Published February 27, 2011
T-Birds get another shot at River RidgeGRANT CLARK; Contributing writer
TACOMA - All Tumwater wanted was another shot at the defending Class 2A state girls basketball champions. The Thunderbirds will get just that after Mackenzie Cooper scored 19 points and Katie Bergquist added 13 to power Tumwater to a 57-47 victory over Port Angeles in a loser-out game in the regional round of the state tournament Saturday at Mount Tahoma High School. The T-Birds advance to Thursday’s state quarterfinals in Yakima, where they will play Evergreen Conference foe River Ridge at 5:30 p.m. “We’ve been thinking about playing (River Ridge) again since the district championship game,” said Cooper, who scored 10 of her points in the second half. “Hopefully we can get some revenge.” The Hawks, who have won three out of the past four state championships, have won six in a row in the series, including three meetings this year. The Hawks won 60-51 and 82-46 in the regular season before besting Tumwater, 68-61, in a tight district-title contest on Feb. 18. The two schools have met twice at the state tournament with River Ridge winning both times, taking the 2007 2A championship game, 40-25, and winning a 2008 quarterfinal, 47-42. Tumwater (20-4) built a 43-30 fourth-quarter lead against Port Angeles (21-6) before the Rough Riders rallied to trim the deficit to four points at 48-44 on Jessica Madison’s 3-pointer with 1 minute, 38 seconds to go. The T-Birds, however, sealed their trip to Yakima with 9-for-10 shooting from the free-throw line down the stretch. Bergquist, who gave Tumwater some breathing room by hitting a 3-pointer with 2:51 to play, was 4-for-4 from the line in the closing minute. “It was a very physical game. We just tried to press and apply as much pressure as we possibly could,” Cooper said. “That’s what was working for us today.” Jordyn Richardson made a pair of first-quarter 3-pointers, helping Tumwater race to a 6-1 lead. Port Angeles, champion of the Olympic League, scored the final three points of the first half to trail 23-16 at intermission. Madison, who led all scorers with 22 points, scored 12 in the fourth quarter to help pull the Rough Riders back into the contest. Richardson and Taylor Weiks each scored 11 points for Tumwater, which last placed at the state tournament in 2007.