Future WSU gridders leave marks on hardcourt

PAUL WULFF'S recruiting battle cry – that he wants guys on the line to be highly athletic as well as big – was illustrated nicely in recent days on the state's basketball courts. Aaron Dunn, the 6-6 ½ tight end from Spokane, Xavier Cooper, the 6-4 ½ defensive end from Tacoma, and John Fullington, the 6-6 tackle from Belfair, each brought notable hoops careers to a close in heated playoff action.

All three are headed to Washington State this fall to play football.

And so is diminutive wide receiver Blair Bomber of Lynden, who scored 22 points and dished 5 assists Saturday aganist Mount Baker to earn the Lions a trip to the Class 2A tourney which starts tomorrow (Wednesday) in Yakima.

In the Class 4A ranks, Dunn earned second-team All-Tournament honors the other day after averaging 14 points and 7 rebounds per game for Mead High, while Cooper helped Wilson High achieve something it hasn't done in a decade: get to the state tournament.

And not only did the Rams get there, but they advanced to the semifinals where eventual 4A champion Kentwood knocked them off. Cooper had 12 points in a quarterfinal donnybrook over Walla Walla last week.

By the way, you can bet there was more than passing interest between a pair of Cougar football freshmen in last week's Class 4A quarterfinal game between No. 1-ranked and defending champion Federal Way and No. 3-ranked Gonzaga Prep. WSU linebacker Andre Barrington (Federal Way) and defensive end Travis Long (G-Prep) were standouts on those two basketball teams a year ago. The game was a back-and-forth slugfest that Federal Way wound up winning in overtime. Of note is that one of G-Prep's starting post players, Charlie Hopkins, has been offered a scholarship to play football at WSU.

In the Class 2A ranks, Fullington's North Mason High lost in the district playoffs on Saturday and will not advance to the state tourney. The loss ends his stellar, four-year run on the hardwood. North Mason finished fifth in the state tourney a year ago.

The first-round of the 2A state tourney opens in Yakima's Sun Dome on Wednesday. Bomber's Lynden team is 19-5 this season and could be a serious contender for the title. One of the definitive favorites for the crown, though, will be Ephrata High, which is led by 6-9 Patrick Simon.

He'll be in uniform for Ken Bone's Cougars a year from now. Ephrata was 20-2 in the regular season but lost a buzzer beater to Wapato in the CWAC district championships this past Saturday. Simon had a career-high 39 points in that game.

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