The mammoth Northwest Conference just completed its 11th year in existence. It has always been the home to either 13 or 14 schools, and has always included the 1A, 2A and 3A classifications.
Mt. Vernon was one of the charter members, and Lakewood is the latest to join the conference, having been picked up as a free-agent from the Cascade Conference last summer.
The basketball history of the NWC speaks for itself. But I’ll put some numbers in its mouth to boast a little bit. The success of the teams of the NWC is a tradition that was started by the Whatcom County League, and the Northwest League, over the previous four decades.
If you have been around the Northwest Conference for all 11 seasons, you can probably tell which teams have been the most successful in the league over that time. But, let’s put the numbers to work.
Lynden and Squalicum have the league’s best records over the last 11 seasons. How close are they? Pretty close. In NWC games only, they each have a record of 111 wins and 27 losses.
If you nailed the top two, then number three should be easy.
The Anacortes Seahawks have the third best record in the NWC over the last 11 seasons. The Seahawks are 95-43. Here is the complete list:
In smaller doses, over the last six seasons, Lynden has a league best record of 64-9. Anacortes is right behind at 62-11. Lynden Christian comes in third at 54-20, and Squalicum is 53-20.
Over the last four seasons, it’s Anacortes at 41-7, and Lynden at 40-8. In the last three years, the Seahawks and Lions are tied at 31-5. And, in the last two seasons, it’s Anacortes 22-2, Lynden 21-3, Squalicum 20-4, and Lynden Christian 20-5.
In 11 years, there have been seven outright league champions. Lynden leads with four, followed by Squalicum and Anacortes with two each. The Lions and Storm also have two shared titles to their credit, as does Burlington-Edison. Sehome and Lynden Christian also have had a share of the NWC title.
(When I say a “shared” title, that means that two teams finished with the same record. No tiebreakers included).
Who has the longest winning streak in the history of the NWC? You might get the team, but you may be surprised at the number. Stop, take a breath, and ponder for a minute…
Over three seasons from 07-08 through 09-10, Squalicum won two NWC titles, and split one with Burlington. The Storm won their last eight league games in 2008, then went undefeated (13-0) in 2009 and (13-0) 2010. That’s 36 in a row, folks!
To carry it out a little farther, the Storm lost their first league game of the following season to Lynden Christian, by two points. Then they dropped a 6-pointer to the Tigers. After that, they reeled off another ten straight wins. That’s a 46-2 record over most of four seasons.
Lynden has the next longest winning streak. The Lions won 20 straight that spread over three seasons. It started near the end of the 2011-12 season, and went into 2013-14.
Currently, Anacortes owns the third longest winning streak, which stands at 16. The Seahawks won their last four league games in 2015-16, and went 12-0 this year.
Lynden also won 14 straight by going 13-0 in 2006-07, and getting another win in their first game of 07-08.
Though official records aren’t kept, the Concession Stand at Meridian just completed their second straight undefeated season. It’s more of a club sport, so there is no post-season, which is too bad. They had a “rice & chicken teriyaki” dish there this year that was to die for! I may go there next year, just for dinner.
Because the teams of the NWC split into three different district tournament classifications, it’s hard to put numbers on their district success. Not only are there different classification levels, but the 1A’s even have to negotiate a second layer by getting through their Bi-District tournament.
After that, we come to the regional round. That’s the final filter before the coveted state tournament. Some refer to regionals as “state.” I choose not to. State, is, and will always be, the tournament where the dome is.
Since regional play became a part of the process in 2011, the 2A teams of the NWC have been quite successful. Five NWC teams have combined to go 13-3 in regional games.
Anacortes is 4-0 in regional games. I know what you’re thinking, Anacortes. I’m merely pointing out your successes. It’s not like I’m talking about a no-hitter in the middle innings!
Lynden has a 4-1 record in regional games. Rounding out the field is Burlington at 2-0, Squalicum is 2-1, and Sehome is 1-1.
The 1A schools are a combined 4-3 in regional games, led by LC’s 3-2.
In the last 11 years, Lynden Christian is the only NWC 1A team with a state championship. That was in 2012. The Lyncs also finished second in 2015. Meridian got to the state championship game in 2010, and came home with second place that year.
The 2A state tournaments have been dominated by the NWC and the Great Northern League. The GNL owns the last four state titles. Two by Pullman, and the last two belong to Clarkston. The Greyhounds are in the regional field this year, but the Bantams have been eliminated.
The NWC earned championships four times in the last ten tournaments, with Squalicum and Lynden each winning two. The Storm and the Lions also have a second place finish during that time. Burlington finished second three times, and Anacortes has been there twice. In all, there have been 20 teams competing in the last ten championship games. Eleven of those teams belong to the Northwest Conference.
Until last season when Clarkston beat Shorecrest in the championship game, the NWC had at least one team in the finals for nine consecutive years.
It’s difficult to be a 3A team in this area, simply because of the lack of 3A teams in this area. Even with the highly competitive level of our own 1A and 2A teams, it’s not enough to propel our 3A’s to the top of the state. Especially when Seattle’s Metro League is in the 3A classification. Generally, Rainier Beach and Garfield don’t let anyone else touch the 3A Gold Ball. Metro teams have won 12 of the last 14 3A championships.
This year, Nathan Hale, also of the Metro League, is considered the best high school basketball team in the country.
But, I have always said, if you are a 1A or 2A team in the NWC, and are competing for a league championship, then, ipso facto, you are competing for a state championship.
State Basketball - What you need to know
Dec 7, 2016 10:09 PM
by Ted House
As we pick up our story, you will remember that all the
district tournaments have been completed. There are now 16 teams
left in each classification who are on their way to the regional
round. The teams that remain all have an RPI score that has been
following their progress all season. They will be placed in order
from 1-16. And now, back to our story…
As we pick up our story, you will remember that all the district tournaments have been completed. There are now 16 teams left in each classification who are on their way to the regional round. The teams that remain all have an RPI score that has been following their progress all season. They will be placed in order from 1-16. And now, back to our story…
Previous years of regional rounds have been loser out games, with the eight winners advancing to the three-day state tournament. This year, however, 12 teams will advance from regionals to state. This means that if you don’t get to the tournament until Thursday, you will be one day late. State tournaments for all classifications will begin on March 1, 2017, at their usual venues.
If your seed lands you in the top eight, then congratulations, you have qualified for the state tournament! Seeds 1-8 will play a regional game on the weekend prior to the state tournament, but it is not a loser out game. Those eight teams go to state.
In the regional round, the match-ups between the top-8 teams are: #1 vs. #8; #2 vs. #7; #3 vs. #6; #4 vs. #5.
The difference is, the winners of those games will have a first round bye, and not play their first state game until Thursday. The losers of those games will play on Wednesday of the state tournament.
But who will they play, you ask?
While the top eight automatically go to state, seeds 9-16 will also play each other. Here are those match-ups: #9 vs. #16; #10 vs. #15; #11 vs. #14; #12 vs. #13.
The losers of those games are out, and the winners advance to the Wednesday games of the state tournament. They will play the losers of the games between the 1-8 seeds. The Wednesday games at the state tournament will also be loser out games. Once Wednesday is complete, the rest of the tournament will be the same as it has been the last few years. It will be double-elimination over the next three days, with six teams taking home trophies.
The previous “draw system” used by the WIAA, was not used to separate the perceived top teams, only district champions. It did work to keep familiar teams from playing each other early in the tournament. There were also efforts to limit travel. In order to implement the new RPI and seeding system, familiarity and travel have been sacrificed.
With opponents for regional games determined by seed number, the matchups are set going in. Therefore, it is possible that in a regional game, you could play a team from your own league or district because where ever the seeds fall, that is what you get. You could play a familiar team, or you may have a long trip ahead of you.
Let’s say that Sehome and Anacortes have played once in league. They meet again in the district tournament, and both qualify for state. When the RPI’s for all teams are put in order, it just so happens that Sehome is the #3 seed, and Anacortes is the #6 seed. That means that they will meet in the regional round, since #3 will play #6, no matter who it is. But, both teams are in the top eight, so they will both go to state. The winner will get the first round bye, while the other will play a loser-out game on Wednesday.
Scenarios like that could very well happen. It could also happen that a team from one corner of the state could have to travel to the opposite corner, to play a loser-out regional game.
This system has been put in place to avoid things like what happened in the 1A boys post-season last year. Lynden Christian had to make a trip east to play Zillah, on what was basically their home floor, for a loser out game. Zillah then had to turn around and play Kings in the first round of the state tournament. Those happened to be the top three teams in the rankings all season. They, no doubt, were the best three teams in the state. Kings won the state championship, and after beating Zillah in the first round, their margin of victory grew each day.
This system is the first of its kind at the state level. While it is first being offered to one of the most popular sports, it is also a prototype for the future. The WIAA hopes to use the system in all team sports next year, with the ability to make alterations, to make it fit each sport.
So, try not to get the two RPI systems confused! Our 2A schools from district 1 & 2 will have an RPI system for all league games to seed teams into the district tournament. The State RPI system will be used for all classifications and all regular season games (league and non-league), to seed teams for play in state tournaments.
And you thought your high school calculus class would never come in handy!
State RPI - What you need to know
Dec 14, 2016 7:21 PM
by Ted House
The WIAA has made further changes to its state basketball
tournaments, beginning with the 2017 version.
The changes begin with a new RPI system, which will be used to
seed the 16 finalists once district tournaments have been
completed. The RPI system is being used to try to avoid
circumstances in which the top teams in the state play each other
too early in the tournament.
The RPI system will score each team using three layers:
1. Team win-loss percentage, worth 25 percent.
2. Win-loss percentage of a team’s opponents, worth 50
3. Win-loss percentage of the opponents of a team’s opponents,
worth 25 percent.
The WIAA has made further changes to its state basketball tournaments, beginning with the 2017 version.
The changes begin with a new RPI system, which will be used to seed the 16 finalists once district tournaments have been completed. The RPI system is being used to try to avoid circumstances in which the top teams in the state play each other too early in the tournament.
The RPI system will score each team using three layers:
1. Team win-loss percentage, worth 25 percent.
2. Win-loss percentage of a team’s opponents, worth 50 percent.
3. Win-loss percentage of the opponents of a team’s opponents, worth 25 percent.
In my “attempt” to explain this a little more clearly, number one is easy. Your winning percentage for the regular season is worth a quarter of your final score.
The second layer means that you have to find the winning percentage of every team that you have played during the regular season. Then you take the average of all those winning percentages. That’s worth another 50 percent of your total score.
Explaining the final 25 percent is proven to give headaches, so read on with caution.
Let’s say your team plays 20 regular season games (your opponents). Each of those teams will play 20 games (the opponents of your opponents). You need to find the winning percentage of the opponents of all your opponents.
For example, Blaine plays 20 games. Their winning percentage is part 1. They have opponents like Nooksack, Anacortes, Port Townsend, etc. All those teams will have a winning percentage. That’s part 2.
For part 3, let’s take Blaine’s opponents, one at a time. Nooksack, for one, will have 20 opponents. All of those teams will have a winning percentage. Now, do that for every team that Blaine plays, put them all together, and that will be the winning percentage of Blaine’s opponents-opponents.
The State RPI does not add points for beating a team in a higher classification. Games against teams from out of the state will be treated as teams with a .500 record.
The WIAA will make their standings public beginning in early January, and updating it each week. I don’t know if it will be just a top 16, or if they will publish each full classification. This poll, like every other poll, won’t matter during the regular season. The WIAA wants you to be able to see how teams fluctuate along the way. And, as always, there will be highly ranked teams that get knocked out in their district tournaments.
Once the 16 state qualifiers for each classification are known, the RPI will seed teams from 1 to 16, which will dictate the match-ups for the regional round of the state tournament.
For more on how seeding by RPI relates to regional games and the state tournament, please see the next article titled, “State Basketball – What you need to know.” It will be available later this week.
NWC Boys - Regional Preview
Feb 24, 2017 5:37 AM
The famed Mt. Vernon High School gym will host
the maximum of eight regional games this weekend.Here is a short preview of the
Northwest Conference opponents in the regional
Bellevue finished tied with Mercer Island for first place in the 2A/3A KingCo League. They earned the 16-seed by defeating Kamiakin on Tuesday.Just to connect the dots of some common opponents, Bellevue finished one game ahead of 2A Liberty, a 2-OT loser to Lynden in the 2A district tournament.Kamiakin defeated Lynden, 47-46, in the SunDome in December.
The Wolverines went to state in 1982, but didn’t qualify again until 2007. Since then, they have made seven trips to state in ten years.Their highest finish was second place in 2011.
Bellevue’s top four scorers are all underclassmen. Andrew Kenny, 6-5 junior, 15ppg;Hunter Hanson, 6-4 soph, 12ppg; Jalen Love, 5-11 soph, 9ppg; Spencer Birkeland,, 5-11 junior, 8ppg.
The Wolverines have already played six post-season games.
Saturday, February 25, 10:00am, Mt. Vernon High School
2A Boys - Loser to first round, winner to quarterfinals.
The Wolves finished second to Selah in both the CWAC league standings, and in the CWAC league tournament. Normally a “Blodgett Factory,” the Wolves leading scorer is Hunter Jacob, 6-0 senior, at 23ppg.
Wapato’s highest state finish was second place to Blaine in 2000. They were fifth in 2001, then lost in the regional round five straight years from 2011-15.They qualified for state last year, but did not place.
The Wolves biggest win this season was a 92-87 non-league victory over Zillah (1A-#3 seed), for the Leopards only loss of the season.
Saturday, February 25, 12:00pm, Mt. Vernon High School
1A Boys - Loser to first round, winner to quarterfinals.
(#7) Warden (11-3 / 17-6) vs. (#2) Lynden Christian (9-4 / 19-5).
The Cougars finished second in the SCAC East, and they did not play any team above the 1A classification. They lost to Zillah in the district semifinals, 92-77.They qualified with a win over Connell in their district loser out game.
Saturday, February 25, 4:00pm, Mt. Vernon High School
2A Boys - Loser to first round, winner to quarterfinals.
The Trojans finished second in the Olympic League, two games behind North Kitsap, even though they beat the Vikings in their last regular season game. They have some size, and their big guys can attack the basket.They are led by 6-5 junior, Keaton Dean; 6-5 senior, Tyler Yost; 6-1 senior, JR Nelson; and 6-2 junior, Jaiden Mosley.
Olympic finished sixth in 2013, and did not qualify last year. They own one 2A state title (1983).
The rest of the schedule for the MVHS gym looks like this:
Friday, 8:00pm – 1B Boys
(#5) Yakama Tribal vs. (#4) Lummi Nation
Saturday, 2:00pm – 1A Girls
(#7) La Center vs. (#2) Lynden Christian
Saturday, 6:00pm – 2A Girls
(#5) Burlington-Edison vs. (#4) Lynden
Saturday, 8:00pm – 2B Girls
(#14) Walla Walla Academy vs. La Conner
District Tourney Wrap
Feb 19, 2017 12:31 PM
By Ted House
The 2A boy’s district tournament was the most balanced in
years. I thought it would be like pouring gasoline too fast into a
small funnel. You spill all over the place. That’s what this
tourney did. We spilled really good teams all over the place.
Going in, I thought Anacortes was the team to beat, and then no
less than six teams with a good shot at the final two spots. None
of which would have been a surprise to grab them.
The 2A boy’s district tournament was the most balanced in years. I thought it would be like pouring gasoline too fast into a small funnel. You spill all over the place. That’s what this tourney did. We spilled really good teams all over the place.
Going in, I thought Anacortes was the team to beat, and then no less than six teams with a good shot at the final two spots. None of which would have been a surprise to grab them.
As it turned out, Anacortes did take the district title, giving them two in the last three years. They got a 10-point win over Mountlake Terrace in the championship game.
Lynden, who had the most work to do in an overloaded consolation bracket, survived three loser-out games to take third. They got revenge on a first round home loss to Bellingham, by defeating the Red Raiders, 62-46 in the game for 3rd place.
As the consolation bracket began to fill in with teams like Sehome, Archbishop Murphy, Bellingham, Liberty and Lynden, there was no way to pick a winner. Sehome was knocked out by ATM by a single point. The athleticism of the Wildcat team was simply, “off the charts.”
Then we had Thursday’s events that no one who was there will soon forget.
The night started with Lynden’s “instant classic” win over Liberty, 84-81 in double-overtime. And, if that wasn’t enough, Bellingham took out ATM with win in the last second, 80-78.
That set up the rematch of the first round game in which Bellingham knocked off Lynden 62-58, giving the Lions their only home loss of the season. The game for third place was the third time the two teams had met in 16 days.
In Saturday’s game, the Red Raiders picked up where they left off against the Lions, riding a big second quarter, which included a 14-0 run, to take a 30-20 halftime lead. However, trailing by nine points at the 6-minute mark of the third quarter, the Lions scored 22 straight to take control. They outscored Bellingham 25-4 in the third quarter, eventually winning 62-46.
The District 1/2 tournament was certainly bitten by the allocation bug this season. This would have been a(nother) great year to send four teams to the next round. (Or five, or six)!
How did the “District RPI” do, you ask? Well, the AD’s came up with a great scoring system, in my opinion. The top three seeds going in to district ended up in the top three spots. The only difference was Mountlake Terrace flip-flopping with Lynden, but they were only separated by an eyelash to begin with.
The girls 2A tournament also followed the district RPI. The top three teams going in, ended up as the top three in exact order at the end.
Did you know? The Lynden boys and girls teams won district tournament games on consecutive days by the same score, 71-37.
Here’s where you need to pay attention:
The STATE RPI ended at the end of the regular season, and every team in every classification earned an RPI number in a class-wide standings. Once ALL 16 teams qualify for state, those teams will be ranked 1-16. Best RPI remaining gets the #1 seed, the lowest gets #16.
At the end of the regular season, Lynden had the state’s #2 RPI, behind #1 Clarkston. Anacortes was #3. (NWC power)!
However, Clarkston, the two-time defending champion, was eliminated by Prosser in a cross-over game, lifting Lynden and Anacortes up to the #1 and #2 seeds, respectively.
My “fly-in-the-ointment” team, Foss, who’s RPI was dented by out of state games and opponents winning percentage, finished #20 in the state RPI. After some teams in front of them were eliminated, Foss will be the state’s #13 seed. That means that they will have to win their loser-out regional game, and a loser-out game on the first day of the state tournament.
Mountlake Terrace will be the #14 seed.
Because of the state RPI, some district tournaments do not play games for places if teams have already qualified for state. I really hope this idea doesn’t. True, there are “technically” meaningless games, as far as seeding goes. A district might have five allocations to state, but won’t play for the top four places once those teams have qualified. They only play the game for fifth. Those top four teams will be seeded by state RPI, and place in your district tournament has no bearing on it. By doing this, it creates quite a gap between district and regional games for those teams.
This is not a wide-spread happening. And I don’t see it coming to our area. With the fan support for district tournaments at Mt. Vernon and Mountlake Terrace, that would be a lot of gate receipts out the window!
I thought Squalicum had a good shot at getting through the Wesco tournament, and they did! Damek Mitchell has been orchestrating varsity wins for four years, with a basketball in one hand, and conductor’s baton in the other. The Storm beat Everett 60-44 in their WTS/LO game.
Squalicum had the 3A state’s 11th best RPI, and will have the #9 seed. They will be the host team for their regional game. Their opponent will not be known until Tuesday, but appears to be either Bellevue or Edmonds-Woodway.
The Lynden Christian boys are now 4-0 in the post-season, after district and bi-district titles. The Lyncs finished the regular season with the state’s #2 RPI for 1A, and that’s the same seed they will take to regionals. They Lyncs will play host to #7-seed, Warden.
The Mt. Baker boys were not so fortunate. They could not stay with the Kispert-less Kings Knights in their WTS/LO game.
The Northwest School, champions of the Emerald City League, took 2nd in the Bi-District tournament. I think this tournament is screaming for one more game to be played, to make it true.
The Lyncs and Lions boys and girls teams will host regional games. The two venues provided for 1A and 2A games in District 1 are Mt. Vernon and Mountlake Terrace high schools. Based on history and WIAA guidelines, the WIAA likes to put boys and girls teams from the same school together, when it’s possible. Without it being official yet, I will leave you to put two-and-two together.
Here are the official regional match-ups for Northwest Conference teams. Day, time and place will be announced later on Sunday.
Warden vs. Lynden Christian (both to state)
Olympic vs. Lynden (both to state)
Warden vs. Anacortes (both to state)
Bellevue/Edmonds-Woodway vs. Squalicum (loser out)
La Center vs. Lynden Christian (both to state)
Mt. Baker vs. Cashmere (both to state)
Meridian vs. Seattle Academy (loser out)
Burlington-Edison vs. Lynden (both to state)
Kickoff the Post-Season
Feb 5, 2017 5:13 PM
by Ted House
This could go several different ways. By simply reading this,
you may experience a headache. You might find some valuable
information that you have been wondering about. You may also be
entertained. If this blog was an RPI, I’d say 25% information / 50%
headache / 25% entertainment. But I am willing to tweak the numbers
as the seasons go along.
This could go several different ways. By simply reading this, you may experience a headache. You might find some valuable information that you have been wondering about. You may also be entertained. If this blog was an RPI, I’d say 25% information / 50% headache / 25% entertainment. But I am willing to tweak the numbers as the seasons go along.
Who’s hot? Wow! Who isn’t? As the 1A regular season is complete, and the rest of the league finishes up Monday (pending snowfall) and Tuesday, the NWC has five teams that have lost five games or less this season. I have always said that if you are a 1A or a 2A member of the NWC, and you are challenging for the league title, then ipso facto, you are a state title contender.
Anacortes has wrapped up the NWC title for the second time in the last four seasons, and carry a 12-0 record into senior night against Squalicum. Ten of their 12 conference wins have been by 11 or more points. The other two were an eight-point win over Lynden, in a game in which they trailed by eight points with four minutes left. And a recent one-point overtime win over Lynden Christian. The Seahawks will be the #1 seed in the 2A district tournament. They are trying to become the fifth team in the 11 year history of the NWC to complete an undefeated league season.
Mt. Baker has made as much noise as anyone lately. The Mountaineers have won eight of their last ten games, including their last three games over Lynden Christian, Lynden and Sehome. With that, they have earned the top seed from the NWC to the 1A District 1 tournament. The Lyncs will be the #2 seed.
Don’t forget Meridian! After a 0-5 league start, the Trojans won five of their last eight NWC games to take the #3 seed to the 1A tournament. They finished their league schedule with a two-point win over Squalicum, and a 1-pointer over Burlington-Edison.
Anacortes is currently on an 11 game winning streak. Lynden had a ten-gamer until the loss to Mt. Baker. Lynden Christian started the season 9-0. Bellingham had a nine game win streak this season, and Squalicum had an eight game winning streak.
Mt. Baker, Lynden Christian and Meridian take on the top three teams from the Cascade Conference in the 1A District Tournament, which has just been changed from Monday to Tuesday because of weather problems. Mt. Baker awaits the winner of Meridian-Cedar Park Christian, while the South Whidbey-Lynden Christian winner goes to Kings. Those second round games are now on Wednesday. Four of the six advance to the Bi-District Tournament.
In the 1A tournament, one thing to watch will be the availability of Kings’ Gonzaga-bound forward, Corey Kispert. Kispert has missed several games recently due to injury. He did not play in their last regular season game, against South Whidbey. (At least, he wasn’t in the box score).
Squalicum has qualified for the 3A district tournament. The double-elimination format will send four teams to regionals. The Storm won three of four games against Wesco teams this season, with the loss being to undefeated Stanwood.
The Wesco Conference has several very good teams at the top of the league. Shorecrest is one game off the pace set by Stanwood, and Edmonds-Woodway is a talented group. Arlington is in fourth spot with a 7-4 record with one game left. Arlington suffered losses to 2A teams, Anacortes, Cedarcrest and Sehome this season. I think Squalicum has a great chance to be in the mix for one of those four spots.
Before we continue, did you know…
Queue the creepy, haunted house organ music now:
On Monday, January 30, 2017, there were three NWC games on the schedule. All three losing teams scored 48 points. Keep the music going: two of the winning teams scored 70 points! Somehow, the script that was emailed to Anacortes must have gotten lost in their spam folder. The Seahawks went and spoiled everything by scoring 78 points that night!
Okay, now to the 50% part of the RPI equation.
If you are a 2A fan in District 1 & 2, you need to remember that you are in the process of participating in two different RPI systems. The State RPI has been in the news since it was implemented this winter for the girls and boys basketball season. But there is also the District 2A RPI formula that will seed the 12 2A teams for their district tournament.
The District RPI system began with fall sports, and will continue through spring, and for years to come. It was set up for all team sports, and is used to seed teams in the NWC, Cascade, Wesco, and KingCo Conferences.
Because teams come from four leagues, and they play different classifications of teams, District Athletic Directors devised this system to place teams based on their league wins.
Teams compile points for wins in league play. Wins over 3A teams are worth more than wins over 1A teams. And wins over teams with a winning record are worth more than wins over teams with a losing record.
Twelve of the 14 teams qualify for the district tournament. The top four get a first round bye. The other eight play a loser-out game, with the winners advancing to the double-elimination part.
As of this writing, the NWC 2A teams and Wesco representative, Mountlake Terrace, have one game to go in the league season. The Cascade and KingCo schedules have been completed.
Anacortes will be the #1 seed, no matter the outcome of their final game. Lynden (2nd), Liberty (3rd), Archbishop Murphy (4th), would get first round bye’s if the tournament began now. Mountlake Terrace is very close in fifth place.
Since Liberty and ATM’s scores are frozen, it is possible for MLT to jump back into the top four by winning their final game against Marysville-Pilchuck (5-6).
Another thing to watch is anyone who may have a current record of .500. Bellingham and Sehome are both 6-6 in the NWC. With one game left, they will both finish either above or below the .500 mark. This will affect the scores of any 2A team that beat them this season. Remember, a win over a team with a winning record is worth more than a win over a team with a losing record.
Granite Falls and Sammamish would be the teams that would not qualify.
You may have noticed that Bellingham was listed one place above Sehome, even though Sehome has beaten Bellingham during the season. Bellingham was helped by their win over Mt. Baker. The Mountaineers are a 1A team, but with a winning record. Bellingham also has a win over 3A Ferndale. Sehome does not have a league win over a team with a winning record. If Bellingham wins their last game, they will finish 7-6, and that will give Sehome a win over a team with a winning record. However, they will not be able to pass Bellingham in that situation, because Bellingham will also pick up points for winning their final game.
And, by the way, can we turn off that awful organ music now?
After the first round loser-out games in the 2A tournament, it goes to the normal 8-team, double-elimination format. Three teams will qualify for regionals. And, it looks like it’s going to be a really tight squeeze.
“ON-TO-STATE, ON-TO-STATE,” (State RPI, that is).
The state RPI is quite a bit different than the one I’ve been dissecting. It only contains three parts: team winning percentage, opponents winning percentage, and the winning percentage of the opponents of your opponents. The ratio is 25% / 50% / 25%, respectively.
The main rules to remember are that if you play teams from out of state, those teams will carry a .500 record, no matter how good (or bad) they may be. There are no extra points for classification wins, or points based on good or bad records of teams that you beat. The RPI stops at the end of the regular season, so there are no points for post-season wins.
The RPI will only matter to the 16 teams who qualify for state. Having a high RPI does not get you to any dome. You must qualify by placing in your district tournament. Once the 16 teams have qualified, then the RPI’s will seed the teams in order, 1-16.
It is entirely possible that a third place team from a district tournament could have a higher seed than the first and second place teams, after all the teams are seeded. Some district tournaments are foregoing any game between two teams who have already qualified, because the RPI will seed them, and the result does not matter to the RPI. District 1 is not following that path, and I am glad!
The WIAA has already stated that they will tweak the RPI as the years go along. They also plan to implement an RPI for all other team sports, beginning next school year.
The first loopholes of the system have been found. Since 50% of your score is the winning percentage of your opponents, a team who plays a really difficult schedule (based on opponents win-loss records) will benefit. And they don’t even have to win those games for it to help. Although, you don’t want to lose too many of them because you also need a decent record.
Opponents record is why Lynden has a slightly higher state RPI then Anacortes. They have the second and third highest RPI in the 2A classification, but Lynden’s opponents have the highest winning percentage in the state.
East Valley-Spokane has the second highest opponents winning percentage, and they have the 10th highest overall RPI. They also have only a 10-10 record.
Foss of Tacoma, was a 3A school until dropping down to 2A this year. At the start of the season, they were regarded as the team to beat at the 2A level. They finished the regular season with a 15-5 record. Four of their games were in a holiday tournament in California. So, those four opponents are considered to be .500 teams. They had 2 other losses in their non-league schedule. One was to highly ranked 3A, Lincoln. The 2A SPSL, which Foss went undefeated in, did not help their RPI, because teams in that league did not have impressive records. They currently have the 50th best opponents winning percentage. There are 65 2A teams. As of now, it looks like Foss, once they qualify, will be in the lower half of the regional bracket, where they would play a loser-out regional game. More on the format at a later date, however.
Without changes to the RPI, teams may think twice about playing out of state opponents. But, I think this area will be looked at closely in the off season by the WIAA’s RPI group. Out of state trips in the holiday season is very popular among teams from Washington State.
Lynden Christian currently has the #2 RPI in the 1A class. Mt. Baker is 6th. Freeman holds the top spot, with Zillah at #3, and King’s #5.
Squalicum is #11 in 3A, two places behind #9 Stanwood.
Again, as of this moment, the RPI ranking is just like any opinion poll. They really don’t matter. You still have to qualify. Once qualified, then you can be rewarded for your season, and your scheduling.
I love the snow, but hate cancellations. Hopefully, things will ease up, and we can commence with a lively and successful post-season.