After over 15 hours of basketball, I'm back at the Tacoma Dome for some more action today. Before the boy's semifinals action begins, here are some of my thoughts and observations from Thursdays' 4A and 3A quarterfinals games. Read it all after the jump.
- Rainier Beach is back to form. The state powerhouse didn't even make the tournament last year, and were bounced in the second round in both 2010 and 2009. This team has gotten into the habit of imploding during March, but this year they look poised to win a championship as a result of having a dependable offensive option in Anrio Adams.
- Josh Martin could be the top prospect in the state in the Class of 2014. His one-handed fast break slam was the most impressive play in all eight games on Thursday. I talked with some players that played with him on Friends of Hoop last summer and they noted that he might be the most athletic big guy they've ever seen or played with.
- Union High School is a fun team to watch. After every made basket, the team employs a full court press — and this continues all game long. Along with full court pressing, the team also tries to get shots off as soon as possible in the half court. The majority of the shots will come within the first ten seconds of the shot clock, and they usually look rushed, but this style of play has brought the team all the way to the 4A state semifinals.
- How about those schools out East? University, Central Valley, Kamiakin and Davis all scored wins. Most people on the west side of the state only see these teams once a year in the Tacoma Dome. All schools had respectable contigents of fans in attendance. I can only imagine these crowds growing as Davis and Central Valley have a chance to meet in the 4A finals. Davis was the best team I saw all day, they moved the ball with urgency and played alert and avoided turning the ball over.
- Bothell deserves some kudos. Even though they dropped a 79-45 game to Davis, to go from a four-win season to the quarterfinals of the state tournament is a ridiculously awesome turnaround. This team will be back in Tacoma next year, especially with the talent they have in Zach Lavine and Perrion Callandret.
- Want to see a smooth shooter not named Zach Lavine? Check out University's Brett Bailey. The junior guard has already committed to San Diego and looks college ready. He has great elevation, form and can also create his own shot off the dribble.
- Garfield's Tucker Haymond does it all. He can score both inside and outside, he can dish to his teammates and he is strong enough to pull down several rebounds. He'll be a triple-double threat all year long during his senior season next year. He currently has an offer from Western Michigan, but I expect some more rolling in during the summer time.
- Bellarmine Prep is going to win a state championship. If not this year, next year. Guard Isaiah Flynn and forwards Sefo Liufau and Lucas Meikle are all juniors. All three of them are going to go D1 in either basketball or football. Their talent combined with the coaching of Bernie Salazar is a recipe for success.
- I tweeted this out earlier, but Matt Staudacher from Lake Washington is one of the state's top point guards. Him, O'Dea's Jalen Ward and Davis' David Trimble all consistently make the right play. These guys are unselfish, which is why their teams have made it this far.