CASHMERE — Before last week’s game against Warden, Cashmere girls basketball coach Brent Darnell told his team that no matter what happened in the game, it would make them better as a whole.
He wasn’t wrong.
Since suffering their first loss of the season to Warden, Cashmere has rebounded over the last week and topped their last three opponents by an average margin of 43 points.
“As much as it hurt, that game made us toughen up a little bit,” Darnell said after Cashmere’s 74-34 win over Omak Thursday at home. “I just wish this season was a little longer and we had some more time with this group.”
The Bulldogs started slow but bursted for 27 points in the second quarter to take a 20-point lead at the break. Cashmere stretched the lead to 40 in the second half and cruised to its eighth win of the season — and 59th straight CTL victory.
Junior Riley Johnson led the team with 28 points and three steals. Maddie Hammond chipped in 14 points and pulled down seven rebounds. Jalynn Darnell chipped in 11 points, Cameron Phillips finished with eight points and five rebounds, and Gennevieve Ledesma scored seven points off the bench.
“We played some great defense and forced (Omak) into 18 turnovers,” Darnell said. “But the biggest stat was rebounds (22-7). Overall, they did a great job; eight of nine girls scored tonight, and it was a balanced game for us. I’m pleased with how we’ve come along in such a short time. For as much as we lost in scoring power with Hailey (Van Lith), Grace (Erdmann) and Grace (Hammond), our girls have really impressed me with our ability to score, which I was a little concerned about. Our leadership has been outstanding all season long.”
After Friday, Darnell has just two games left with his four seniors. They will be missed, Darnell said, but he’s also looking forward to next season. For some of the younger girls, this last month has been a good time to get their feet wet at the varsity level.
“It’s been huge to just let them have this season to get some confidence,” Darnell said. “They’ve been on JV the last couple of years competing against a good varsity team and learned a lot in terms of what it looks like to work hard and be a part of something special. Now they’re hungry to do the same and I’m really excited to see it. We have some really good underclassmen coming in as well, and this freshman class coming in might be the best that I’ve had.”
Up next: The Bulldogs travel to Royal Friday night, competing in their fourth game in five days. Tipoff is at 6 p.m.