By Meg Wochnick
KENT For two-and-a-half quarters, the River Ridge Hawks played like freshmen and sophomores according to coach Jackie Robinson.
There were 15 turnovers. Nothing was working in the paint. There was hit-and-miss shooting, and most importantly, the brand of basketball known to the Hawks was non-existent during Fridays 2A girls regional game against White River.
Then, the Hawks changed gears and did something theyre known for full-court pressure and trapping known as complete chaos by players and coaches.
It worked in River Ridges favor, holding the 2A SPSL champion Hornets to just four-second half field goals and forced an eye-popping 18 turnovers in the final two quarters in its 43-35 come-from-behind victory over White River at Kent-Meridian High School.
The win makes the Hawks (19-5) one of eight teams headed to the state quarterfinals at the Yakima SunDome starting Feb. 28 while White Rivers season ends at 21-5.
White River was the more aggressive team for 16 minutes, taking a 25-17 lead into the lockerroom. A 10-0 run the final 4 minutes of the second quarter gave the Hornets their first double-digit lead at 25-14. A sagging man defense by White River left little success in the paint for the Hawks, and at one point, had more turnovers than points.
Question marks surrounded the Hornets health entering the game with Kennedy Hobert (fractured wrist) and Sutton Mills (concussion), but coach Chris Gibson said pre-game both were cleared to play after Mills sat out Mondays West Central District III title game against Sumner with Hobert seeing limited time.
Even with White Rivers lead at 31-19 inside 4 minutes of the third quarter, River Ridge wasnt done. The group just believed, Robinson said. They believed the whole time.
Thats when the Hawks went to work.
In the final 12 minutes, they had nine steals, pressuring the Hornets from the inbounds at every possession possible. They also outscored White River, 26-10 in the final two quarters and with 3:58 to go in the game, freshman MaKenna Schultz's top-of-the-key 3 gave the Hawks their first lead since early in the first quarter at 34-33. They never trailed again.
I think that turned it all around, said Brewster, who had a game-high 17 points and four steals. Once she hit that, everything changed.
Schultz had all nine of her points in the second half. Savannah McGill had eight of her 10 points in the second half and also pulled down 13 rebounds.
The Hornets had 17 possessions in the fourth quarter and made just one field goal. All four of their points in the fourth came from Hobert (field goal and two free throws), who finished with 15 points. Amanda Lance and Crystal Narolski had 10 points apiece as the three Hornets to score. After shooting 10 of 31 in the first half, White River shot 4 of 20 in the second.
River Ridge 43, White River 35
RR: 10 7 8 18 -- 43
WR: 10 15 6 35-- 35
RR: Brewster 17, Schultz 9, McGill 8, Stevenson 5, Baker 2, Scott 2
WR: Hobert 15, Narolski 10, Lance 10