Just a little more than halfway through the high school basketball league seasons is a good time to take a step back and reassess where everyone sits in terms of regular-season championships as well as district seeding.
Most of the races on the boys side of things are just starting to heat up, and in some cases, really are wide open. On the girls side, there’s more clear-cut favorites.
So for the purposes of this story, we’re going to zone in on the league races for the boys and give a bit of a status update on how our area teams are doing:
Class 4A Inland Empire League: The good thing for Moscow (7-6) it’s played Lakeland (3-5) once and hasn’t played Sandpoint (4-7) yet. Moscow beat the Hawks 63-49 on Dec. 17 in Rathdrum and has another game against them at home Jan. 28, then the Bears get the Bulldogs on Tuesday at home and Feb. 1 on the road. They need three of four to pretty much guarantee the top seed in the district tournament.
Whitepine League Division I: Honestly, it’s Lapwai here and everybody else.
Although the Wildcats (11-0, 5-0), top-ranked in the latest poll, will not play for at least a week, you can almost book them into the state tournament with one of the two for sure spot in the district that takes place Feb. 16-25 at Lewiston High School.
From there, it could be interesting.
Nos. 2-4 in the standings have flip-flopped just in the past few days. Prairie (9-2, 5-2) pulled into a tie with Logos (6-2, 5-2) with a 59-56 win in overtime at home Friday.
The Knights of Moscow were ranked No. 5 in the state poll, the first time since they moved up to Class 1A DI that has taken place. The Pirates, who entered the week ranked No. 2, had a six-game winning streak snapped Tuesday with a 44-38 loss at fourth-place Kamiah (7-4, 4-2), which just a week ago at this time was in the second in the league and ranked in the poll.
Potlatch (6-4, 3-3) in fifth is a sleeper team one year after running the table in the opposite direction.
Whitepine League Division II: This might be the craziest league of them all.
Just one week ago, Timberline — the defending district tournament champion after beating Deary two consecutive games to take the title in a must-win situation — was sitting atop the league at 3-1 with a 4-5 overall record.
Now, the Spartans have dropped all the way to fifth place.
And St. John Bosco, which is 5-5 overall and 3-3, in the league, was the surprise early leader.
But this league has been shaken up in just the past three days.
Kendrick, which found itself sitting in fourth at 3-2 entering the holiday break, has beaten Highland and the Patriots of Cottonwood since Tuesday and is one full game ahead of the competition and at 6-3 overall. St. John Bosco, Deary — which looked to be buried early — and Highland all were at 3-2 entering Friday.
This is one race that might go down to the final regular-season game.
Class 2A Greater Spokane League: It’s too early to tell. Clarkston absorbed a stunning, 48-47 loss Tuesday at Shadle Park, while Pullman cruised past East Valley.
The Greyhounds (10-1, 1-0) are in a shutdown for a few days, so they’re going to have to make up games. The Bantams (6-4, 1-1) won 84-40 at Rogers on Friday.
West Valley (12-1, 1-0) has looked solid so far and should provide the biggest competition to the two local teams. The Eagles play Clarkston on Tuesday and Feb. 4, then are set to play Pullman on Jan. 25 and in their regular-season final Feb. 11.
Northeast 2B League: It seems to be a four-team horse race here, with Colfax (9-3, 2-1) and Liberty (9-2, 3-0) the early clubhouse leaders, with Davenport (9-1, 3-1) and Lind-Ritzville/Sprague (7-3, 3-1) close behind.
Southeast 1B League Wheat Division: Pomeroy (8-2, 4-0) seems to have some control of the division, with Oakesdale (4-5, 2-1) just one game back.
Pullman shutdown could be reduced
The planned two-week suspension of Pullman High School athletics in response to a rise in COVID-19 cases and exposures among athletes that began Wednesday could be reduced to one week on a sport-by-sport basis, Pullman athletic director Wendy Kruger announced late Thursday.
Athletes will take COVID tests on Tuesday of next week, with the results determining which sports will remain shut down another week and which can resume activities immediately. The change of plans was made in accordance with a revision in recommendations from the Whitman County Health Department.
The girls poll was released Thursday, and there’s plenty of area teams making their marks.
Grangeville (11-3) rose from No. 3 to No. 2, just behind Cole Valley Christian. The two played earlier this season, with the Chargers winning 42-28 on Dec. 4 on the road.
In Class 1A Division I, Lapwai (9-2) dropped from a tie for first to No. 2 this week behind Butte County (14-0), with Prairie rising a spot to No. 3 (9-2).
In Class 1A Division II, Kendrick (11-3) remained at No. 4 this week.
Washington’s first state polls were supposed to come out on Wednesday, but there were technical glitches. The first poll now will be this coming Wednesday.
The Tigers’ Erin Morgan crashed an exclusive club.
She scored her 1,000th career point recently. In Tuesday’s 42-10 win at Highland of Craigmont, Morgan tallied 10 points. Then on Thursday against St. John Bosco, she finished with a game-high 12.
Postponements and make-ups
Coaches and athletic directors are asked to please send the paper updates with games that are postponed or canceled, as well make-ups on the schedule to firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as you become aware of them.
Cody Wendt contributed to this report.
Walden may be reached at (208) 848-2258, email@example.com, or on Twitter @waldo9939.