WRHS GIRLS BASKETBALL: White River captures tournament title

Fresh on the heels of a championship performance in the Les Schwab Christmas Classic, the White River High girls are about to hit a crucial stretch of South Puget Sound League 3A basketball games.

The Hornet girls host Bonney Lake Friday and travel to Sumner High Tuesday, squaring off a pair of SPSL 3A foes that, like White River, sit in the upper echelons of the league standings. Heading into post-break play, Sumner was 4-0, Bonney Lake and White River sat at 4-1 and Lakes was 3-1. Already this week, Sumner hosted Lakes and Bonney Lake hosted the 1-3 Franklin Pierce Cardinals.

Hornet coach Chris Gibson is happy with where his team is headed.

“We’re always looking for improvement,” Gibson said. “Defensively, we’ve had to find ourselves a little bit.”

The Hornets have experienced some up-and-down moments thus far. The team was far from its best in a loss to Lakes, Gibson said, then played its best game of the year at the Schwab tournament, staged at Bellevue Community College.

White River captured the title in the four-team tourney with a 65-50 victory over the Hazen Highlanders Dec. 29 and a 49-43 decision over Issaquah High the following day.

The triumph over Issaquah was particularly impressive as the Eagles have landed in the Class 4A Top 10 polls and, a day earlier, defeated Holy Names, the No. 1 club in the 3A polls.

After trailing 11-10 at the end of the first quarter, White River held the lead the rest of the way. The Hornets managed a 12-point advantage with two minutes to play, then held on for the six-point win. Brooke Paulson scored 15 points to lead the White River offense.

A day earlier, the White River High girls had gotten the Christmas Classic off to a roaring start, defeating the Hazen Highlanders 65-50 in the opening round.

White River’s early success – punctuated by a 32-10 advantage at one point – was keyed by Paulson and Sabra Sproul. In the first eight minutes, Paulson tallied a dozen points and Sproul had 10.

For the game, Sproul finished with 20 points, Paulson had 19, Carley McCutchen had 11 and Megan McKune scored 10.

Paulson picked up Most Valuable Players honors for her two-game, 34-point performance and Sproul earned first-team tournament honors.

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