The W.F. West High School girls basketball team has more than one defensive scheme — and all of them helped the Bearcats to a win Friday night at Tumwater High School.
But, with the Bearcats leading by six, coach Tom Kelly made a defensive adjustment at halftime that completely stumped an already cold-shooting Wapato team.
The fourth-ranked Bearcats pulled away quickly in the third quarter to breeze by the third-ranked Wolves, 69-50, in a Class 2A state regional game.
“It was a good win — a good team win,” Kelly said. “I’m really happy with the setup now. The RPI (rankings) paid off for us, so everything’s good.”
Win or lose, the Bearcats (20-4) were going to Yakima next week.
But the win secured W.F. West — which finished second to top-ranked Black Hills (21-1) in the first year of the WIAA’s RPI rankings system — a first-round bye at the SunDome.
Instead of playing in the opening round Wednesday, the Bearcats can scout the teams it could play on Thursday — either Archbishop Murphy, Black Hills or Prosser.
Archbishop Murphy faces Black Hills in a state regional contest Saturday.
“That was just a huge win,” Kelly said. “We’re in the double-elimination now. We don’t have to play Wednesday.”
Wapato (19-3) — seventh in the RPI — does play Wednesday in a loser-out game, based on how the state tournament is structured this year.
Every team ranked in the top eight is guaranteed to survive the regional round, but the losers only get one shot in the SunDome to keep their seasons alive.
Four players in double figures on Friday night quickly erased any worry for W.F. West.
Erika Brumfield, a sophomore, scored 12 of her game-high 18 points in the second half. She recorded a double-double, adding 12 rebounds.
Brumfield turned around for a short contested jumper early in the third quarter to kick off a 12-5 Bearcats run.
She capped that run with another basket two minutes later, giving W.F. West a double-digit lead it never lost.
“We attacked more than we normally did (in the second half), so that was good,” Brumfield said. “We’ve been working on that a lot.”
Julia Johnson (13 points), Kiara Steen (12) and Shasta Lofgren (10) all scored in double digits for the Bearcats.
“We just try to do our thing like we always do, and just try to take deep breaths,” Brumfield said.
Brumfield hit a pair of free throws — she was a perfect 6 of 6 from the line — to give W.F. West its largest lead at 21 points with 23.5 seconds to play.
Janealle Sutterlict answered with Wapato’s final basket, but it was far too late. Sutterlict scored 14 points for the Wolves, while Tarryn Hart had 15 and Jade Garza had 13.
But, the Bearcats dialed in on Wapato’s leading scorers in the second half, often leaving others open to solidify the win.
“The people in the stands are going, ‘Why are they leaving those girls open?’ I thought it worked,” Kelly said.
It was nearly flawless. W.F. West plays at 9 p.m. Thursday at the Yakima Valley SunDome.
“We’re super pumped for (the win),” Brumfield said. “We hope to carry this over to Yakima.”
W – Hart 15, Sutterlict 14, Garza 13, Gonzalez 4, Aleck 4
WFW – Brumfield 18, Johnson 13, Steen 12, Lofgren 10, Strasser 6, Bennett 6, Fast 3, Vadala 1