Bearcats survive rally for win

Contributing writerFebruary 23, 2013 

TUMWATER – With a state tournament berth on the line and a gamelong lead turned the other way, W.F. West needed an infusion of energy.

Jamika Parker and the Bearcats found it late in the third quarter, then had to withstand a fourth-quarter 3-point barrage by Archbishop Murphy before claiming a 47-43 victory and a spot in the Class 2A state girls’ basketball tournament in Yakima next weekend.

“This is that type of team,” W.F. West coach Henri Weeks said. “Thankfully we’ve got kids like Jamika Parker, Julie Spencer and Katie Hankins.”

The Bearcats (20-4) can make travel plans for Yakima because they regained their footing after a 13-2 Murphy sprint in the third quarter gave the Wildcats their first and, as it turned out, only lead of the game.

“I was scared,” said the senior Parker, who led all scorers with 18 points and blocked eight shots. “I think our team just realized, hey, if we want to go to state, we can’t leave it out on the floor.”

Trailing 18-9 after an icy-shooting first half, Archbishop Murphy emerged from the halftime locker room with verve and confidence. The Wildcats got baskets from four different players in a run that earned a 22-20 lead with 2:20 left in the third, a stretch led by Anna Maher’s six points.

The Bearcats re-established their rhythm behind Spencer, a 6-foot-1 sophomore, who scored twice and fed Olivia Erskine for a basket down low as W.F. West took a 26-22 lead into the final quarter.

Parker, the 2A Evergreen Conference MVP, scored the first six points of the game and then reasserted herself with 12 points in the final quarter. The Wildcats kept it close with five 3-pointers, including two by MaireMichael Carroll.

Parker’s last basket, a put-back off an offensive rebound with 25 seconds left in the game, gave the Bearcats a 44-38 lead that Archbishop Murphy could not surmount.

Murphy came out ice-cold to start the game. The Wildcats missed all 11 of their attempts from the field in the first quarter but made all four of their free throws in the period to avoid a goose egg.

Hankins, the first post player off Weeks’ bench, scored six straight points to close the second quarter to give W.F. West its 9-point halftime lead.

“She puts her hard hat on,” Weeks said of Hankins.

Hankins finished with 11 points and Spencer eight for W.F. West. Beth Carlson’s 17 points led Archbishop Murphy, which finished its season with a 19-6 record.

W.F. West will learn its first–round opponent in a random draw Sunday.

GIRLS BASKETBALL: W.F. WEST 47, ATM 43

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