2A, 1A, 1B state: Columbia River and King’s Way boys, La Center girls advance

Washougal girls, Columbia Adventist girls eliminated

Paul Valencia and Ken Vance

Three of the five Clark County small schools that made it to their state tournaments won Wednesday to advance to the quarterfinals.

The Columbia River boys are the lone Class 2A team left from the county. The King’s Way Christian boys and La Center girls won in their 1A brackets. All are playing at the Yakima Valley SunDome.

Washougal’s season ended in the 2A girls bracket.

And Columbia Adventist lost in Spokane, playing in the 1B girls tournament.

Class 2A boys

Columbia River 58, Fife 51

The Columbia River Chieftains put on a basketball clinic in the second quarter of their elimination game at the state tournament, building a cushion that they would need late in the game.

Jacob Hjort made five 3-pointers and scored 16 points, Nate Snook came off the bench to score 13 points, and Evan Dirksen added 12 points and four assists to lead the Chieftains into the quarterfinals.

Jacob Hjort, shown here earlier this season, made five 3-pointers in Columbia River’s win over Fife on Wednesday at the Class 2A state basketball tournament. Photo by Mike Schultz
Jacob Hjort, shown here earlier this season, made five 3-pointers in Columbia River’s win over Fife on Wednesday at the Class 2A state basketball tournament. Photo by Mike Schultz

“Really happy for our kids,” Columbia River coach David Long said. “They realize it’s quite an accomplishment. Only eight teams left, and we’re one of them. Everyone feels great about the win. Really special.”

The Chieftains used a 24-7 second quarter to take a 20-point lead.

Fife, though, would use a “phenomenal” press, Long said, to try to get back into the game. Fife, in fact, made it a four-point game with 1:33 to play in the game but River made enough free throws to secure the win.

“They made it interesting,” Long said, adding that the comeback had more to do with Fife’s “great play” in the fourth quarter than anything the Chieftains were doing wrong.

“It got a little nervous,” he said.

Snook and Dirksen had big second quarters when the Chieftains put it all together.

“We got shot everywhere. Evan Dirksen got a bunch of buckets around the rim, just playing smart, slipping screens and getting to the rim. Jacob hit some shots. The ball moved well, and our defense was good,” Long said.

“They were missing everything, and we were making everything. Glad we had it. We created the cushion we needed. Everything went right for us that quarter.”

Next up for Columbia River (20-4) is a matchup against Lynden (19-6). Game time is 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

“Lynden is good, but we are, too,” Long said. “We’re going to go after them. We came here to win this thing. We didn’t come here to play in it. We’ll put a game plan together and go after them, see if we can get them.”

Class 1A girls

La Center 51, Freeman 32

First thing, the La Center Wildcats did what they had to do Wednesday in order to advance to the Class 1A state quarterfinals.

Now they can worry about health.

Molly Edwards tied a state tournament record with seven 3-pointers, and the Wildcats rolled in the second half to top Freeman by 19 points at the Yakima Valley SunDome.

La Center’s Molly Edwards, shown here earlier this season, tied a state record by making seven 3-pointers in Wednesday’s win over Freeman. She finished with 22 points. Photo by Mike Schultz
La Center’s Molly Edwards, shown here earlier this season, tied a state record by making seven 3-pointers in Wednesday’s win over Freeman. She finished with 22 points. Photo by Mike Schultz

Edwards, though, hurt a shoulder late in the game, and Taylor Mills rolled an ankle earlier.

La Center coach Herm Van Weerdhuizen said only time will tell if they will be ready for Thursday’s elite eight game. The Wildcats (22-2) take on Medical Lake (22-0) at 3:45 p.m.

“I don’t think anybody else cares,” the coach added, noting that no other team will feel sorry for the Wildcats whether or not they are at full strength.

“I believe in our team. That’s why we have 11 players on the team,” he said.

In Thursday’s game, it was Edwards’ time to shine.

La Center got off to a fast start, but Freeman responded in the second quarter to make it a two-point game at the half. Then Edwards got really hot in the third quarter draining 3-pointer after 3-pointer as the Wildcats outscored Freeman 24-4 to take a 22-point lead.

“After that, we took the heart out of them,” Van Weerdhuizen said.

“Our defense was really good tonight, and Molly played like I always knew she could play,” he added.

Edwards led all scorers with 22 points. She also had six rebounds. Whitley Seter had another strong outing with seven assists and nine rebounds. Taylor Stephens had nine points, six rebounds, and three steals.

Medical Lake, the coach said, is fast and good. The Wildcats will have a challenge, healthy or not.

“I like our chances,” Van Weerdhuizen said. “We’ll just have to grind it out.”

Class 1A boys

King’s Way Christian 60, Cascade Christian 57

The Knights found a way … again.

That is how coach Daven Harmeling explained it after his team rallied to win in an elimination game at the Class 1A state boys basketball tournament.

Brady Metz hit two crucial free throws in the final 15 seconds, and the Knights defense was on the spot in the final second, leading King’s Way Christian to the state quarterfinals.

The Knights (15-10) will take on Lynden Christian (23-1) at 10:30 a.m. Thursday.

“Honestly, we did not play that well. We did not play well last week, either. We feel very fortunate to have won these games,” Harmeling said.

He added it is always better to find a way to win while struggling than to play well and throw away a game. Especially this time of year.

“It’s really exciting to guarantee ourselves at least two more games,” the coach said. “A great experience for the guys.”

By winning Wednesday, the Knights move into the double-elimination part of the bracket. They have to win three in a row to win a state championship, but one win in the next two games will assure them of playing Saturday for a trophy.

Cascade Christian led for most of the first half. The Knights caught up in the second half, and it was tight the rest of the way with nine lead changes.

“They came out in the fourth quarter in a zone,” Harmeling said, noting the Knights struggled against the zone last week at regionals. “We had a lot better offense against it (this week), in terms of getting the ball where it needed to be. That got us going emotionally, hitting those shots.”

Kefentse “Bubba” Cason, Metz, and Kob Cason were credited for applying the defensive pressure that helped the Knights down the stretch.

King’s Way went up seven points in the final two minutes, but Cascade Christian rallied to get within a point. Metz made two free throws with 15 seconds left.

A jump ball went to Cascade Christian with 3 seconds remaining, hoping to tie it with a 3-pointers.

“We guessed right on the action they were going to run,” Harmeling said. “Our guys were ready. Forced them to throw up a prayer from 35-40 feet.”

No good, and King’s Way Christian advanced.

Metz finished with 17 points. Khalfani Cason had 16, and Bryce Dodge added nine points.

Class 2A girls

Lynden 55, Washougal 46

A bad second quarter proved to be Washougal’s downfall Wednesday as the Panthers were eliminated from the state tournament with a 55-46 loss to Lynden at the Yakima Valley SunDome.

The Panthers jumped out to a 13-8 lead over the Lions in the first quarter, but then Washougal was outscored 19-6 in the second quarter to fall behind 27-19 at halftime. The Panthers were unable to recover from that deficit in the second half.

As she has done throughout the season, Beyonce Bea led Washougal. The 6-foot junior made six of her nine shots from the field, including her only 3-point attempt. She also made two of three free throws.

With her 15 points, Bea established a new Washougal school record for points in a season.

Tiana Barnett and Ashley Gibbons each had eight points for the Panthers while McKinley Stotts added seven points and Kiara Cross chipped in six points.

As a team, Washougal made six of its 11 shots from 3-point range, while the Lions made just two of 15 from behind the line. Lynden, however, converted on 17 of 23 chances at the free throw line while the Panthers made six of nine attempts.

Washougal finished the season with a 20-5 overall record.

Class 1B girls

Mount Vernon Christian 53, Columbia Adventist 30

A tough third quarter was too much to overcome for Columbia Adventist in the 1B girls bracket.

Mount Vernon outscored the Kodiaks by 11 in the period to take an 18-point lead.

The Columbia Adventist season came to an end with a record of 14-3.

Taylor Boatright led Columbia Adventist with seven points. Macey Pearson had a game-high nine rebounds to go with six points.

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