River Ridge, Black Hills girls win 2A District IV openers; advances to Monday's semifinals

Staff writerFebruary 14, 2014 

— By no means were the River Ridge Hawks looking past Washougal in the teams’ 2A District IV girls basketball opening-round game Friday night, but just minutes after their 82-55 victory over the Panthers, the Hawks are anxious for the matchup they’ve been waiting for since last season: facing the top-ranked Mark Morris Monarchs.

That’s who the No. 4 Hawks (17-3) get in Monday’s district semifinal game with a regional berth at stake at Kelso High School after the Monarchs’ 74-38 dispatch of Centralia. Game time is scheduled for 6 p.m.

“This whole season has let up to that,” River Ridge coach Jackie Robinson said. “They wanted a second chance at them. They’re excited about it.”

Monday’s other semifinal is an all-2A Evergreen Conference showdown between No. 2-ranked W.F. West and No. 5 Black Hills at 7 p.m. at Centralia.

The last time the Hawks and Monarchs (20-1) faced off was last year’s 2A state semifinals in the Yakima SunDome where Mark Morris escaped, 49-46 in overtime, and went on to defeat W.F. West the next night in the state title game.

That game is etched in the minds of the Hawks, including sophomore Makenna Schultz, who finished with 23 points on Friday, including five 3-pointers, to help her team extend its winning streak to six game.

“It was something that made our team closer,” Schultz said. “We think about it quite a bit, but we practice on getting better and learning what they did so we can win the next time.”

Senior Jazzlynn Brewster led all scorers with a game-high 27 points, as the Hawks had little trouble with Washougal, which falls into a loser-out game against Centralia on Monday. A 39-26 halftime lead quickly grew to 20 points and then 30 at 63-33 following Schultz’s third 3 of the game. It was part of a 17-3 run during a third quarter in which the Hawks held Washougal (13-8) to three field goals. In all, the Hawks hit 11 3-pointers in the game; Brewster with three, Morgan Bernethy with two (eight points total) and one from Savannah McGill, who was just shy of a double-double (nine points, 12 rebounds).

With River Ridge leading 63-35 entering the fourth quarter, the game stopped for 25 minutes as medics arrived to attend an injured River Ridge cheerleader. The cheerleader landed on the back of her neck while performing a stunt routine in-between the third and fourth quarters, and River Ridge assistant principal Mark VandenHazel said the cheerleader was OK, and was transported to the hospital as a precautionary measure.

Black Hills 50, Hockinson 38: It took a while for the Black Hills Wolves to get their game on track Friday night in their 2A District IV girls basketball tournament opener, something coach Tanya Greenfield attributed it “district-game jitters” but let up in the second half, leading the No. 5-ranked Wolves to a 50-38 victory over the Hawks.

Black Hills (17-4) now faces a familiar opponent – EvCo-rival W.F. West – in Monday’s semifinal scheduled for 7 p.m. in Centralia.

The difference-maker in the second half was taking more control and being more disciplined on offense, Greenfield said.

“We were frozen in the first half scoring-wise,” she said.

Nicole Nurmi had a game-high 12 points to lead the Wolves, and Shayla Smothers had 11.

"Nicole and Shayla took advantage of opportunities,” Greenfield said, noting that Nurmi got many of her points from the foul line.

W.F. West 66, Aberdeen 26: The No. 2-ranked Bearcats (19-2) failed to give up a 2-point bucket in their 2A District IV opening-round win over the Bobcats, who drained six 3-pointers and hit eight free throws.

Mark Morris 74, Centralia 38: The top-ranked Monarchs pulled away in the second half after leading by just seven at halftime, 33-27, for the 2A District IV victory over the Tigers.

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