By David Heiling

Empire Press Correspondent

SOAP LAKE — The Waterville/Mansfield girls basketball team jumped out to a 25-20 lead at halftime and improved on both sides of the ball in the second half to beat host Soap Lake, 57-35, on Jan. 25. Shockers coach Kieth Finkbeiner said he was impressed with the way his team performed in the second half, especially on the defensive end.

“I felt like if we kept pushing it up the court, then I think we could clamp down defensively,” Finkbeiner said. Holding them to just 15 points in the second half was key, and we kept our tempo pace of play going very nicely.”

Brooke Willms had three 3-pointers on the evening, which helped Waterville/Mansfield get some perimeter scoring. Finkbeiner also praised Lexi Deishl for crashing the offensive glass and being physical and competitive all game long.

The Shockers’ conditioning was also evident in the second half, as the team was able to continue playing at a fast pace for all 32 minutes, stretching the game’s margin throughout the contest.

The win puts the Shockers in sole possession of the Central Washington 2B League’s second place in the standings, behind only Brewster — who has already locked up the league’s regular-season championship. But Finkbeiner said there is still a lot to play for to make sure the team secures the No. 2 seed.

“We definitely weren’t looking past Soap Lake tonight,” he said. “I think there is some thoughts of the standings at this point because we have had a pretty successful season, but we still have to take it one game at a time. Soap Lake is sort of a rival of Waterville on the girls’ side here, and they have been playing better. It was a good game to get a win on the road. We would love second place if we can get it. I don’t think we are going to get all the way up to Brewster, but this takes us to 10 wins in league play with two games to go. I think if we work hard and execute we can win these next two games.”

Waterville/Mansfield’s Elizabeth Katovich led the team with 14 points, and four Shockers players scored in double digits in the win.