It’s fair to say the Black Hills High School girls basketball team dialed it up a notch in its Class 2A state tournament opener.
The sixth-ranked Wolves had to rally past Liberty of Issaquah last Friday to advance to the Yakima Valley SunDome, but left no doubt in a 60-46 first-round victory over fifth-ranked White River on Wednesday afternoon.
Black Hills grabbed a 9-1 lead in the first few minutes and extended it to 13 points before the first half was over. Four of the Wolves’ first six baskets were assisted, and the other two came after steals.
“Everybody was digging down on defense and the offense started to come,” said point guard Lindsey Nurmi, who finished with a game-high 18 points, despite fouling out.
The Wolves have had a bad habit of having absent-minded stretches in games, or nights with too many turnovers. They had just 11 turnovers against White River and stayed on task throughout the contest.
“I talked to them a lot before the game about narrowing their focus — don’t think about things outside your team, outside the floor or outside the bench,” Black Hills coach Tanya Greenfield said.
Balanced scoring behind Nurmi was a result. Forward Maisy Williams scored 12, including a pair of impressive cross-under layups, Jordyn Bender had nine, Megan River had eight and Saleen Lee pitched in six. Ten players played in the game for Black Hills, and all contributed.
Freshman Kaitlyn Carson, primarily a JV player this season, came in during the midst of the Wolves’ decisive 13-0 third-quarter run and scored a basket in the post to keep the rally going.
“White River is small, Kaitlyn’s tall, but she’s also quick, so she created a mismatch for them,” Greenfield said.
The Hornets hung around, though, with Kara Marecle — who made three 3-pointers — leading the way with 17 points and Georgia Lavinder scoring 12.
Shortly after Nurmi picked up her fourth personal foul with just over six minutes to play, White River cut the lead to 48-41.
Greenfield never gave a thought to taking Nurmi out.
“She’s a senior, it could have been her last game, it was do or die,” Greenfield said. “The team wrote on the board that they were playing for No. 30 today. They had to show that in the last two minutes.”
Once Nurmi fouled out, on an offensive foul with two minutes, 24 seconds to play, Black Hills finished the game on a 10-5 run.
“It frustrated me,” Nurmi said. “But I knew no matter what my team had my back and we were going to be OK.”
Black Hills (20-5) meets a 2A Evergreen Conference rival in top-ranked W.F. West (22-2) at 2 p.m. Thursday in the quarterfinals. The Bearcats have won all three matchups between the programs this season, including unseating the Wolves for the 2A Southwest District title.
“The fourth time’s the charm,” Nurmi said. “We know what we can do. Everyone has to play their best.”
NO. 6 BLACK HILLS
NO. 5 WHITE RIVER
BH – Williams 12, River 8, Bender 9, Nurmi 18, Greenfield, S. Lee 6, Carson 2, Sayahod 3, Serhan, Bovenkamp 2
WR – Narolski 8, Robbins, Marecle 17, G. Lavinder 12, S. Lavinder 5, Mills 2, Cash 2, Schmidtke, Goethals, Fiedler, Forsman