There will be no return trips to Yakima’s cozy SunDome for the White River High boys or girls basketball teams.
Each experienced huge success in central Washington a season ago, but both suffered weekend defeats that brought otherwise successful seasons to a close.
This season started on the right foot, with both qualifying for the regional round, among the 2A’s Sweet 16. But the Hornet girls were defeated 43-35 by River Ridge during a Friday contest at Kent-Meridian High School. Less than 24 hours later, it was the White River boys going down to defeat, dropping a 51-50 heartbreaker to Burlington-Edison at Lynden High.
The Hornet girls were clearly the aggressors during the first half, particularly late in the second quarter when a scoring flurry left White River with an 11-point lead. The rally included three hoops by Amanda Lance, one by Crystal Narolski and a pair of Kennedy Hobert free throws and was only halted when Ridge’s Jazzlyn Brewster nailed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
The second half proved White River’s undoing. River Ridge, which has won three of the past six Class 2A state titles, appeared to wake up defensively and play the type of ball the team is known for. Pressing up and down the court, the Hawks limited the Hornets to just four second-half buckets and 10 total points, while harassing White River into repeated turnovers.
The Hornets had just three players crack the scoring column. Kennedy Hobert, the SPSL 2A’s Most Valuable Player, finished with 15 points, while Amanda Lance and Crystal Narolski added 10 apiece.
The regional loss might have been even more traumatic for the White River boys, who entered the fourth quarter with a slim lead and held a one-point upper hand as the game clock ticked well inside the final minute.
But a repeat trip to the Elite Eight wasn’t in the cards. With less than 30 seconds remaining, B-E’s Rudy Mataya drove the length of the court and, despite being fouled, converted a layup that provided the Tigers all they needed to pull off the win. White River had one final chance after Mataya missed his free-throw attempt, but couldn’t get a shot to fall.
White River kept it a close game the entire way, then took a 50-49 lead with Dustin France drilled a baseline jumper with 90 second remaining. Both teams then failed to score, setting up Mataya’s late heroics.
The Hornets’ Brandon Dove scored a game-high 21 points.