White River girls open with 80-60 loss | STATE BASKETBALL

White River High's Lady Hornets were one of just eight teams tipping off the Class 2A girls state basketball tournament Thursday in Yakima.

Playing in the cozy confines of the SunDome, Round One wasn't a pleasant experience for coach Chris Gibson and his troops. The Hornets dropped into the loser's bracket Thursday after suffering an 80-60 loss to the Mark Morris Monarchs.

Not only is Mark Morris the defending state champion, but the Monarchs had hung a 23-point loss on White River when the teams met for a nonleague contest in December.

The two seemed evenly-matched during Thursday's initial quarter, each putting together six-point runs. White River's Maci Goethals came off the bench to bury a 3-pointer, cutting the Hornets' deficit to just 17-14 as time expired.

Things started to unravel in the second quarter when the Monarchs' defensive pressure gave White River fits. The Hornets made too many mistakes, Mark Morris hit some well-placed 3-pointers and, by intermission, the team from Longview enjoyed a double-digit, 39-26 lead.

As the second half unfolded, things only got worse for White River. Midway through the frame, the Monarchs put together a string of 12 unanswered points and exploded to a 53-32 lead. Sparked by two more Goethals 3-pointers, the Hornets attempted to rally, but never could get closer than 14 points.

As the teams ran through a perfunctory fourth quarter, the continuing story of the game was the play of the Monarchs' Ashley Coons, who added three 3-pointers and a total of 13 points in the final eight minutes. She finished with a game-high 30 points. Teammate Kourtney Easton added to the damage with 25 points.

White River's only consistent offensive threat was freshman Kendall Bird. A first-team, all-South Puget Sound League 2A performer, she finished with 21 points. Goethals, with a quartet of 3-point bombs, tallied 12 points.

With the loss, White River next plays at 10:30 Friday morning, taking on Lake Washington. The Kangaroos lost 57-39 to Ellensburg in their tourney opener. The loser will be eliminated while the winner advances to play at 8 a.m. Saturday to determine fourth and sixth place.


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