The Front Row with JASON ELLIOTT Feb. 9, 2013

Making all the right moves

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To be successful, teams have to make the best decisions possible, no matter the situation.

For right now, it seems that things are definitely going the right way.

WHILE SOME may be shocked to see Seattle Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez sign a 7-year, $175 million deal, it makes more sense now than ever.

And it has nothing to do with his perfect game last August.

The Mariners know exactly what they'll get out of him every time he takes the mound at Safeco Field - at least six innings and keeping them in the game long enough that if they could score some runs, they'd have a chance to win.

And he's probably the team's best starting pitcher since Randy Johnson helped lead the team to its first playoff appearance.

Since the Mariners played their final game last season, a lot of things have changed in the Seattle area.

Across the street, the Seahawks made a playoff run and nearly played in the NFC Championship game against San Francisco.

And unless they're able to keep the team in Sacramento, the Kings will move their NBA team to Seattle after an ownership group agreed to a deal to buy the team.

Should that happen, the team will play at KeyArena for a couple of years until a new arena can be built down the street from Safeco Field - leaving the Mariners as the third wheel in a city with five professional sports teams.

Signing Hernandez keeps them in the news for at least a little while longer.

It will be up to the rest of the team reporting to spring training to determine just what kind of headlines they can get.

SCHOOLS IN the 5A Inland Empire League knew that the road to the state girls basketball tournament was going to leave a really good team at home.

Depending on the outcome of today’s play-in game between Coeur d’Alene and Boise — another one of the top five teams according to the media polls could be out of the tournament.

Coeur d’Alene, which has been ranked in the top five all year, eliminated Lewiston, which had also been ranked for most of the season, in the Region 1 second-place game on Thursday at Coeur d’Alene High. Lewiston had played in the previous three state championship games.

Schools from the Boise area (District 3) are guaranteed at least four spots — five should Boise High beat Coeur d’Alene today — at the state tournament with a larger number of schools in that district (10), than in Region 1, which includes Post Falls and Lake City.

In the postseason, teams have to be playing at their best at the right time.

Just look at the Kootenai girls basketball team — which had won two games entering this week’s 1A Division II District 1 tournament.

The Warriors started to play their best basketball of the season this week, winning their district tournament at Lake City High in Coeur d’Alene to advance to their first state 1A Division II tournament starting next Thursday in Nampa.

Right move, right time I guess.

Jason Elliott is a sports writer for the Coeur d’Alene Press. He can be reached by telephone at 664-8176, Ext. 2020 or via email at jelliott@cdapress.com.

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