YAKIMA — Several members of the Chelan girls basketball team are star players in other sports. Courtney Dietrich and Abby Phelps, for example, have been a part of the Goats’ perennially successful volleyball squad, and Megan Robinson was a member of the Goats’ state championship-winning tennis team a year ago. They certainly don’t have a squad full of basketball specialists.
But what they do have is a team full of good athletes with high character, and those qualities can lead a team to where it wants to go just as easily as any other attributes can. The Goats proved that during the course of this season and again at the 1A Hardwood Classic.
“It just shows you the competitors that they are,” Chelan coach Frank Phelps said after his team’s 45-32 victory over King’s on Saturday at the Yakima SunDome, a win that gave the Goats a third-place trophy. “We always felt that even though our kids aren’t playing 70 games over the summer, they put their hearts and souls into basketball when they’re on the court. They’re very dedicated. (The third-place) finish is a reflection of who they are and what they’re all about.”
Chelan advanced to the Hardwood Classic last season, but lost two games and returned without a trophy. The Goats finished in second place in the competitive Caribou Trail League this season — handing state champion Brewster its only loss along the way — and entered state quarterfinal play with a confidence that they simply didn’t have at this time last year.
That focus showed Thursday in their dominating quarterfinal win over Cascade Christian, but with a berth in the title game at stake Friday, they didn’t play well in a 52-44 loss to Castle Rock.
They were able to rebound and post a win over a young but determined Knights squad on Saturday, however, by never losing sight of their main objective.
“(To play on the last day of the season) was the goal all year long,” said senior point guard Emily Schramm, who tallied 12 points Saturday. “It’s not the championship game, but I’m proud of everything we accomplished.
“I wasn’t thinking (we could take third) at the start of the year. I had my doubts as to how far we could go, but as the season went along we kept pushing and pushing. The win over Brewster gave us confidence and showed us that we can compete with anyone in the state.”
Chelan had its way with King’s in the first half of Saturday’s game en route to taking a 21-17 advantage, but the Goats didn’t get their shots to fall after halftime (they shot 20 percent in the second half) and allowed a more aggressive Knights squad to take a 23-21 lead 90 seconds into the third quarter.
At that point, however, Chelan went on a 12-4 run to close out the period, then outscored King’s 12-5 in the fourth quarter.
“King’s is a good team, and they made us work for everything,” said junior post Abby Phelps, who tallied 12 points and 11 rebounds Saturday and was named to the all-tournament team along with fellow post Courtney Dietrich. “We’ve been in that position before where our shots aren’t falling, and that’s when we focus on defense because that can lead to offense.
“We knew that we had it in us. I still think we can give any of these teams a good game, but at the same time there are some very good teams here. We had a tough loss yesterday, but we bounced back. To come out on top and take third place is a great feeling.”
Lynden Christian 44, Okanogan 42
About one minute into the third quarter of Friday’s consolation contest, Okanogan’s Kara Staggs was upended and hit her head on the floor. She was removed from the contest and was given a series of examinations by Washington Interscholastic Activities Association medical officials.
Staggs, who was already nursing a sore knee, didn’t return to the contest. It’s impossible to say whether the Bulldogs’ leading scorer would’ve been able to help Okanogan beat the Lyncs, but her absence certainly didn’t help matters.
For a second consecutive day, Okanogan didn’t play well — it shot just 29 percent from the field — but rallied in the second half and had a chance to tie the game in the final seconds and force overtime.
Megan Parks’ short baseline shot clanked off the rim, however, ending the Bulldogs’ season.
“This group never gives up,” Okanogan coach Bryan Boesel said. “It doesn’t matter if somebody is injured; everybody finds a way to help the team. We had a lot more energy (in the second half). We wanted to speed the game up.”