The 2017-18 record book will show the White River High girls basketball team won yet another division championship in undefeated fashion, swept three opponents to again capture a district title and, again, advance to the state tournament.
Those are the long-term memories tied to a season in which the Hornets won 20 of 26 games, adding to the growing legacy of coach Chris Gibson. During his 20 years at the Hornet helm, only twice has White River failed to advance to the state’s Sweet 16.
The short-term reality is this year’s state appearance was short-lived. Playing Feb. 28 in the opening round of the Class 2A tournament in Yakima, the Hornets were eliminated with a 60-46 loss to Black Hills High. The tourney’s first-day games are loser-out affairs.
Despite trailing all the way, the Hornets managed to make things interesting. A rally early in the fourth quarter saw White River slice the Wolves’ lead to 48-41. But that wasn’t enough to beat a Black Hills squad that scored nine of the game’s first 10 points, went on a key 12-0 run in the third period and finished by scoring 10 of the game’s final 15 points.
Numbers tell the tale, particularly shooting statistics. White River made 16 of 43 shots from the field, or 37 percent. Black Hills was efficient early, connecting on 13 of 23 shots during the first half; for the game, the Wolves were right at 50 percent, good on 21 or 42 attempts.
“We didn’t shoot the ball especially well,” Gibson said, pointing out a handful of missed free throws and layins that might have changed the outcome. Black Hills also enjoyed a height advantage, something the Hornets dealt with all season.
Other than shooting percentages, the numbers were fairly even: 27 rebounds for White River, 29 for Black Hills; just nine turnovers for the Hornets and 11 for the Wolves.
The White River offense was paced by freshman Kara Marecle, who scored 17 points on an impressive afternoon of shooting. She made six of eight attempts from the field, including three of four shots from 3-point range, and hit two of three free throws. Also in double figures was senior Georgia Lavinder, who had 12 points to close out a prep career that included being named Most Valuable Player for the SPSL 2A Mountain Division.
Black Hills: 14-17-15-14 – 60
White River: 8-14-10-14 – 46
White River scoring: Kara Marecle 17, Georgia Lavinder 12, Chlow Narolski 8, Sofia Lavinder 5, Noelle Mills 2, Megan Cash 2.