YAKIMA — There will be a new 1A girls basketball state champion this season. Okanogan’s heartbreaking loss to King’s in a Thursday Hardwood Classic quarterfinal contest at the Yakima Valley SunDome ensured that fact.
A Caribou Trail League squad still has a chance at winning a title, however, thanks to big victories by Brewster and Chelan. In fact, the Goats and Bears are each one win away from meeting for a fourth time this season — with a state championship at stake.
It’s not a coincidence that the CTL teams have played so well during the postseason so far.
“I keep saying this, but I think the league we play in deserves part of the credit (for our win),” Goats coach Frank Phelps said after his team’s dominating 51-24 quarterfinal victory over Cascade Christian.
Brewster, a 61-56 winner over Lynden Christian, will play King’s, which beat the Bulldogs 41-40, in one semifinal contest today. Chelan will take on unbeaten Castle Rock in the other semifinal.
Okanogan will play Lynden Christian in a loser-out game today.
Chelan 51, Cascade Christian 24
In the first half of Thursday’s semifinal, Cascade Christian focused its defensive efforts on Goats post Courtney Dietrich. That was a solid plan, except for the fact that it allowed fellow post Abby Phelps to do pretty much whatever she wanted.
The junior tallied 20 points and 13 rebounds in the first half alone as Chelan took a commanding 26-12 lead.
The Cougars found a way to limit Abby Phelps in the second half, but Dietrich scored all nine of her points and grabbed 12 of her 16 rebounds in the final 16 minutes.
“It’s hard to stop both of us at the same time,” Abby Phelps said. “If one of us is off, the other will be on.”
The Goats out-rebounded Cascade Christian 54-33, forced 19 turnovers and held the Cougars to 19 percent shooting.
Chelan usually mixes up its defenses, but it had no reason to go away from its man-to-man look Thursday.
“I didn’t expect to be able to shut them down like we did,” Frank Phelps said. “That was probably the best defensive game we’ve played all year.”
Brewster 61, Lynden Christian 56
Lynden Christian held Chandler Smith, the CTL’s leading scorer, without a point in the first half. It says a lot about the Bears that they still managed to hold a three-point lead at halftime of their quarterfinal contest.
Not surprisingly, Smith found her scoring touch in the second half, and Brewster held off a late Lyncs rally to advance to the semifinal round.
After missing all six of her shots in the first half, Smith converted all seven shots she took in the third and fourth quarters and finished with 16 points.
“I always try to keep my composure and not let things get to me, but I struggled in the first half, and it was frustrating,” she said. “In the second half, I took the ball to the hoop and tried to get the ball to my teammates. I want to be a playmaker out there.”
The Bears took a first-half lead on the strength of their outside shooting —they hit five 3-pointers in the second quarter.
Becky Mae Taylor and Brette Boesel each hit two treys and scored 13 points apiece, and Monica Landdeck added 11.
“It was a good team effort,” said Brewster coach Roger Boesel. “(The 3-pointers) help because (the opponent) can’t focus on just one person. Becky and Brette hit some huge shots in the first half.”
“We just tried to set each other up with open shots and not rush them,” Landdeck said.
King’s 41, Okanogan 40
Okanogan didn’t play well, but still had a chance to win its quarterfinal contest against Kings after Keana Egbert converted a steal into a layup with 92 seconds left to give the Bulldogs a 40-39 lead.
However, Daylee Hanson hit a short, off-balance jumper in a crowded lane with two seconds remaining to stun Okanogan.
“We broke down,” Bulldogs coach Bryan Boesel said. “We busted our tails to get back into the game, and we didn’t rebound, couldn’t make lay-ins and turned the ball over. We gave Kings way too many opportunities to win the game.”
Okanogan committed 23 turnovers, was out-rebounded 52-38 and shot just 27 percent from the field.
Kara Staggs, last season’s state tournament most valuable player, was held to 10 points, and Caitlyn Behymer, perhaps the Bulldogs’ best player during their postseason run with Staggs banged up, scored just six.
Hanson led King’s with 14 points.
“Our girls are young, but they have mental toughness,” said Knights coach Dan Taylor. “To beat the defending champions is a great accomplishment. (This win) will boost our confidence.”