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Washington (WIAA) 3A high school boys basketball state tournament: 2024 predictions, top players

Two top-eight upsets in regional round last weekend have field wide open in Tacoma

After four grueling days of basketball at the Tacoma Dome this week, somebody will be dancing with the big WIAA gold ball Saturday night.

Garfield returns as the defending state champion, but a host of contending hopefuls are waiting for their shot.

Here are SBLive WA's teams and players to watch, and round-by-round predictions — complete with a championship-game pick.


2023-24 Washington boys basketball, regionals: North Central vs. Auburn


(Wednesday first-round games in Tacoma)

G1: No. 11 Arlington (19-6) vs. No. 3 Garfield (15-6), 9 a.m. (Winner plays No. 4 O'Dea (18-9) at 9 a.m. Thursday)

G2: No. 10 Rainier Beach (14-10) vs. No. 7 North Thurston (20-5), 10:30 a.m. (Winner plays No. 8 North Central (19-5) at 10:30 a.m. Thursday)

G3: No. 13 Todd Beamer (19-4) vs. No. 5 Mountlake Terrace (21-3), 12:15 p.m. (Winner plays No. 6 Mount Spokane (20-4) at 12:15 p.m. Thursday)

G4: No. 17 Lincoln of Tacoma (20-5) vs. No. 1 Auburn (24-2), 2 p.m. (Winner plays No. 2 Eastside Catholic (20-6) at 2 p.m. Thursday)

Semifinals Friday: 3:45 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

Championship game Saturday: 7 p.m.

FAVORITE: Eastside Catholic

Tough road ahead with the Nos. 1, 2, 5 and 6 seeds all on the same side of the bracket, but second-seeded Crusaders have played state-caliber competition all season. 3A District 2 champions have already seen seven teams still playing in state brackets at the 4A, 3A and 2A levels, and are 9-4 in those contests.


Ray Adams, North Thurston boys basketball, class of 2024


F Ray Adams, North Thurston, sr. (18.7 ppg, 12 rpg, 2.4 apg, 2.6 steals, 3 blocks)

F Jacob Cofie, Eastside Catholic, sr. (23.5 ppg, 12 rpg, 5.9 apg, 3 blocks)

G Ryan Lafferty, Mount Spokane, sr. (20 ppg, 7 rpg, 5 apg, 2 steals)

G Jaylen Petty, Auburn, jr. (26 ppg, 4 rpg, 3.3 apg, 2.7 steals)

G Legend Smiley, Garfield, jr. (23 ppg, 4 rpg, 3 apg, 1.5 steals)

PLAYER TO WATCH: Jacob Cofie, Eastside Catholic

Crusaders’ 6-foot-10 forward can take over a game in a hurry at both ends of the court. Four-star senior signed with Virginia in November.


2022-23 Hardwood Classic 3A boys championship: Garfield-O'Dea


First-round picks:

Garfield over Arlington

Rainier Beach over North Thurston

Mountlake Terrace over Todd Beamer

Auburn over Lincoln of Tacoma

Quarterfinal picks:

Garfield over O’Dea

North Central over Rainier Beach

Mount Spokane over Mountlake Terrace

Eastside Catholic over Auburn

Semifinal picks:

Garfield over North Central

Eastside Catholic over Mount Spokane

Championship pick:

Eastside Catholic 66, Garfield 64