The White River High girls found themselves on familiar turf last week, collecting hardware at the close of the Class 2A basketball tournament.
The Hornets made the trek to the Yakima Valley SunDome – as they seem to do nearly every year – for the March 1-4 hoop extravaganza. Having received a first-round bye, White River didn’t take the floor until Thursday.
After sandwiching a victory between two tourney losses, the Hornets returned to Buckley with sixth-place honors. That fits with fourth-place finishes in both 2015 and 2014 and third-place honors in 2012.
“They had themselves quite a season,” veteran coach Chris Gibson said, pointing to a final record of 25-4. Along the way, the Hornets spent time as the No. 1-ranked team in the state, according to the Ratings Percentage Index system implemented for the first time.
“All you can ask for is to be playing on the final day,” Gibson added, alluding to Saturday’s trophy round.
The tournament marked the end of White River careers for a handful of Hornets, most notably Kendall Bird. She departs the program as the program’s all-time leading scorer and, in Yakima, collected all-tournament honors for the third time.
The next time she pulls on a jersey, it will be for the University of San Diego. Bird has signed a scholarship offer to play for the Toreros.
LYNDEN 64, WHITE RIVER 42
The Lynden squad headed to Yakima with a 19-6 record – not the best in the field – but headed home with the first-place trophy. After beating White River, the Lynx knocked off No. 2 W.F. West and No. 5 Burlington-Edison to capture the tournament title.
“Their physicality really bothered us,” Gibson said, noting that Lynden had a 6-foot-4 inside presence that caused the Hornets trouble.
The going was tough for White River from the start. The Hornets trailed 12-9 after eight minutes of play, were on the short end of a 31-20 halftime score and were in a 53-30 hole by the close of the third period.
Poor shooting plagued White River throughout the contest, particularly during the decisive first half. The Hornets made just five of 21 shots during that span, improving slightly to 8-of-22 in the second half.
LeeAudrey Norris headed the Hornet offense with 12 points, connecting on five of eight shots from the field, including two of three shots from beyond the arc. Bird was kept largely in check, finishing with 10 points.
Lynden: 12-19-22-11 – 64
White River: 9-11-10-12 – 42
White River: LeeAudrey Norris 5-8 0-0 12; Kendall Bird 2-10 6-8 10; Lucy Rasmussen 2-4 0-0 6; Sofia Lavinder 0-3 4-4 4; Emma Robbins 2-3 0-1 4; Georgia Lavinder 1-8 0-0 3; Chloe Narolski 1-2 0-2 3; Lily Tranquillo 0-0 0-0 0; Megan Cash 0-3 0-0 0; Noelle Mills 0-0 0-0 0; Taylee Goethals 0-0 0-0 0; JaneAllyn Norris 0-2 0-2 0. Totals 13-43 10-17 42.
WHITE RIVER 56, ARCHBISHOP MURPHY 53
During Thursday’s crucial contest – which sent the loser home and the winner to the trophy round – Bird came up huge.
She poured in 34 points and pulled down 17 rebounds, both game highs. Included were some key buckets down the stretch.
The Hornets shot the ball better, winding up 41.4 percent from the field. From the line, the team went 8-of-10 during the second half to keep the lead.
“We had to make some (defensive) stops at the end, which we were able to do,” Gibson said, praising his club’s determination in face of possible elimination.
After a rough first half, which saw the Hornets trailing 30-24, the second half belonged to White River. Cutting the deficit to a single point by the close of the third period, it was a 20-16 advantage during the final eight minutes that allowed the Hornets to advance.
Archbishop-Murphy led 47-43 with four minutes to play but, each time they scored, Bird answered back. She hit a jumper to keep White River close at 47-46, another to make the score 49-48 and, finally, she added a hoop to put the Hornets on top 52-51.
After A-M tied the game, Bird added another hoop with 33 seconds on the clock. With seven seconds to play, Sofia Lavinder connected on a pair of free throws to polish off the scoring.
White River: 16-8-12-20 – 56
Archbishop Murphy: 20-10-7-16 – 53
White River: Kendall Bird 14-31 6-9 34; Sofia Lavinder 4-10 5-5 13; Lucy Rasmussen 2-4 0-0 4; Chloe Narolski 1-3 0-0 3; Georgia Lavinder 1-3 0-0 2; Noelle Mills 0-0 0-0 0; Emma Robbins 0-0 0-0 0; LeeAudrey Norris 0-1 0-0 0; JaneAllyn Norris 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 22-53 11-14 56.
WAPATO 67, WHITE RIVER 48
The team from the Yakima Valley was the “quickest, most athletic” squad the Hornets faced in the tourney, Gibson said.
That spelled doom for his Hornets, Gibson added, who were running on empty due to some short turnaround times between games.
As a result, the Wolves were able to grab an early lead and the Hornets weren’t able to mount a charge. The winners jumped on top 22-13 after one quarter, held a 10-point advantage at the half and stretched the margin to 51-36 by the end of the third period.
Bird again came up big, scoring 24 points and hauling down 16 rebounds, both game highs.
Wapato: 22-15-14-16 – 67
White River: 13-14-9-12 – 48
White River: Kendall Bird 9-18 6-13 24; Lucy Rasmussen 2-2 2-2 7; Sofia Lavinder 2-10 0-0 4; Chloe Narolski 2-4 0-0 4; LeeAudrey Norris 2-6 0-0 4; Emma Robbins 1-6 0-0 2; JaneAllyn Norris 1-4 0-0 2; Georgia Lavinder 0-2 1-3 1; Taylee Goethals 0-0 0-0 0; Noelle Mills 0-1 0-0 0; Megan Cash 0-1 0-0 0; Lily Tranquillo 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 19-57 9-18 48.