All Washougal so far in 2A GSHL girls basketball

Beyonce Bea and the Panthers undefeated at midway point of league schedule

WOODLAND — They are cruising, yet they say they will not go into cruise control.

The Washougal Panthers still have a lot to prove.

Midway through the Class 2A Greater St. Helens League’s girls basketball schedule, the Panthers improved to 6-0 with a 30-point victory over second-place Woodland on Tuesday.

Yes, a 30-point win. Over the team that has now dropped into a three-way tie for second place.

Beyonce Bea scored 26 points, grabbed 18 rebounds, and recorded six blocked shots, leading Washougal to a 59-29 win.

Washougal’s Beyonce Bea splits a double-team on the way to the basket Tuesday night, helping the Panthers to another Class 2A Greater St. Helens League girls basketball victory. Bea had 26 points, 18 rebounds, and six blocked shots in a 59-29 win at Woodland. Photo by Mike Schultz
Washougal’s Beyonce Bea splits a double-team on the way to the basket Tuesday night, helping the Panthers to another Class 2A Greater St. Helens League girls basketball victory. Bea had 26 points, 18 rebounds, and six blocked shots in a 59-29 win at Woodland. Photo by Mike Schultz

“I didn’t think we’d beat them by that much,” Bea said. “That team is always solid.”

Yes, but Washougal is in a groove these days.

The Panthers now have a two-game lead over the Beavers as well as Hockinson and Mark Morris. Washougal’s closest victory in league play was a 12-point decision. The Panthers also believe they are just getting started.

“Now that we’ve seen all the teams we’ll be even more prepared to come out even stronger,” Bea said of the second round of league play.

Washougal has slowly moved up the state’s RPI rankings but as of Wednesday morning the team remains behind Mark Morris.

“Everyone ranked us below some of the teams we’ve beat,” Bea said. “It just makes us want to come out harder and prove them wrong.”

Two potential returners from last year’s state tournament team moved, and the Panthers did get a new coach this season, too. So far, though, the Panthers do not look like they have missed a step on this journey that they hope will lead them back to Yakima for the Class 2A state tournament.Kiara Cross, one of Washougal’s team captains, launches a shot Tuesday against Woodland. The Panthers scored the first 13 points of the game and rolled to another 2A GSHL victory. Photo by Mike Schultz

“We’re playing well, playing together,” coach Britney Knotts said. “That’s the biggest part. We’re playing together. We’re getting tougher every game, more confident, more aggressive.”

Knotts is learning about each player’s strengths and weaknesses. The players are learning their roles under a new coach.

The coach appreciates the depth on this squad. The roster gives her the ability to substitute freely without a drop-off in execution.

“If one player isn’t doing a job, someone else is ready to come in and do the job. I can pull a player out, talk to her, coach her, and get her right back out there,” Knotts said.

While many coaches see little or no value in looking at rankings, Knotts uses the RPI as a motivator. Sure, it’s just a computer spitting out numbers. But as of now, those numbers suggest Washougal is the 12th-best team in Class 2A girls basketball. Knotts wants her team focused on the next level, being prepared to face the teams in the top eight come playoff time.

As the squad prepares for the second round of league play, the players are trying to maintain the edge with intensity at practices.

“Our scrimmages get pretty competitive,” Bea said.

The Panthers also are not afraid to tell it like it is when something needs to be said.

“We can take accountability without taking offense,” Bea said.

Alexis Maniscalco came off the bench to score four points for Washougal. Coach Britney Knotts noted after the game that she has the luxury of a deep bench, allowing her to rely on reserves to keep her team’s momentum. Photo by Mike Schultz
Alexis Maniscalco came off the bench to score four points for Washougal. Coach Britney Knotts noted after the game that she has the luxury of a deep bench, allowing her to rely on reserves to keep her team’s momentum. Photo by Mike Schultz

The coach noticed that special bond her players have with one another.

“They all know each other so well. They’re like sisters, so they’re beating up each other,” Knotts said. “I’m constantly pulling them from each other.”

That might sound odd, but the coach meant that as a positive. The Panthers are pushing each other in order to be better prepared when they face opponents.

“We get so wrapped up into it,” Bea explained. “We’re all friends still. It’s OK.”

Against Woodland, the Panthers scored the game’s first 13 points. The Beavers never got to within single digits the rest of the night. Bea just kept adding to her stat line. She had two blocked shots on one possession, plus all those boards.

“I never really keep track of my stats,” she said. “I’m just focused on doing what I can to help the team.”

Ashley Gibbons, McKinley Stotts, and Maggie Hungerford each added six points for the Panthers in Tuesday’s win..

Washougal will open the second half of league play at home Thursday against R.A. Long.

Advertisement

About The Author

Paul Valencia joins ClarkCountyToday.com after more than two decades of newspaper experience. He became the face of high school sports coverage in Clark County during his 17 years at The Columbian. Before moving to Vancouver, Paul worked at Oregon daily newspapers in Pendleton, Roseburg, and Salem. A graduate of David Douglas High School in Portland, Paul enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving three years as a soldier/journalist. He and his wife Jenny recently celebrated their 20th anniversary. They have a son who has a passion for karate and Minecraft. Paul’s hobbies include: Watching the Raiders play football, reading about the Raiders playing football, and waiting to watch and read about the Raiders playing football.

Related posts