State regionals: Five local girls programs prepare to hit the road

Union assured of advancing to dome; four other teams in elimination games

Call if a buffet of basketball.

Want to watch a top-ranked team? You can.

Want to catch a couple of 16-seeds trying to surprise their way into the round of 12? You can.

Long road trips? Sure.

Or a tripleheader right here in Clark County? You got that, too.

Something for just about everyone as 13 teams from Clark County prepare to play in the WIAA’s state regional round.

In this post, we will highlight the five girls teams that are looking for victories this weekend. 

We also will have another story on the five boys teams traveling outside of Clark County, and yet another on the three boys teams playing at Battle Ground.

Class 4A girls

No. 7 Union (19-5) vs. No. 2 Todd Beamer (23-2)

8 p.m. Friday at Auburn Mountainview High School

At stake: Winner advances to state quarterfinals, March 5 in the Tacoma Dome. Loser goes to the round of 12, March 4, in the Tacoma Dome.

Mackenzie Lewis (22) and Mason Oberg (4) are all smiles after helping Union to a seven-seed for the upcoming Class 4A state girls basketball regional round. Photo by Mike Schultz
Mackenzie Lewis (22) and Mason Oberg (4) are all smiles after helping Union to a seven-seed for the upcoming Class 4A state girls basketball regional round. Photo by Mike Schultz

This scouting report should be pretty easy for both teams. They played each other Saturday in the bi-district championship game. Todd Beamer got the victory 45-38, but the Titans have found some confidence in an odd way.

The Titans lost by seven but only after going 0 for 14 in the third quarter. Coach Gary Mills said 12 of those shots were open. 

“It was like getting hit by lightning. Our team got hit by lightning,” Mills said. “I can’t believe that that happened to us. There’s no way we can shoot that poorly again.”

Certainly not a guarantee that Union will win. Just a coach’s view that an unlikely shooting quarter will repeat itself.

Mills also likes how his team can make changes on the fly.

“Our identity resides in a little bit in our ability to adjust,” he said, noting the team can score in the 70s or play a defensive battle in the 40s.

“One of our strengths is how smart the girls are, and they are willing to change what we do when it suits us,” Mills said.

Todd Beamer clearly knows how to adapt, as well. Beamer has won 20 consecutive games.

Please note this game is Friday. Of the 13 teams remaining from Clark County, this is the only game scheduled for Friday. 

Union all-leaguers: Mason Oberg (POY); Lolo Weatherspoon (1st); Mackenzie Lewis (2nd); Abbey Kaip (2nd).

No. 14 Camas (15-11) vs. No. 11 Lake Stevens (19-5)

4 p.m. Saturday at Jackson High School

At stake: Elimination game. Winner advances to round of 12 at Tacoma Dome, March 4. Loser is done. 

Camas coach Scott Thompson said he loves that he feels he has nine players who are good enough to start, making matchups difficult for opponents. Photo by Mike Schultz
Camas coach Scott Thompson said he loves that he feels he has nine players who are good enough to start, making matchups difficult for opponents. Photo by Mike Schultz

The Papermakers will rely on their defense to try to get them to the dome. They have held opponents to less than 40 points 10 times this season, including the victory to qualify for state against league-rival Skyview.

“I would say, more than anything, what defines our team is our pressure defense,” Camas coach Scott Thompson said. “We have searched far and wide, and we have a formula that has allowed us to pure pressure on teams for 32 minutes a game that is really unlike any team I have ever coached.”

Thompson said he has nine players he considers “starters.” Those nine use a “ton of energy” on defense to go after opponents.

Acknowledging that offense has been a struggle at times, Thompson said the Papermakers live and die on the defense.

Which makes this matchup interesting. Strength vs. strength, perhaps. Lake Stevens is averaging 65 points per game. 

Camas all-leaguers: Faith Bergstrom (1st); Kaitlyn Forner (2nd).

Class 3A

No. 14 Hudson’s Bay (18-7) vs. No. 11 Meadowdale (17-7)

6 p.m. Saturday at Issaquah High School

At state: Elimination game. Winner advances to round of 12 at Tacoma Dome, March 4. Loser is done. 

Jaydia Martin has been a force all season for the Hudson’s Bay Eagles. She was voted the 3A GSHL’s player of the year. Photo by Mike Schultz
Jaydia Martin has been a force all season for the Hudson’s Bay Eagles. She was voted the 3A GSHL’s player of the year. Photo by Mike Schultz

This is Bay’s second consecutive appearance in this state regional round. The Eagles lost a close one in an elimination game last year. Naturally, they want a trip to the Tacoma Dome in their final year in Class 3A. No matter what happens, though, this is a special group, according to coach Michael Rainville. 

“We haven’t won very much in any sport until the last couple of years,” he said of Hudson’s Bay. “It’s a really big deal here to win games. To be up there with the top teams in the league, to beat some teams that have totally beat us by large margins in the past, is a big deal.”

The Eagles have arrived, and they are still a program on the rise, as a number of key players are juniors, sophomores, and freshmen. 

“They are really a close-knit group,” Rainville said. “You can tell, with that celebration after the Prairie game. Not many teams would do what we did. A dance party in the middle of the floor. Cutting the nets when we haven’t won a championship. That was special, that reaction.”

That was the bi-district semifinals, and it was only the second win for Bay over Prairie in program history and first this century. Yes, it was a huge moment for the Bay program. 

Meadowdale won its last three games in its district tournament. 

A tough challenge for the Eagles, but Rainville said his squad is up for it. A year ago, the Eagles had to fight just to get to state regionals. But they learned from that experience.

“It showed us we can compete at that level,” the coach said. “If we put it together and play well, we can beat anybody.” 

Hudson’s Bay all-leaguers: Jaydia Martin (POY); Kamelai Powell (1st); Paytin Ballard (2nd).

No. 16 Prairie (14-9) vs. No. 9 Garfield (18-7)

4 p.m. Saturday at Sammamish High School 

At stake: Elimination game. Winner advances to round of 12 at Tacoma Dome, March 4. Loser is done. 

The defending champions made it back to state for the 23rd consecutive season. 

This team just might appreciate that streak more than any other. After all, this team had its doubters.

“I think it means everything to the girls,” Prairie coach Hala Corral said. “Early on in the season, they felt they were counted out by everybody. We told them to stay focused. ‘Keep doing what we’re doing. Keep working on what we’re doing, and we’ll be fine.’ They kept battling.

“This year, by far, is the funnest year as a coach,” she added. “We had to earn everything. These girls have a lot of heart. They take a lot of pride in the tradition. They weren’t going to come up short.”

Yes, this squad did reach state, but it will take one more win to make it to the dome. 

It will be a challenge. Garfield is 13-3 in its last 16 games, with all three losses coming against top-seed Eastside Catholic. 

The Falcons understand pressure, though. State playoff games? That’s home for the Falcons.

“They just like to have fun,” Corral said of this group. “We have music going on the whole practice. They’re doing a little dancing in between drills. It’s pretty laid back. Intense, but laid back, if that makes sense.” 

Prairie all-leaguers: Allison Corral (1st); Meri Dunford (1st); Claire Heitschmidt (1st); Dayna Vera (2nd).

Class 1B

No. 14 Columbia Adventist (11-11) vs. No. 11 Lummi Nation (16-9)

8 p.m. Saturday at Mount Vernon High School

At stake: Elimination game. Winner advances to round of 12 at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena, March 4. Loser is done. 

This is the third time Columbia Adventist has reached the state tournament.

The Kodiaks do not expect this to be the last time.

“We’re all freshmen and sophomores,” coach Laurisa Pearson said. “We’re a little, quick team. They’ve grown up playing basketball together since first, second grade. It’s been awesome watching them grow up together, having fun together.”

Two years ago, Columbia Adventist won in this elimination round and made it to Spokane. A couple players on this year’s team had older sisters on that team.

“They are super excited they might have the chance to go to Spokane,” Pearson said. Columbia Adventist all-leaguers: Leah Pearson (co-POY); Maddie Deitrich (1st); Brenna Sherrill (1st).

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.

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