Feb 28, 2011
Wash. Basketball Coaches Do Not Like New State Format

Imagine your favorite foods include things like cheeseburgers, tacos and pizza.

If you work as a sportswriter, that doesn’t take a lot of imagination.

Now imagine your doctor says you need to change your ways and start eating things like spinach, broccoli and bran cereal.

You’d probably not be really happy. But you’d also probably realize it’s the right thing to do.

From reading comments of high school basketball players and coaches in Southwest Washington and around the state, you get the impression that their plates are filled with Brussels sprouts and non-fat cottage cheese.

The WIAA implemented a new format for the state’s basketball tournaments this season. In the format, teams in the 16-team state tournaments headed to regionals around the state last weekend.

The purpose of these four-team regionals was to reduce the field to eight teams. Those eight teams head to state tournament sites — 4A and 3A in Tacoma, 2A and 1A in Yakima and 2B and 1B in Spokane.

This new format is not popular with the players and coaches.

“It’s called state, but everyone who is a basketball person knows this isn’t state, Chiawana girls basketball coach Steve Davis told the Tri-City Herald of the Class 4A regional in Richland. I guess we have to jump through the hoops to get over there. We’ll do what they ask us to do.”

Monroe boys basketball coach Nick Wold told the Everett Herald that he hopes the coaches in the state advocate for a change in the state tournament format after his team was one-and-done in the school’s first trip to state in 17 years.

“It’s a travesty that if we’re supposed to be advocating for what’s right for the kids that we’ve turned it into a money issue, Wold said.

Ah, yes, the money issue.

In the current economic climate, there are a lot of tough decisions being made.

State governments are slashing budgets. So are school districts, schools and families.

So when the WIAA adopts a state tournament format that reduces costs and maximizes revenue, I’m not going to say they shouldn’t.

It makes sense that renting a facility like the Tacoma Dome for three days instead of eight days will save money.

But I can still understand the frustration of the players and coaches. Heck, even the state’s media have come out against the format.

That figures. Sports writers have never been big fans of cottage cheese.

But there aspects of this format that can be adjusted to make it more palatable.

One of the least popular aspects of the new format is the idea that for the first time it’s possible for a team to lose a game in the state tournament and still win a state championship.

Some teams can go 4-1 in the state tournament and still win a state title. Other teams must go 5-0 to win a championship.

The easiest solution to this dilemma is to make all first-round games at the regional sites loser-out games. But this won’t be easy for some coaches to swallow.

The other complaint is the regional sites. Some were held at colleges like Bellevue Community College, Spokane Falls Community College or Central Washington University. But most were held on high school campuses, making these state tournament games feel nothing like state tournament games.

To make matters worse, some regional participants played games on their home floor. The Puyallup, Jackson and Tumwater boys teams all played regionals at home. Not coincidentally, all three teams advanced to Final Eight.

Also, because all teams east of the Cascades played at regionals east of the Cascades, it meant some teams from the same qualifying tournament on the west side ended up meeting in the first round at state — something that was avoided in the previous format.

For example, the Curtis boys beat Puyallup on Feb. 19 in the semifinals of the West Central bi-district tournament.

After beating Kentwood the next day for the bi-district title, what was Curtis’ reward? A first-round game at state against Puyallup — at Puyallup High School.

The Prairie girls will open the final-eight portion of the 3A state tournament at the Tacoma Dome on Thursday against Kennedy of Burien — a team the Falcons just beat in the 3A West Central bi-district tournament last Monday.

Again, under the previous format, this wouldn’t happen. Prairie and Kennedy would have been on opposite sides of the state bracket.

WIAA executive director Mike Colbrese has said all of these issues would be discussed and evaluated after this season. And changes to the format are possible for next year.

But it remains unlikely that the WIAA will be returning to the classic 16-team double-elimination tournament of years past. And if there are changes made to the current format, those changes won’t make everyone happy.

In other words, it may be time to develop a taste for Brussels sprouts.

, Wash. Basketball Coaches Do Not Like New State Format

The Columbian (Wash.), Tim Martinez

Imagine your favorite foods include things like cheeseburgers, tacos and pizza.

If you work as a sportswriter, that doesn’t take a lot of imagination.

Now imagine your doctor says you need to change your ways and start eating things like spinach, broccoli and bran cereal.

You’d probably not be really happy. But you’d also probably realize it’s the right thing to do.

From reading comments of high school basketball players and coaches in Southwest Washington and around the state, you get the impression that their plates are filled with Brussels sprouts and non-fat cottage cheese.

The WIAA implemented a new format for the state’s basketball tournaments this season. In the format, teams in the 16-team state tournaments headed to regionals around the state last weekend.

The purpose of these four-team regionals was to reduce the field to eight teams. Those eight teams head to state tournament sites — 4A and 3A in Tacoma, 2A and 1A in Yakima and 2B and 1B in Spokane.

This new format is not popular with the players and coaches.

It’s called state, but everyone who is a basketball person knows this isn’t state, Chiawana girls basketball coach Steve Davis told the Tri-City Herald of the Class 4A regional in Richland. I guess we have to jump through the hoops to get over there. We’ll do what they ask us to do.”

Monroe boys basketball coach Nick Wold told the Everett Herald that he hopes the coaches in the state advocate for a change in the state tournament format after his team was one-and-done in the school’s first trip to state in 17 years.

“It’s a travesty that if we’re supposed to be advocating for what’s right for the kids that we’ve turned it into a money issue, ” Wold said.

Ah, yes, the money issue.

In the current economic climate, there are a lot of tough decisions being made.

State governments are slashing budgets. So are school districts, schools and families.

So when the WIAA adopts a state tournament format that reduces costs and maximizes revenue, I’m not going to say they shouldn’t.

It makes sense that renting a facility like the Tacoma Dome for three days instead of eight days will save money.

But I can still understand the frustration of the players and coaches. Heck, even the state’s media have come out against the format.

That figures. Sports writers have never been big fans of cottage cheese.

But there aspects of this format that can be adjusted to make it more palatable.

One of the least popular aspects of the new format is the idea that for the first time it’s possible for a team to lose a game in the state tournament and still win a state championship.

Some teams can go 4-1 in the state tournament and still win a state title. Other teams must go 5-0 to win a championship.

The easiest solution to this dilemma is to make all first-round games at the regional sites loser-out games. But this won’t be easy for some coaches to swallow.

The other complaint is the regional sites. Some were held at colleges like Bellevue Community College, Spokane Falls Community College or Central Washington University. But most were held on high school campuses, making these state tournament games feel nothing like state tournament games.

To make matters worse, some regional participants played games on their home floor. The Puyallup, Jackson and Tumwater boys teams all played regionals at home. Not coincidentally, all three teams advanced to Final Eight.

Also, because all teams east of the Cascades played at regionals east of the Cascades, it meant some teams from the same qualifying tournament on the west side ended up meeting in the first round at state — something that was avoided in the previous format.

For example, the Curtis boys beat Puyallup on Feb. 19 in the semifinals of the West Central bi-district tournament.

After beating Kentwood the next day for the bi-district title, what was Curtis’ reward? A first-round game at state against Puyallup — at Puyallup High School .

The Prairie girls will open the final-eight portion of the 3A state tournament at the Tacoma Dome on Thursday against Kennedy of Burien — a team the Falcons just beat in the 3A West Central bi-district tournament last Monday.

Again, under the previous format, this wouldn’t happen. Prairie and Kennedy would have been on opposite sides of the state bracket.

WIAA executive director Mike Colbrese has said all of these issues would be discussed and evaluated after this season. And changes to the format are possible for next year.

But it remains unlikely that the WIAA will be returning to the classic 16-team double-elimination tournament of years past. And if there are changes made to the current format, those changes won’t make everyone happy.

In other words, it may be time to develop a taste for Brussels sprouts.






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