Sitting in the locker room after a 2A Evergreen Conference victory in January, River Ridge’s 6-foot-1 sophomore post was disappointed in her performance.
“She said, ‘Coach, I didn’t get enough rebounds,’ ” Hawks coach Jackie Robinson recalled. “I’ve never had a kid tell me they were mad because they didn’t have enough rebounds. Most kids are focused on scoring, but she’s devoted to doing the little things.”
As the Hawks (19-5) prepare for Thursday’s 2A state quarterfinal game against Burlington-Edison (21-3) at 7:15 p.m. at the Yakima Valley SunDome, McGill has quietly gone about her business of doing what she has done all season: crashing the boards and corralling every rebound she can.
She knows what her role is on a River Ridge team looking for its first state trophy since 2011. Points are secondary for McGill.
“I do whatever helps the team,” she said. “I try to get the rebounds and turn it over to the offense. I just try to get under the basket and stay strong.”
As a starter in all 24 games – after seeing time between junior varsity and varsity last season – McGill has been a difference maker, Robinson said, especially this postseason. She’s averaging double figures in points and rebounds in five playoff games, including eight points and 13 rebounds in the Hawks’ 43-35 come-from-behind win over White River that sent them to state quarterfinals.
Robinson called McGill invisible.
“Nobody pays attention to her,” he said.
During a 44-36 non-league loss
to Auburn Mountainview in early December, McGill snagged a career-high 21 rebounds. But it wasn’t until Robinson watched game film the following day that he realized how amazing McGill’s performance was.
“We’re like one, two ... and after the first quarter, she had nine (rebounds),” he said.
Of the Hawks’ five losses this season, four have come to teams in the final eight of the state tournament – Renton, W.F. West (twice), and Mark Morris. It could be a rematch from the 2A District IV semifinal should River Ridge and top-ranked Mark Morris win their quarterfinal games. The Monarchs beat the Hawks, 60-48, on Feb. 12 in the district tournament after the Hawks held an 18-point lead.
A soccer player in the fall, McGill also is a manger on the Hawks’ boys soccer team, which had its first practice Monday for the spring season. But shagging soccer balls during practice will have to wait – until she’s finished in Yakima.
“I guess that’s OK,” she said.
CLASS 2A STATE BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT
The favorite: Mark Morris
Tournament lowdown: The 2A Southwest District IV is well-represented, as three of the teams in the eight-school field are from District IV. The Eaton twins – Kourtney and Karley – have carried top-ranked Mark Morris all season, and despite the Monarchs’ lack of size (tallest player is 5-10), it has shown it can beat teams with height as it defeated district rival W.F. West twice (61-45 and 49-43). ... What does Mark Morris, W.F. West and Renton have in common? Those teams combined to give River Ridge four of its five losses. Hawks coach Jackie Robinson says his team matches up well with Burlington-Edison, which also features an up-tempo style. ... Surging West Valley of Spokane started the new year 4-4 but has since won 15 of its last 16 games. ... This is Cedarcrest’s first state tournament appearance for girls basketball. SCHEDULE
Thursday’s quarterfinal games
Game 1: Wapato (21-2) vs. Renton (20-4), 3:45 p.m.
Game 2: Cedarcrest (22-3) vs. W.F. West (20-4), 5:30 p.m.
Game 3: River Ridge (19-5) vs. Burlington-Edison (21-3), 7:15 p.m.
Game 4: Mark Morris (22-2) vs. West Valley-Spokane (20-6), 9 p.m.
Game 5 (consolation loser-out): Loser 1 vs. Loser 2, 12:15 p.m.
Game 6 (consolation loser-out): Loser 3 vs. Loser 4, 2 p.m.
Game 7 (semifinal): Winner 1 vs. Winner 2, 7:15 p.m.
Game 8 (semifinal): Winner 3 vs. Winner 4, 9 p.m.
Fourth/sixth-place: Winner 5 vs. Winner 6, 9:30 a.m.
Third/fifth-place: Loser 7 vs. Loser 8, 1 p.m.
Championship: Winner 7 vs. Winner 8, 7 p.m.Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473 email@example.com theolympian.com/southsoundsports @megwochnick firstname.lastname@example.org