STATE BASKETBALL: White River girls fall 68-57 in opener

A spirited White River High rally came up short Wednesday night as the Hornet girls fell 68-57 to Cleveland High in the opening round of the Class 3A state basketball tournament.

After trailing just 26-25 to the Eagles at halftime, White River found itself in a 14-point hole with 3 minutes, 26 seconds remaining to be played. But the tide quickly turned and the Hornets scored nine points in less than a minute, suddenly making the game very interesting. The rally started with six straight free throws – two each by Cassidy France, Carley McCutchen and Sapra Sproul – and concluded with a Sproul 3-pointer.

Cleveland answered largely from the free-throw line, connecting on nine of 10 opportunities in the final 2:14 before missing a couple of meaningless attempts when the win was guaranteed.

For the game, Cleveland shot 45 percent from the field (24 of 53), compared with the Hornets’ 27 percent (17 of 62). The Eagles also won the battle of the boards, outrebounding White River 49 to 32.

Sproul had a huge offensive game for White River, connecting on half of her 18 field goal attempts, four from 3-point range, on the way to a game-high 29 points. Paulson joined her in double figures, scoring 10.

The loss means White River will play a loser-out contest at 2 p.m. Thursday against a familiar foe, the Lakes Lancers. Both members of the South Puget Sound League 3A, they played twice during the regular season. Lakes handed the Hornets one of just two regular season losses the first time they met, but White River earned its revenge with a 32-point win in the rematch later in the season. Lakes lost to Shorecrest on opening day.

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