LACEY – Almost.
That was the first word out of River Ridge girls basketball coach Jackie Robinson’s mouth after the Hawks’ near upset of W.F. West in a battle of Class 2A’s top-five ranked teams Tuesday night.
River Ridge’s second-half comeback resulted in a last-second opportunity to send the game into overtime and possibly do what no other 2A Evergreen Conference team has done since the 2011-12 season: defeat the Bearcats.
Instead, second-ranked W.F. West escaped with a 45-42 victory, improving to 7-0 in EvCo and 13-2 overall.
Tuesday’s outcome was vastly
different from the first game in Lewis County, where the Bearcats won, 43-23.
The fourth-ranked Hawks (11-3, 4-3) had a shot at a possible tying 3-pointer after a stagnant first half during which River Ridge scored nine points.
With 6.4 seconds remaining and trailing 45-42, the Hawks’ Savannah McGill fouled W.F. West post and Washington State-bound senior Nike McClure. She missed a one-and-one at the free-throw line, but the battle for the loose ball ended up in the Bearcats’ possession.
“We were right there,” Robinson said.
Against a Bearcats squad that started a front line of 6-foot-3, 6-2 and 6-0, the Hawks had trouble on offense for much of the first half. And because of foul trouble on their two post players – Savannah McGill and Rebecca Stevenson, who each picked up two fouls in the first quarter – W.F. West’s lead was 21-9 at halftime after going on a 9-0 run to start the second quarter.
But using a full-court press in the second half, the Hawks generated offense off W.F. West turnovers – three in its first five possessions. McGill heated up inside, scoring 10 of the Hawks’ 13 third-quarter points.
The inside presence – as well as clutch outside shooting down the stretch – helped the Hawks twice cut the deficit to three points in the final minute. Of the Hawks’ final four field goals, MaKenna Schultz, Jazzlynn Brewster and Stevenson each made a 3-pointer.
“I’m pretty sure they’re devastated,” Robinson said of his team, “but I like the fight. They could’ve folded in the second half.”
Schultz, who made four 3-pointers, finished with a team-best 16 points, while Brewster and McGill had 10 apiece. McClure led the Bearcats with 16 points and 12 rebounds, and Julie Spencer and Katie Hankins had 14 and 10 points, respectively.Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473 firstname.lastname@example.org theolympian.com/ south-sound-sports-blog