3A State Review

Each year I stumble into and meet people at the state tournament with interesting stories. Several years ago I met a couple from Spokane in the camper parking area who had been to the tournament for 27 consecutive years.

This year I sat next to Mr. Roman Miller during the championship game. Mr. Miller is a 1944 grad of O'Dea, coach there and Roosevelt and Lincoln as well, spent many years as the head of the Washington State Racing Commission and was a scout for the original Houston Colt-45s long before they were renamed the Astros.

Mr. Miller was very conscious of making sure he showed no favoritism during the championship game but no sooner had the Irish run to center court to celebrate than Roman pulled his O'Dea ball cap out and placed it proudly on his head.

Meanwhile Alexander Scott Dudley attended his first state tournament. So what's the big deal you ask? Heather Dudley, Josh Heytvelt's oldest sister, gave birth to Alex on Monday morning March 1, 2004. Alex was 8lb. 12.75 oz. and 21 inches tall.

The proud parents, and a very proud big sister as well, Heather and Craig as well as 23-month old Robin drove over on Wednesday to support the Clarkston Bantams and to cheer for Uncle Josh.

Craig Dudley may have come from the greatest distance, Baghdad Iraq, where he works for the Defense Intelligence Agency. He was home for the birth of Alex and had to fly back to Baghdad on Saturday morning.

Seattle Sonics Coach Nate McMillan got to take a night off from being a NBA coach and just be "Dad" as he watched son Jamelle, a freshman for the Irish, step into the spotlight. Jamelle was a late-season addition to the O'Dea squad and hit several clutch shots down the stretch in the championship game.

Big props to Meadowdale for the defense they played on the tournament's three best big men. 6-7 senior Colin Matteson (at right) with help from Henry Faison and 6-6 junior Danny Hagan held Heytvelt to his lowest night of the tourney, 11 points. They then put the clamps on 6-11 C.J. Giles of Rainier Beach to 8 points and 6 rebounds. Giles was held to a single shot and a lone rebound in the first half. In the medal round 6-8 Andrew Strait of West Valley was 0-for-6 from the field in the first half as again the Mavs put the clamps on a "big." Strait did come back to score 17, 12 in the second half, and get the "W." But you gotta tip your hat to Meadowdale for pretty well making the three big guys non-issues in their games.

And at state there are always guys that are not on a whole lot of recruiting radar screens who suddenly have college coaches scurrying around to find out all they can about them. In this tournament that list would include:

Nate Menefee (pictured at left), a 5-10 guard who averaged 17ppg during his senior season at Timberline. He opened eyes with his 29 points against Cleveland on opening day. He showed more moves than a bucket of snakes.

Brian Manaway (at right), a 6-2 senior wing who came it scoring at a 21ppg clip, averaged 15 points in the Mount Rainier Rams two games. He showed great athleticism and played much taller than his size. His coach said he has offers from about eight schools so far but didn't elaborate on who those schools were when we asked.

Lael Johnson (at left), a 6-4 senior forward who averaged 14ppg during the season, opened the tourney with a double-double, 16 points with 11 boards against Selah. He scored 19 points against O'Dea. He's a "tweener" but a small school looking for a 6-4 guy who can play no the wing or post up should be calling Renton Coach Rick Comer.

EJ Schoen (at right), a very athletic 6-2 senior guard who averaged 14.2ppg and shot 47% from three-point range during the regular season, had a d-d, 15 points with 14 rebounds on opening day against Squalicum. He scored 17 in West Valley's medal game against Meadowdale, including the game winner.

Tim Sellereit (at left), a 6-2 Bellingham senior guard who averaged 17ppg during the regular season and playoffs, averaged 22.6 at state with a high of 27 against Cleveland. He's hearing from several schools but reportedly would also like to play baseball at the next level.

And props to the Mercer Island "Animal band" for once again showing why they are the best around.

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