Hornets sew up league title with win over BLHS

White River junior Carly McCutchen drives the baseline during Friday night’s home-court victory over Bonney Lake.

The White River High girls wrapped up a league championship with a Thursday night victory over second-place Bonney Lake, will face another tough foe when they travel to Enumclaw Friday and, along the way, will be gearing up for the beginning of postseason play.

Through games of last weekend, the Hornets remained perfect at 14-0 in South Puget Sound League 3A basketball play and were 17-1 overall. The team had one game earlier this week, traveling to face the 3-11 Sumner Spartans Tuesday night; results came too late to be included here. Friday’s 5:15 p.m. contest at Enumclaw, the opening act of a boy-girl double feature, is the regular-season finale.

As the SPSL 3A champs, the White River girls will begin subdistrict play at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 21 against Kennedy High, the No. 1 squad out of the Seamount League. They will be battling for the top two seeds into the 16-team district tournament, which will send seven squads to the March 11-14 Class 3A state tournament in the Tacoma Dome.

Kennedy High was ranked No. 1 in the state in the latest Associated Press poll, which pegged White River at No. 3.

The subdistrict games will be played at Auburn Mountainview High School.

Hornet coach Chris Gibson was pleased to see his girls capture the SPSL 3A title after a two-year absence, noting that a league championship was the team’s foremost goal all season.

“Now, there are bigger things to accomplish,” he said, with a nod toward the upcoming postseason play.

Whatever the Hornets accomplish down the road, it will likely be done without the services of Kelsi Tyler. The junior starter sustained a knee injury and could be lost for the remainder of the season.

Thursday’s home-court victory over Bonney Lake saw the Hornets jump on top quickly, racing to a 16-2 lead. Just as quickly, the Panthers showed why they’re among the league’s best, rattling off 11 straight points, nine of those coming on a trio of quick 3-point bombs. The Hornets withstood the rally and maintained a lead that hovered in the double-digit range most of the way, finally breaking things open in the game’s waning minutes.

“I felt we were in control the whole way,” Gibson said, “and our quick start set the tone for the game.”

Brooke Paulson and Sabra Sproul got White River rolling, as Paulson scored all 11 of her points in the first half and Sproul added nine of her 11 during the first two quarters. Leading scorer Kendall Williams had eight in the first half and finished with a game-high 18.

Kevin Hanson can be reached at khanson@courierherald.com.