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3 Washington high school (WIAA) regional boys basketball games you should not have missed

Top-seeded Mount Spokane notches first-round bye after going toe-to-toe with eighth-seeded Rainier Beach

Rainier Beach isn't your typical No. 8 seed and Mount Spokane knew it coming into its Class 3A regional matchup Saturday night with the Vikings.

The Wildcats squeezed out a 64-61 victory to move right on to the state quarterfinals Thursday in Tacoma.

Getting there was far from easy, though.

"It was a great atmosphere with Rainier Beach coming to Spokane," Mount Spokane coach David Wagenblast said. "There were a lot of people there and that was really fun."

Playing off the electric environment, the Wildcats led by 14 points at one point in the first half, but a Rainier Beach run to close out the half shrunk that down to just four at the break.

Wagenblast said it was a tight game the whole way.

"Maverick Sanders and Ryan Lafferty had two really huge games in regards to guys stepping up and making plays, especially against a really good opponent," he said. "I was really happy for our guys in a fun, loud high school basketball game."

Sanders and Lafferty's big nights were highlighted by a stretch in the fourth quarter where Lafferty hit a corner 3-pointer followed up by a lay-in. Shortly after, Sanders hit a triple at the top of the key to put the Wildcats up six.

"Those three possessions are where Ryan and Mav really stepped up," Wagenblast said.

North Kitsap officially punches ticket to Yakima

The yearly trip to Yakima might not have been made official as early as it has been in past years, but North Kitsap and coach Scott Orness will take it.

With a 58-50 Class 2A regional win over 12th-seeded Sammamish, the 13th-seeded Vikings earned their spot in the SunDome.

North Kitsap's journey back to Yakima for the seventh consecutive year wouldn't be without a little bit of drama, though.

Clinging to a four-point lead in the fourth quarter, the Vikings allowed an 8-0 run from Sammamish.

Suddenly facing a four-point deficit, North Kitsap ended the game on a 14-2 run to hang on for the win.

"I knew this team had a level of toughness – I've seen it throughout the year, but it was just nice to see it consistently come out at the end of the game," Orness said. "Really, it just came down to us going back to our game plan. We went through a little bit of lull. I think we got tired and started making some mental mistakes."

North Kitsap also snapped a two-game skid with the win, one of those losses coming to Sammamish just last weekend.

Cade Orness scored a game-high 23 points, Harry Davies had 15 and Ethan Gillespie added 13 for the Vikings.

"I'm just super proud because we had a couple of slip ups at districts and we were able to get this one and we'll sew what happens when we get there," Scott Orness said.

Seventh-seeded Blaine shocks No. 2 Zillah

Seventh-seeded Blaine made its 200-mile trip to Yakima a memorable one, stunning No. 2 Zillah, 61-58, on Saturday night in the regional round of the Class 1A boys state basketball tournament.

Matthew Russ scored a team-high 19 points before fouling out in the final minute, and Carson Lehnert and Noah Tavis added 10 apiece for the Borderites, who led almost the entire game and answered every Leopard surge.

The victory sends Blaine (16-7) into Thursday’s quarterfinals against the winner of Wednesday’s loser-out game between No. 16 Lakeside of Nine Mile Falls and eighth-seeded Overlake.

Zillah (22-2), which saw its 20-game winning streak end, will have to beat No. 10 Seattle Academy on Wednesday to stave off elimination.

The Leopards trailed 17-9 after the first quarter but were able to whittle down the deficit to two – 26-24 – at the intermission.

Standout senior Luke Navarre, who was named the WIBCA Class 1A Player of the Year earlier this week, shrugged off early struggles to score seven straight points to give Zillah a 37-34 lead midway through the third quarter.

Blaine, however, battled back and pulled ahead 41-40 heading into the fourth quarter.

Tavis scored five consecutive points – including one of his two 3-pointers in the fourth – to give the Borderites a 46-40 edge.

With Russ adding several nice drives to the hoop, Zillah would get no closer than four points the rest of the way.

Navarre finished with a game-high 25 points for the Leopards, who uncharacteristically missed several point-blank shots in the first half