The White River High girls had added another trophy to the school’s display case, claiming fifth-place honors during last week’s Class 2A state basketball tournament.
This year’s 2A/1A tourney was staged Feb. 27 through March 2 at the Yakima Valley SunDome. Under the guidance of coach Chris Gibson, the Hornets have made a habit of state trips – and success. Five state trophies have been added in the past eight years.
Gibson counted the season as a roaring success, particularly in light of some players who had not been tested at the varsity level.
“If you had told us prior to the season that we’d go 25-5 and bring home a fifth-place trophy, we’d have been ecstatic,” Gibson said.
This year’s White River club had earned a first-round bye, needing just a Thursday victory to guarantee a trophy. That came over Port Angeles and proved to be the highlight of the Yakima experience. The next two days brought losses to highly-regarded teams.
“We ran into some very talented teams with a lot of size,” Gibson said, after returning home from Yakima. His Hornets spent much of the season facing teams with taller players, making up the difference with defensive tenacity and outside shooting.
SATURDAY, MARCH 2
Clarkston 62, White River 61
Repeating a performance from two days earlier, the Hornets fell behind in the third quarter and mounted a late comeback. This time, however, it wasn’t quite enough and the Bantams prevailed by the slimmest of margins.
The Hornets shot the ball well during the first 16 minutes, accounting for a 34-30 lead at intermission. During the first two quarters, White River shot 50 percent from the field (good on 12 of 24 attempts) and was particularly good from long range, connecting on eight of 14 shots from 3-point range.
The hot shooting cooled off and Clarkston took the lead courtesy of a 17-5 scoring advantage in the third quarter. That set the stage for a final eight minutes that decided third place or fifth.
The Hornets rallied for a 22-15 advantage in the final frame, but it fell short and White River collected its fifth-place hardware.
White River scoring: Lee Audrey Norris 14, Kara Marecle 13, Taylor Schmidtke 11, Chloe Narolski 10, Sydney Lund 6, Rylie Lund 3, Emma Robbins 2, Brooke Mahler 2.
White River shooting: 21-51 from the field, 41.2 percent; 12-27 from 3-point range, 44.4 percent; 7-17 free throws, 41.2 percent.
FRIDAY, MARCH 1
East Valley (Spokane) 67, White River 26
When a team musters just 26 points against the No. 3 team in the state, the outcome is inevitably bad.
That was the case here, as White River was swamped by 41 points by a squad that claimed second-place state honors the following day.
Things were rocky from the outset, as the Hornets put just six points on the scoreboard in the first quarter and seven more in the second period. Meanwhile, the Knights had put 38 points on the board and decided the outcome by intermission.
The Hornets shot less than 20 percent from the field and lost the rebounding battle 45-25 to the school from the far reaches of the Spokane Valley.
White River scoring: Kara Marecle 8, Sydney Lund 6, Lee Audrey Norris 4, Chloe Narolski 3, Sam Fiedler 3, Rylie Lund 2
White River shooting; 8-43 from the field, 18.6 percent; 4-17 from 3-point range, 23.5 percent; 6-11 free throws, 54.5 percent.
THURSDAY, FEB. 28
White River 60, Port Angeles 55
There was no lack of familiarity here, as the two teams had met Feb. 16 in the West Central District finals. The title went the way of the Roughriders, but both squads advanced to Yakima.
This time around, White River came out on top. The difference was a furious, fourth-quarter rally that wiped out a healthy lead Port Angeles had built in the third period.
The two teams – Port Angeles the taller, White River the more tenacious – played a first half that saw the Hornets enjoy a slim 27-25 advantage. But the second half was anything but evenly played: the ‘Riders outscored White River 23-8 in the third quarter, but the Hornets raced to a 25-7 advantage during the final eight minutes that proved more than enough.
White River had four players score in double figures, paced by 14 from sophomore Taylor Schmidtke. She connected on all four of her 3-point attempts.
White River scoring: Taylor Schmidtke 14, Emma Robbins 13, Lee Audrey Norris 11, Chloe Narolski 10, Kara Marecle 9, Sydney Lund 3.