Moses Lake.

SECOND TEAM: Cody Fernandez, sr., Sunnyside; Leo Palacios, jr., Sunnyside; Austin Backes, jr., Eisenhower; Tyson Karstetter, jr., Moses Lake; Brandon Porter, so., Eastmont; Kai Spencer, sr., Eastmont.

HONORABLE MENTION: Najea Harris, so., Eisenhower; Colton Hinman, sr., Eisenhower; Grady Miller, so., Wenatchee; Chase Resch, jr., Wenatchee; Killion McGinnis, jr., Eastmont.

ALL-DEFENSIVE TEAM:  Nikhil Lizotte, jr., Davis; Sean Sibley, sr., Eastmont; Kai Spencer, sr., Eastmont; Dillon Sugg, sr., Wenatchee; Chase Resch, jr., Wenatchee.



Player of the year: Jessie Loera, so., Moses Lake.

Defensive player of the year: Jessie Loera, so., Moses Lake.

Coach of the year: Rick Puente, Sunnyside.

FIRST TEAM: Alexis Perez, sr., Davis; Alexis Gratton, jr., Davis; Jordan Rodriguez, jr., Sunnyside; Vanessa Alvarez, jr., Sunnyside; Amira Chandler, jr., Wenatchee; McKenna Walker, jr., Moses Lake.

SECOND TEAM: Jennifer Morales, sr., Davis; Payton Greene, jr., Davis; Emilee Maldonado, fr., Sunnyside; Natalia Bazan, jr., Sunnyside; Selena Rubalcava, jr., Sunnyside; Emily Olson, sr., Moses Lake; Ali Sealby, jr., Wenatchee; Katie Kansky, sr., Wenatchee

HONORABLE MENTION: Sydni Billups, jr., Davis; Zara Rodriguez, jr., Eisenhower; Maddi Hallberg, so., Wenatchee; Stephanie Overland, jr., Moses Lake; Savannah Jackson, jr., Eastmont; Carina LeFave, sr., Moses Lake.

ALL-DEFENSIVE TEAM: Alexis Perez, sr., Davis; Vanessa Alvarez, jr., Sunnyside; Amira Chandler, jr., Wenatchee; Ali Sealby, jr., Wenatchee; Carina LeFave, sr., Moses Lake.