3 CTL girls teams advance to 1A state quarterfinals
Saturday, February 23, 2013
SPOKANE VALLEY — Several Brewster girls basketball players were feeling sick during the Bears' 1A state regional contest against LaSalle at Central Valley High School on Friday, but Brewster didn't use that as an excuse.
The Lightning played with as much fierce determination an passion as the Bears have encountered all season, but Brewster didn't waver.
The Bears' normally fluent offense was stagnant at times, and their defense was burned repeatedly by clutch shots from LaSalle players, but Brewster refused to let the perennial South Central Athletic Conference powers take over the contest.
The Bears proved two things in their 67-57 victory: They're certainly capable of winning big games even when they're not playing their best, and they have the resiliency needed to withstand an opponent's best effort and come out on top.
The Lightning showed that while it's not impossible to play with Brewster in short spurts, the Bears showed why it's been so tough for a team to beat them outright.
With the win, Brewster clinched a spot in the state quarterfinal round, to be played Thursday at Yakima's SunDome.
"We knew we had to pull together, or else we were going to lose," said wing Brette Boesel, who tallied 11 points. "Obviously being sick affected us a little bit; we were more tired than usual, but we did a good job of pushing through it.
"(Advancing to the state quarterfinals) means a lot to us. We've worked so hard all season. Now we're one step closer. This was a big win."
The Bears' victory was one of three big wins for the Caribou Trail League on Friday. Chelan annihilated Columbia-Burbank 64-35 at Central Valley to clinch a state quarterfinal berth for the second consecutive season, while Okanogan, the defending 1A state champions, posted a 59-51 comeback win over Zillah at West Valley (Yakima) High School.
That means that three of the last eight teams left are from North Central Washington.
"From what I've seen so far," said Bears coach Roger Boesel, "the CTL is the toughest 1A league in the state."
Brewster 67, LaSalle 57
LaSalle tied the contest at 18-18 early in the second quarter, but Brewster went on an 18-5 run to take a 13-point lead and led by halftime by 10.
The Lightning stayed in the game in the first half with their outside shooting, but in the third quarter they rallied once again by driving to the basket for layup opportunities against a Brewster defense that was a step slow.
"I thought we could pressure them and we'd steadily pull away," Roger Boesel said. "We didn't play our best, and we had some kids under the weather, but that's not an excuse. (LaSalle) played hard and hurt us at the 3-point line."
The Lightning tied the game at 52-52 with five minutes, 26 seconds left, and at that point, the prospect of the Bears suffering their second loss of the season and seeing their superlative campaign come to an end seemed to be at the very least a possibility.
However, the Bears, as usual, found a way to win. They scored nine consecutive points (by four different players) to seal the victory.
"We knew we had to be smart with the ball and make the smart play, the easy pass, when we were ahead to run the clock out," said point guard Chandler Smith, who hit four first-half 3-pointers en route to scoring a game-high 28 points. "The clock was our friend tonight.
"In the third quarter we had a letdown, but we made some big shots and got some big defensive stops down the stretch to pull this one out. It was hard playing sick, but in the back of our minds, we kept telling ourselves that the state (quarterfinals) was just one win away, and that helped us to push through."
Last season, the Bears lost the 2B state championship game to Reardan. Ever since then, they've been intently focusing on getting back to the title contest using a one-game-at-a-time mentality.
That focus has seemed to work all season long.
"Getting this game (tonight) was a goal," Smith said. "We took another step tonight. We have (experience from last year), and motivation. Taking second place last year, and then going up into the 1A league this year, we knew that we had to prove (ourselves). It's going to be fun (to play in Yakima). We're excited."
Chelan 64, Columbia (Burbank) 35
Last season, Chelan played hard in its two state tournament contests at the SunDome, and played to win, but at the same time, the Goats, coming off a .500 regular season, couldn't help but to have a little bit of a 'just happy to be here' feeling.
This year, when Chelan returns to the SunDome, it will do so with an entirely different mentality. The Goats will enter state quarterfinal play expecting to emerge victorious.
"It's a different feeling," said senior post Courtney Dietrich, who led all scorers with 21 points and grabbed 15 rebounds in Chelan's rout of Columbia (Burbank). "Last year, we were excited to go (to the state quarterfinals), but this year we expected to go. We're ready to go further than we did last year.
"As a senior, I wanted to go back to the dome. The whole team has been looking forward to this. We have high expectations, nothing less."
If Chelan plays anything like it did Friday, it shouldn't have a problem winning at least one game next week. The Goats dominated the overmatched Coyotes in every phase of the game.
They shot 50 percent from the field in the first half, rebounded well (a 34-25 advantage) and played one of their best defensive games of the season, holding Burbank to 30 percent shooting and forcing 29 turnovers.
"We came out with a certain focus and intensity," said Chelan coach Frank Phelps. "The way the girls played in the first half (taking a 41-20 lead) was indicative of the kind of girls they are and how badly they wanted to go back (to the SunDome). I get a different sense from them this year. It's not that we didn't want to win last year, but this year we're on more of a mission. For the girls, it's not a surprise to be successful."
Entering Friday's game, Chelan hadn't lost two consecutive games all season long. The Goats lost to Brewster last Saturday in the District 6/7 championship contest, so Phelps had a hunch that his team would be able to rebound against the Coyotes.
Emily Schramm played her role of perimeter defensive stopper to perfection, racking up six steals and scoring 10 points; Abby Phelps was her usual active self en route to scoring 11 points and grabbing nine rebounds; and Hailey Habich and Megan Robinson added 3-pointers that helped to extend Chelan's advantage.
"I thought that we could bounce back and play better than we did last week," Frank Phelps said. "We had one of our best halves of the season, and it was a great time to do it."
"We came in confident, but not cocky," Dietrich said. "We played calm and gave a 100-percent team effort. What got us going was an unbelievable first quarter. We wanted to come our strong; sometimes we don't do that. We were focused and knew what we had to do to get the job done."
Okanogan 59, Zillah 51
Down 38-34 at the end of the third quarter, Okanogan outscored Zillah 25-13 in the final eight minutes.
Kara Staggs, who has been dealing with a right knee injury, tallied 14 of her 20 points in the fourth quarter.
Caitlyn Behymer added 18 points for the Bulldogs.
The Leopards who made just 52 percent of their free throws, received 21 points from Alexcis Higginbotham off the bench.
“It was a little tighter than I expected,” Bulldogs coach Bryan Boesel told the Yakima Herald-Republic, “but those Zillah girls, and especially that No. 10 (Higginbotham), just wouldn’t go away.”
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