Sports

Hornets suffer first loss, but it’s nonleague

It appears the White River High girls are vulnerable after all, but the rest of the South Puget Sound League 3A hasn’t figured that out.

The Hornets (16-1 overall) suffered their first loss of the season Saturday night, a 63-56 nonleague setback at Bainbridge.

More important, however, was Friday night’s outcome, a lopsided victory at Franklin Pierce that pushed White River’s SPSL 3A record to a perfect 13-0. The 60-25 pasting of the Cardinals left the Hornets one notch closer to a league championship and a perfect SPSL 3A season.

With just three games remaining in the league campaign, the Hornets have a healthy lead. Second-place Bonney Lake sat at 10-3 through games of last weekend and Enumclaw was a step back at 9-3. Crucial contests come Thursday when White River hosts Bonney Lake and Feb. 13 when the Hornets travel to Enumclaw for the regular-season finale. Sandwiched between is a Tuesday game at Sumner.

Friday’s victory at Franklin Pierce featured a slow start that saw the Hornets leading 17-8 at halftime. White River caught fire after intermission, however, and tacked on 24 third-quarter points. The offensive outburst pushed the Hornets’ lead to an insurmountable 41-15.

Brooke Paulson scored 16 points to pace the White River victory.

Saturday night’s affair, which was close all the way, featured two of the state’s top clubs. The latest Associated Press poll had White River as the No. 3 Class 3A team in Washington and Bainbridge in the No. 8 slot.

The Hornets trailed 29-23 at the half and 42-37 after three quarters. Each team had a big fourth period, but the hosts enjoyed a 21-19 advantage to salt away the game.

Megan McKune poured in 18 points to lead the White River scoring, Kendall Williams added 13 and Paulson chipped in with 11.

Reach Kevin Hanson at khanson@courierherald.com or 360-802-8205.

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