4A basketball regional previews
Arlington vs. Bellarmine Prep
When: Saturday, 4 p.m.
Where: Puyallup H.S.
Records: Arlington 20-3 (Wesco 4A North first, District 1 runner-up); Bellarmine Prep 16-6 (Narrows 4A first, District 3/4 runner-up).
Final AP rankings: Arlington 11th; Bellarmine Prep 14th
Breakdown: Led by a pair of strong forwards, Bellarmine Prep comes into the regional round of the state tournament with a record of 16-8 after falling to Curtis 53-29 in the West Central District 4A boys championship Monday night. The Narrows League champion's biggest -- literally -- weapon is 6-foot-8 senior Lucas Meikle, a center who has committed to Gonzaga University. Along with Meikle, the Bellarmine Prep basketball team has forward Sefo Liufau -- the quarterback of the Lions' football team who is receiving interest from college programs -- a rebounding machine down low. Liufau had 24 points and 15 rebounds in a 75-54 win over Snohomish in last year's regionals. Bellarmine Prep moved on to the state tournament where it finished fifth. Arlington is in regionals for the first time since 2011. The Eagles (20-3) lost to Jackson 58-42 in the district championship game despite 19 points from Wesco North 4A leading scorer Terry Dawn (18.8 points per game). Noah Jones (11.8 ppg) is a strong rebounding presence for Arlington in the post
Key players: Bellarmine Prep--Lucas Meikle, C, Sr., Sefo Liufau, F, Sr., Isaiah Flynn, G, Sr. Arlington--Terry Dawn, G/F, Sr., Noah Jones, F, Jr., Kaleb Bryson, G, Jr.
Arlington will win if ... if it can contain Bell Prep's big men and stay loose and not the let the moment get too big for them.
Jackson vs. Auburn
When: Saturday, 6 p.m.
Where: Jackson H.S.
Records: Jackson 23-0 (Wesco 4A South first, District 1 champs); Auburn 16-9 (South Puget Sound League 4A North second, District 3/4 sixth place).
Final AP rankings: Jackson 3rd; Auburn NR
Breakdown: The Timberwolves come into the game as the only undefeated 4A team in the state after breezing through the district 1 tournament. Jackson defeated Arlington for a second time this season to secure its third straight district championship. The Timberwolves have three players in Jason Todd, Brian Zehr and Dan Kingma who are dynamic scorers and have led the way offensively this season. Auburn comes into the game with a record of 16-9 and are coming off of back-to-back one-point victories over Federal Way and Jefferson to keep its season alive and qualify for the regional round.
Key players: Auburn--Harold Lee, G, Sr., Spencer Fisher, P, Sr., J.J. Ruffin, G, Jr., Rio Paul, W, Jr. Jackson--Jason Todd, F, Jr., Brian Zehr, F, Jr., Dan Kingma, G, Jr., Conner Willgress, G, Jr.
Jackson will win if ... it just keeps doing what it's been doing: Todd, Zehr and Kingma score in heavy doses, Kyle Graff hits some big shots and Conner Willgress plays lock-down defense.
Radio: KRKO (1380 AM)
Arlington vs. Beamer
When: Friday, 6 p.m.
Where: Puyallup H.S.
Records: Arlington 19-4 (Wesco 4A North first, District 1 runner-up); Beamer 20-5 (SPSL 4A South first, District 3/4 runner-up)
Final AP rankings: Arlington 9th; Beamer 8th
Breakdown: Todd Beamer (20-5) won its first-ever South Puget Sound League South title this year despite starting four freshmen. Led by junior Megan Huff who averages 14.5 points per game, the Titans average about 56 points a contest, thanks to four players who average double digits in scoring. Todd Beamer likes to start games quickly, outscoring opponents by 154 points in the first quarter (372-218). After a 51-33 loss to top-ranked 4A team Mount Rainier in the Class 4A West Central/Southwest District championship game, the Lions will face Arlington, the No. 2 team from District 1. The Eagles have a mix of six seniors, four freshmen, one sophomore and one junior. Senior forward Lindsay Brown is averaging 12.6 points for Arlington and fellow senior Krista Showalter adds 10.1 points per contest. Arlington will need Jayla Russ and Lyndsay Leatherman to step up in the absence of Ronnie Ladines, who broke her wrist during the district tournament.
Key players: Todd Beamer--Megan Huff, P, Jr., Quinessa Caylao-Do, G, Fr., Bria Rice, G, Fr., Nia Alexander, W, Fr. Arlington--Lindsay Brown, F, Sr., Krista Showalter, G, Sr., Winter Brown, G, Sr., Jayla Russ, P, Fr.
Arlington will win if ... if it can play strong, aggressive defense and take advantage of Beamer's inexperience.
Lynnwood vs. Kentwood
When: Friday, 8 p.m.
Where: Jackson H.S.
Records: Lynnwood 22-1 (Wesco 4A South first, District 1 champ); Kentwood 18-6 (SPSL 4A North third, District 3/4 sixth)
Final AP rankings: Lynnwood 4th; Kentwood NR
Breakdown: Lynnwood comes into the game with just one loss all season, a regular-season defeat at the hands of Monroe, which the Royals avenged in the opening round of the 4A district 1 tournament. The Royals went on to win the district championship pulling away from Arlington for a 61-49 win in the championship in what was a very competitive game for three quarters. Kentwood comes into the game with a record of 18-7. One of those losses is to Lake Stevens, who defeated the Conquerors 65-47 early in the season. Kentwood has lost to No. 1-ranked Mount Rainier twice, once by 27 and the other by just two.
Key players: Kentwood--Sarah Toeaina, G, So., Kate Kramer, F, So., Jenny Johnson, F, So., Kylee Ashlee, F, Jr. Lynnwood--Jasmin Edwards, G, Jr., Jordyn Edwards, W, Fr., Mikayla Pivec, W, Fr., Arsenia Ivanov, W, Sr.
Lynnwood will win if ... it relies on its speed and defense to create offensive opportunities.
Lake Stevens vs. Davis
When: Friday, 8 p.m.
Where: Wenatchee H.S.
Records: Lake Stevens 18-7 (Wesco 4A North second, District 1 third); Davis 13-9 (Columbia Basin Big Nine second, District 6 champ)
Final AP rankings: Lake Stevens NR; Davis NR
Breakdown: Last season Lake Stevens won a district championship and got a brutal regional opponent in eventual champ Skyview. This year the Vikings may have done it the right way. Lake Stevens is the District 1/2 No. 5 seed and have to hit the road to play District 6 champ Davis in Wenatchee. But the Pirates are 13-9 and didn't even win their league, finishing behind Moses Lake in a mediocre CBBN. That said Davis is no pushover. The Pirates' first-team all-league guard Alexis Perez is a threat on the offensive and defensive ends (Perez was voted to the CBBN's all-defensive team). Another Alexis, sophomore Alexis Gratton, and sophomore Katie Fowler round out a strong trio of guards. One thing Davis doesn't have is size. Forward Jenny Morales is the only player over 5-foot-8. The Vikings, meanwhile, have five players over 5-8, including Kali Long and Emily Vandegrift.
Key players: Davis--Alexis Perez, G, Jr., Alexis Gratton, G, So., Katie Fowler, G, So., Jenny Morales, F, Jr. Lake Stevens--Brooke Pahukoa, G, Sr.; Brittney Pahukoa, G, Sr.; Kali Long, F, Jr.; Emily Vandegrift, F, So.
Lake Stevens will win if ... the Pahukoa sisters stay out of foul trouble, do their normal damage on the offensive end and control Perez, and it gets solid contributions from a maturing supporting cast.
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