Damn, why can't I be in high school right now.
Back in my day (which let's be honest, was a year ago), the Metro was awesome, but they never pushed any teams deep in the tournament like they definitely should have. Last year's State champs? Lakes. Boring. Two years ago? Freaking Union! They were formed like five years ago! Prior to that 2010 crap, the Metro league had won every State title since 2002. They had won all but three since 1993! That's what I call domination.
The greats of the Metro, Franklin, Beach, O'Dea, and Prep accounted for all of those 14 championships from 1993 to 2009. But in the last two years, a Metro team hasn't made the final. Lakes, Bellevue, Union, and Enumclaw did as the high schools that have produced so many NBA greats sat back and watched on their couches.
But this year, things are different. While Franklin came up two games short of State, O'Dea, Prep, and Beach make up three of the eight teams remaining in the running for the 3A crown. Not only that, but Beach and Prep are the prohibitive favorites to win it all. The world feels back to normal again.
The reason for the sudden rebirth of the Metro is obvious: star power. Anrio Adams of Beach is the best player in the state hands down, and will attend Kansas next year. Sekou Wiggs of O'Dea is the second-best player in the state. Mitch Brewe of Prep is capable of putting the Panthers on his back any night and is virtually unguardable at the high school level.
It just seems like the year the Metro seizes back control over 3A basketball. They also get the hype as the best conference in the state regardless of division, and they definitely are. But the results have not been there for the last two years. With such a wealth of talent, this has to be the Metro's year.
Seattle Prep versus O'Dea in the first round could play out as the most epic game the series has seen. So much bad blood and general dislike for one another hasn't been taken to such a stage since the Spencer Hawes final of 2006. The teams split this season, with O'Dea battering an exhausted Prep team in the final game of the regular season for the Panthers in their most recent meeting.
All things considered, Mountlake Terrace, University, and Lake Washington shouldn't pose too much trouble for Beach, and we'll almost certainly see them in the finals this year. A matchup with Prep or O'Dea for the title would undoubtedly bring the intrigue of the Metro battles of old back into the forefront.
If I had to make an outsiders pick, I would say that Beach and Prep play for the title based purely on the fact that they are the most talented teams in the state and have been regarded as such since the beginning of the season. Beach has the best player, and Prep has the best team (and six seniors). This matchup would bring all of the interest that the last few finals have lacked for the city of Seattle all the way back.
Since this blog is no longer run by a Prep graduate, I don't think I need to watch my Prep bias that I have always got crap for since I started writing high school stuff two years ago. I have thought from the beginning of this year that Seattle Prep, my alma mater, would win state, and I stand by that pick. Also, I desperately want it to happen. Roll Prep.