High School Sports

Prairie streak still alive as WIAA now considers regional basketball as state

Prairie's Cori Woodward, 12, leads her team from the court after loosing to Bellevue  58-51 in the 3A Girls Regional Basketball Tournament at Mt. Tahoma High School, Friday, February 22. 2013. (Steven Lane/The Columbian)

Prairie’s Cori Woodward, 12, leads her team from the court after loosing to Bellevue 58-51 in the 3A Girls Regional Basketball Tournament at Mt. Tahoma High School, Friday, February 22. 2013. (Steven Lane/The Columbian)

It’s alive. IT’S ALIVE!!!!!

Congratulations, Prairie girls basketball program, you’re string of consecutive state tournament appearances was revived this week, as the WIAA reversed a decision it made four years ago.

Craig Craker of the Tri-City Herald reported Friday that the WIAA will now consider trips to the regionals as state tournament berths.

“The (WIAA) handbook said it is still considered state because that is where the allocations are decided,” Conor Laffey, the WIAA’s sports and activities information director, told the Tri-City Herald. “The office will continue to refer to those as regionals, but those will be a state berth opportunity. All the students that lose will get a state participation certificate.”

Four years ago, when the WIAA decided to reduce the state tournament to eight-team brackets that teams had to advance to by winning in a regional round of 16, the WIAA decided not to recognize the regional round of 16 as state.

The Prairie girls made it to state every year from 1998 to 2012. That streak appeared to come to an end on Feb. 22, 2013 when the Falcons lost to Bellevue 58-51 in the 3A regionals. Prairie fell to Bishop Blanchet in the regionals this season.

Now, because of the WIAA’s ruling, those two regional appearances will be considered state. That makes 17 consecutive trips to state for the Falcon girls.

It also means other local teams eliminated in the regional round this season — the Battle Ground boys (4A) and Woodland boys and girls (1A) — can say they advanced to state.

Here’s the complete story from the Tri-City Herald.

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