Spring Sports

There are some absolutely incredible athletes hitting the oval this spring

By Jeff Epperly

I am still absolutely amazed by Gonzaga’s run through the NCAA tournament. You really have to be playing well to make it all the way to the title game. Part of me, even after several weeks, still believes the Bulldogs from Spokane were the best team in the country. Several missed calls at the end of that game turned the outcome in North Carolina’s favor. Otherwise, the Zags would be national champs. But sometimes that’s how the NCAA tournament goes.

Congrats to Glacier High School’s 7-foot-1 Ryan Edwards for being such a great teammate in a supporting role. He has been terrific in providing a competitive big man within the ranks of his own team. Though not getting much playing time, there are several future professionals that Ryan challenged every day in practice. They included Przemek Karnowski (7’1’’), Zack Collins (7’0”), Killian Tillie (6’10”), Johnathan Williams (6’9”), and Rui Hachimura (6’8”). They all benefited from Ryan’s enthusiasm and passion for his team as they became one of the best frontlines in college basketball. One thing is for sure — Ryan is a better man for it and maybe, just maybe, he will also have the opportunity to play professionally when things are all said and done for the junior big man.

Unlike the NCAA’s one-and-done format, the NBA playoffs almost guarantee the two best teams. Every opponent must win the best of seven games every round in order to advance through the bracket and win a championship. Something tells me the Zags would have thrived in this kind of a tournament. With a series of games, intangibles like poor officiating, foul trouble, or even an injured player will not eliminate you from the playoffs. 

By the way, I do believe March Madness concluded with the best two teams in the title game this year. I’m just not so sure the best team won. I know that sounds kind of “cheesy,” but this is what makes the NCAA tournament so special and difficult. You have to be really good every night you step on the floor, and believe it or not, you must get the right breaks at the right time to win.

But in the NBA, the best teams are almost always in the final, and the best team almost always wins. Cleveland and Golden State seem to be heading for another showdown. In a seven-game series, it is so difficult to beat a team that has more talent and plays better together.

Who will win the finals? I am picking Cleveland to win simply because the Cavaliers’ “big three” (LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love) are all healthy and seem very hungry. One thing the Warriors have going for them is that they share the ball really well, almost doubling and even tripling the number of assists their opponents can put forward. It should be interesting to watch over the next couple of months.

As the NBA weaves and winds itself to its conclusion this June, spring high school sports are in full flight. So far, the most incredible part of spring has been the track-and-field performances across the state. There are some absolutely incredible athletes hitting the oval this spring. Let’s see how the season plays out over the next few weeks, but the early results have been as good as I can remember. There could be a number of state records broken this year if everyone stays healthy and peak at the right time. Look for the boys’ pole vault record to go down, as well as possibly the boys’ high jump, along with several middle- and long-distance races for both boys and girls. 

Editor’s note: Ryan Edwards has decided not to play his senior season, according to KREM 2 in Spokane. The Gonzaga center and Glacier High School graduate is set to graduate this semester and has one more year of eligibility.

Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.

Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.