White River Hornets grab fourth in state basketball

The girls team won three of the four matches in Yakima.

A dozen of the top Class 2A girls’ basketball teams in Washington gathered in Yakima last week for a four-day, best-of-the-best showdown.

Included in that lofty group were the Plateau’s pair of Hornets, the teams from Enumclaw and White River high schools. Among the stars of the hoop fiesta were the White River girls, who won three of four games in Yakima and delivered a fourth-place trophy to the school’s display case.

White River’s success is notable considering who they lost to on their state journey. The Hornets’ only Yakima loss was to an Ellensburg squad that was undefeated heading into the tournament and eventually played for the 2A title. White River’s loss in the state regional round was to the Lynden Lions, who battled Ellensburg in the tournament finale and took home championship honors.

This season’s placing is among the best in the storied history of White River girls’ hoops. The 2012 tourney team finished third in the 2A ranks while this year’s performance accompanies to the back-to-back, fourth-place finishes in 2014 and 2015.

Returning home with a state trophy, along with a final season record of 23-5, was a fitting conclusion for seven seniors who helped the Hornets remain highly-visible on the state scene. Playing their final games as Hornets were Lexie Banks, Ava Bright, Josie Jacobs, Ally Green, Sophie Ross-Soler, Alle Klemkow and Ella Klemkow.

Here’s a review of how each squad performed during the 2A state tournament, which ran February 28 through March 2 at the Yakima Valley SunDome.


White River vs. Archbishop Murphy

Vivian Kingston saved her best performance for the final game of the year, scoring 20 points to help the Hornets hoist a fourth-place trophy.

After trailing early, White River sprinted to a 10-point halftime lead, pushed the advantage to 40-27 after three quarters of play, then held on as the Everett squad rallied late to score a dozen of the game’s final 15 points.

Kingston’s output came in key bursts: the 6-foot junior had three consecutive buckets in the first quarter and later scored her team’s final eight points of the third period.

The Saturday victory over the Wildcats was highlighted by White River’s work on the boards. The Hornets pulled down 50 rebounds while Archbishop Murphy managed 30.

White River vs. W.F. West

This March 1, loser-out battle was close until the end, but that’s when Hornet senior Ava Bright took control of the game.

The contest was knotted at 47 apiece after White River’s Josie Jacobs scored on an offensive putback and, moments later, added a pair of free throws. That’s when Bright, who scored the game’s first bucket and was scoreless the rest of the way, turned on the offense: down the stretch, she had a two-point hoop, drained a pair of 3-pointers and made a pair of free throws to seal the Hornet victory.

The win pushed White River into Saturday play and the trophy round.

White River vs. Ellensburg

There’s a reason Ellensburg High captured state championships in 2022 and 2023 and entered this year’s Class 2A tournament with a perfect 22-0 record. Like a well-oiled machine the Bulldogs have made a habit of chewing up all challengers.

The White River Hornets joined the club of Ellensburg victims the morning of February 29, dropping a 68-49 decision in a quarterfinal game at the SunDome.

The Hornets showed plenty of spunk despite the loss, bouncing back a couple of times from double-digit deficits. After digging themselves into an early 13-2 hole, the squad rebounded to pull within five points at 21-16. When the Bulldogs answered with a rally that pushed their advantage to 30-18, the Hornets put together a run of their own, capped by Maggee Schmitz’s 3-pointer that reduced the margin to 32-27.

The Hornets remained in striking range until Ellensburg ended the third quarter with a 3-pointer and opened the final frame with nine unanswered points.

The Bulldogs showed their prowess by connecting on 50 percent of their shots from the field, including 40 percent of their 3-point attempts.

White River vs. Sammamish

The Hornets began Yakima play on a high note, defeating Sammamish High 54-32 on the tourney’s opening morning.

White River did its damage in the second half, outscoring the Redhawks 36-13 during the game’s final 16 minutes. That was a turnaround from the first half when the Hornets headed into intermission trailing 19-18.

Aside from the final score, the Hornets posted some key numbers in the tourney’s Round of 12 contest. White River outrebounded Sammamish 43-34, limited their own turnovers to a dozen and outshot the Redhawks from the field.


First, the good news: the EHS squad headed to Yakima as one of just 12 teams still playing ball. That’s an envious position that more than four dozen other schools from around the state would have loved to be in (there were 50 teams from the 2A ranks who did not qualify).

Now, the bad news: after winning a regional round game and earning a Yakima berth, the Hornets were unceremoniously bounced on their first day of SunDome play. In a loser-out contest, Enumclaw was routed 62-32 by the Clarkston Bantams, who went on to claim third-place tournament honors.

Enumclaw entered the Feb. 28 game sporting a season record of 16-8 and was the No. 12 seed into the initial field of 16. By contrast, Clarkston arrived in Yakima with the No. 5 seed and a season mark of 23-1.

Things went sour for coach Danny Graham and his squad from the game’s earliest moments. It didn’t take the Bantams long to race to a double-digit advantage, which was turned into a 19-3 lead by the end of the first period. Clarkston’s all-around performance led to a 33-13 halftime advantage and a huge third quarter gave the Eastern Washington crew a 58-21 lead when the buzzer ended the period.

In the end, the numbers told the story: Clarkston shot the ball better, dominated in the paint (32 points to Enumclaw’s 8) and received a greater boost from their reserves (29 points to Enumclaw’s 19).

The SunDome game marked the final appearance in a Hornet uniform for five seniors: Bella Firnkoess, Natalie DeMarco, Ellie Schmidt, Lilly Atkins and Ellie Ward.


White River 47, Archbishop Murphy 42

Saturday, March 2

White River: 12-15-13-7 – 47

Archbishop Murphy: 11-9-7-15 – 42

White River scoring: Vivian Kingston 20, Ava Bright 9, Josie Jacobs 7, Dakota Sprouse 5, Sophie Ross-Soler 3, Ally Green 2, Maggee Schmitz 1.

White River shooting, 19 of 54 from the field (35.2 percent); 3-point shooting, 2 of 17 (11.8 percent); free throws, 7 of 17 (41.2 percent).

White River 57, W.F. West 53

Friday, March 1

White River: 15-19-9-14 – 57

W.F. West: 17-19-10-7 – 53

White River scoring: Maggee Schmitz 15, Ava Bright 12, Dakota Sprouse 10, Josie Jacobs 8, Vivian Kingston 4, Lexie Banks 4, Ella Klemkow 2, Sophie Ross-Soler 2.

White River shooting, 19 of 49 from the field (38.8 percent; 3-point shooting, 7 of 19 (36.8 percent); free throws, 12 of 20 (60 percent).

Ellensburg 68, White River 49

Thursday, February 29

White River: 9-21-14-5 – 49

Ellensburg: 19-21-15-13 – 68

White River scoring: Ava Bright 17, Maggee Schmitz 10, Vivian Kingston 8, Josie Jacobs 6, Lexie Banks 4, Ally Green 2, Emma Voellger 2.

White River shooting, 16 of 44 from the field (36.4 percent); 3-point shooting, 4 of 12 (33.3 percent); free throws, 13 pf 23 (56.5 percent).

White River 54, Sammamish 32

Wednesday, February 28

White River: 9-9-16-20 – 54

Sammamish: 14-5-2-11 – 32

White River scoring: Maggee Schmitz 12, Dakota Sprouse 10, Ally Green 8, Josie Jacobs 8, Malia Froemke 6, Ava Bright 3, Ella Klemkow 2, Alle Klenkow 2, Lexie Banks 2, Vivian Kingston 1.

White River shooting, 19 of 58 from the field (32.8 percent); 3-point shooting, 7 of 17 (41.2 percent); free throws, 9 pf 18 (50 percent).

Clarkston 62, Enumclaw 32

Wednesday, February 28

Enumclaw: 3-10-8-11 – 32

Clarkston: 19-14-25-4 – 62

Enumclaw scoring: Camryn Thomas 7, Kalee Swanson 5, Bella Firnkoess 5, Ellie Schmidt 3, Natalie DeMarco 3, Kaidyn Johnson 3, Emma Holt 3, Ellie Ward 2, Lily Atkins 1.

Enumclaw shooting, 10 of 48 from the field (20.8 percent); 3-point shooting, 4 of 21 (19 percent); free throws, 8 pf 18 (44.4 percent).

EHS Hornet Ellie Schmidt pushes the ball upcourt against her opponent. Photo by Kevin Hanson

EHS Hornet Ellie Schmidt pushes the ball upcourt against her opponent. Photo by Kevin Hanson

WRHS Hornet Sophie Ross-Soler drives to the hoop. Photo by Kevin Hanson

WRHS Hornet Sophie Ross-Soler drives to the hoop. Photo by Kevin Hanson