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Newport girls face Skyview with state quarterfinal spot at stake | Prep basketball news
Who: Newport (17-7, second seed District 2) VS. Skyview (23-2, third seed District 3/4)
When: Saturday, March 1, 2 p.m., Mark Morris High School (1602 Mark Morris Ct., Longview)
How they got here: The Storm lived up to their name in the first two rounds of the District 3/4 tournament, beating Emerald Ridge 66-26 to get things started before handling Puyallup 52-37 in the quarterfinals.
A four point loss to Mount Rainier sent Skyview to the third place game, where they won 50-32 over Bellarmine Prep.
Newport won its division title during the regular season, and then beat Bothell and Eastlake to reach the title game and 4A Regional round. A 47-46 loss to Inglemoor in the championship gave the Knights the second seed from 4A KingCo.
What's at stake: A second seed in the 4A state quarterfinals and chance to continue on the road to a state title
The Knights came up just short against Inglemoor in the KingCo title game, but head coach Travis Whitaker said that has done nothing to shake his team's confidence.
"They are really confident and excited for this opportunity," he said. "They know Skyview is a tough opponent, but their goal from the beginning of the year was to get to state."
The parlance of the Regional round of the state tournament may have changed what technically qualifies, "getting to state," but Whitaker said the added round before reaching the Tacoma Dome has only increased Newport's appetite.
The Storm pose a sizable threat - literally - to the Knights and standout post Casey Schoenlein, with four players standing 5-foot-11 or taller.
Guards Aubrey Ward-El and Stephanie McDonagh, also the team's top two leading scorers, give Skyview a balanced attack and will stress the team defense and rebounding ability of Newport throughout.
"They have good size across the board, and are particularly strong on the inside," Whitaker said. "They are just really solid."
A host of seven seniors, including Schoenlein, who have played together well before taking the prep court, will be key for Newport.
Whitaker said after years of playing with a post who demands attention from opponents on both ends of the floor, the Knights have found a decided rhythm together this year.
"It is kind of a culmination," he said. "They have been kind of building towards this."