Thursday titles: Washougal girls, King’s Way Christian boys win league championships

Washougal rallies for thrilling win over Columbia River; King’s Way Christian pulls away from La Center


VANCOUVER — The defending state champions did a whole lot of defending Thursday night.

The Washougal Panthers held Columbia River to one point in the fourth quarter, finishing the game on a 20-1 run to win the Class 2A Greater St. Helens League girls basketball title.

Bailey Meek (left) and Gage Koenders celebrate King’s Way Christian’s victory Thursday night over La Center to win the Trico League boys basketball championship. Photo by Mike Schultz
Bailey Meek (left) and Gage Koenders celebrate King’s Way Christian’s victory Thursday night over La Center to win the Trico League boys basketball championship. Photo by Mike Schultz

This was one of two league championship games played Thursday in Clark County.

In the Trico League boys race, King’s Way Christian pulled away from La Center for a 65-53 victory to claim the title.

In both games, the first-place team remained the first-place team.

Columbia River, a game out of the top spot heading into Thursday’s game, seemed poised to tie Washougal. Dejah Wilson made three 3-pointers in the third quarter and finished with 16 points to lead the Chieftains.

Her hot hand helped River to a 33-17 lead.

Then it was all Washougal. 

McKinley Stotts got hot from the outside — she connected on three 3-pointers in the Washougal rally — and Jaiden Bea’s steal and basket with with 1:10 to play gave Washougal a 42-40 lead.

The Chieftains went more than 10 game minutes without a field goal from the end of the third quarter and all of the fourth. 

“We had to come back with energy. Hustle plays were really going to change the game,” Bea said. “We worked hard to get it.”

“It was a little scary at first,” Stotts said. “They came out, and they were hitting their shots, and we just could not get a basket. We were all working our butts off, and I knew at some point it would pay off.”

Skylar Bea led Washougal with 15 points. 

Washougal improved to 11-0 in league play, 17-2 overall. Columbia River finished the regular season at 10-2 in league, 16-4 overall and will be the No. 2 seed to the district tournament. Washougal plays R.A. Long on Monday in hopes of a second consecutive undefeated league season.

“Last year our run started with our league title,” Jaiden Bea said. “Then we went to district. Then we got the state championship. This is another stepping stone for us, and we hope to keep improving.”

Stotts noted that this is a brand new team, of course. While the Panthers are the defending state champions, this league title is special, too.

“It took a lot to get here,” Stotts said. 

Over in La Center, King’s Way Christian improved to 9-0 in the Trico League. La Center fell to 8-2. The Knights are the champions.

Kobi Cason scored 20 points to lead King’s Way Christian to a 65-53 win over La Center. Photo by Mike Schultz
Kobi Cason scored 20 points to lead King’s Way Christian to a 65-53 win over La Center. Photo by Mike Schultz

Kobi Cason scored 20 points, Gage Koenders and Brady Metz each scored 16, and the Knights had no trouble erasing an early 10-point deficit. 

The Knights outscored the Wildcats by 14 in the third quarter to take a 19-point lead. They could pretty much celebrate from there.

Hunter Ecklund of La Center scored 24 points Thursday night. La Center finished second in the Trico League. Photo by Mike Schultz

Hunter Ecklund led La Center with 24 points. La Center will be the No. 2 seed from the Trico League at the upcoming district tournament.

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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