WRHS GIRLS BASKETBALL: Hornets lock in 2A state berth

The White River High girls have made a habit of playing in the state basketball tournament and, from a distance, this year is no different.

But, upon closer examination, there is a big change. After becoming a fixture in the 3A tourney, the Hornets now find themselves as one of the Sweet 16 in the smaller, 2A ranks. Instead of heading for the Tacoma Dome, the White River girls are looking at a regional qualifier and, they hope, an appearance at Yakima’s SunDome.

The state’s new state formal has teams squaring off at regional sites to narrow the field to an Elite Eight that head to Yakima.

White River’s state journey begins Friday in Stanwood but – beyond that – plenty of question marks remain.

Those were to be cleared up Monday at Curtis High School in University Place, when White River and Sumner squared off to determine the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds out of the district tournament. Results could not be included in this issue.

If White River won Monday, the Hornets’ Friday opponent will be Burlington-Edison High. The winner of that one advances directly to a March 3 contest in Yakima; the loser gets a second chance Saturday to head to the SunDome.

If White River lost Monday, the road to Yakima is much tougher. The Friday opponent would be Archbishop Murphy in a loser-out tussle. Friday’s winner would need to win again on Saturday to advance to Yakima.

The Hornets had hoped to play for the district title, but that dream came to an end Saturday in the form of a 69-60 loss to the Eatonville Cruisers.

In what coach Chris Gibson described as a “meltdown,” the Hornets carried an 11-point lead into the fourth quarter but saw things turn for the worse when Eatonville proved dominant on the offensive glass. The Cruisers scored a whopping 35 points during the final eight minutes to secure the crucial win.

Brooke Paulson tied Eatonville’s Becca Schrimpsher for game scoring honors with 18 points. Rani Wiegand aided the Hornet cause with 14 points and Kennedy Hobert and Sabra Sproul added 10 each.

White River had an easy time Thursday night, swamping the Fife Trojans 61-30 to earn a berth into the 2A field of 16.

It wasn’t pretty early on, but the Hornets managed a 12-point advantage by halftime. The third quarter made all the difference, as White River’s 23-9 run put the contest on ice.

The Hornets scored in double figures to highlight the offense. Wiegand scored a game-high 18 points, Hobert added 12 and Paulson finished with 11.

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