Panthers making first district showing

The Bonney Lake High girls will make their first appearance in a district basketball tournament thanks to a 53-49 win over the Mount Rainier Rams Saturday in Class 3A subdistrict action at Auburn Mountainview.

The Bonney Lake High girls will make their first appearance in a district basketball tournament thanks to a 53-49 win over the Mount Rainier Rams Saturday in Class 3A subdistrict action at Auburn Mountainview.

The Panthers will face either Port Angeles or Capital at 8 tonight, Wednesday, at Clover Park High School in the first round of the West Central/Southwest district tournament. Port Angeles and Capital played Monday to determine the No. 1 seed from the Olympic-Western Cascade tournament.

Saturday, Bonney Lake and Mount Rainier traded the lead most of the contest and the game was not decided until the final minutes.

Tiara Kilmer’s layup gave Bonney Lake a 50-49 lead with 2 minutes, 56 seconds left in the game. After Marcel Pounds added a free throw, Natosha Lyonais scored the game’s final basket with less than two minutes left.

“We had a better start, but we need to have a better finish,” Panther coach Tom Ostrander said. “We won, but there are some things we need to work on under pressure like knocking down those extra free throws.”

Mount Rainier had only two chances in the final minute, missing a 3-point attempt and a long jumper. The Rams were forced to foul which sent the Panthers to the line four times in the final 32 seconds.

Mount Rainier’s biggest lead of the game was a three-point margin twice, once in each half. Their first was short-lived as the Panthers went on a 24-9 run for a 35-25 advantage with 1:48 remaining in the first half.

Mount Rainier answered with a 7-1 run and cut the Panther margin to four, 36-32, at intermission.

The Rams scored three consecutive baskets and regained the lead, 38-36, before Ostrander called a timeout with 4:22 in the third period.

After the game out, Brittney Kennedy came downcourt and drilled a 3-point basket to give the Panthers a 39-38 lead.

But a few seconds later, the Rams scored off a steal to regain the lead. They added another bucket for a 44-41 margin.

Killmer tied the game on a 3-pointer, then added a long jumper. Rachel Wiegand hit a pair of free throws for a 48-44 advantage with 6:16 left to go.

Mount Rainier’s final lead came with 3:35 remaining. The Rams hit a 3-pointer and scored off a steal for a 49-48 advantage.

Bonney Lake went to the free throw line 17 times, while the Rams made only five trips to the charity stripe.

“We changed up our defense in the second half and held off our trap which they were beating us with,” Ostander said. “I just stressed to the girls the little things we do will help us win the game.”

Pounds paced Bonney Lake with 15 points, nine coming in the first period. Killmer finished with 13, seven in the final period.

Reach Dannie Oliveaux at doliveaux@courierherald.com or 360-802-8209.

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