CHEHALIS - The playoffs have brought out the best in the North Thurston girls basketball team. And for the second consecutive game, the Rams fought off elimination in the 2A District IV tournament, defeating Aberdeen, 62-54, on Thursday night.
North Thurston point guard Catie Mets picked the right time for her best game. The junior scored a career-high 27 points, including 13 of 15 from the free-throw line, to help put the Rams in an unfamiliar position – in a winner-to-the-regional-round-of-state game against Chehalis at 6 p.m. Saturday at a site to be determined. Chehalis defeated Greater St. Helens League champion Woodland, 40-38, on Wednesday.
“We’re peaking at the right time,” North Thurston coach Alana Olson said. “We’re getting better every game.”
The Rams (7-15) and Aberdeen split their two regular-season meetings, including a 66-39 victory by the Rams on Jan. 21.
North Thurston was in control of most of the first half Thursday on the way to a 31-25 halftime lead. At one point during the fourth quarter, the Rams held a 10-point lead before the Bobcats, led by sophomore Mo Donovan, started chipping away. North Thurston’s lead was cut to two with 3 minutes left in the game before free throws made the difference down the stretch. Mets was 6-for-6 from the line and Elyssa Quichocho, who finished with 12 points, was 3-for 4 in the final few minutes. As a team, North Thurston was 25-for-34 compared with the Aberdeen’s 13-for-25.
North Thurston lost both times to Chehalis during the regular season, scoring 39 points in each of the two games, but Olson knows her team will go into Saturday’s game with a fresh mindset. North Thurston hasn’t been to state since 1994 (as a 4A school).
“We did get beat twice, but it’s the playoffs and anything can happen,” Olson said.
Tumwater 63, Mark Morris 59: The Thunderbirds rebounded from their semifinal loss Wednesday and avenged an earlier loss to the Monarchs to remain alive in the 2A District IV tourney.
Tumwater faces Chehalis, a 62-39 winner Wednesday over R.A. Long, in a winner-to-the-regional-round-of-state game at 8 p.m. Saturday at a site to be determined.
“I was extremely proud of everyone’s effort,” Tumwater coach Curtis Medved said. “It was unreal. (The game) was at our pace. We just had to string together enough stops, and that started to give us more confidence on offense.”
In a nip-and-tuck game, the T-Birds fought their way back after being down six just prior to the fourth quarter. Daniel Hinkle, who led all scorers with 25 points, sank a 3-pointer at the third-quarter buzzer to pull the T-Birds to 44-41.
Kyle Warner chipped in with 16 points for the T-Birds. Rem Bakamus (15 points) and Tanner Brill (13) led the Monarchs, who will miss the state tournament for the first time in 12 years.