Washougal opens hoops season with girls basketball victory

WASHOUGAL — For the record, Alanna Jackson of Evergreen got the first points of the high school girls basketball season in Clark County.

Nine seconds later, Beyonce Bea of Washougal responded.

Then Bea kept responding, kept scoring, and led the Panthers to a 75-33 victory over the Plainsmen in a non-league game Monday night at Washougal High School.

A few miles west in Vancouver, Mountain View rallied from an early deficit to beat Washougal 77-72 in the first boys game of the season.

The start of the winter sports season always starts in the fall. And technically, it’s been going on for a week now as high school bowling got it rolling before Thanksgiving.

Washougal won the first girls basketball game in Clark County this season, and by the end of the week, winter sports will be dominating the sports schedule.
Ashley Gibbons (left) and Beyonce Bea were all smiles Monday night after Washougal opened the high school girls basketball season with a 75-33 win over Evergreen. Bea finished with 25 points and Gibbons added seven. Photo by Paul Valencia

Starting this week, basketball, wrestling, gymnastics and boys swimming events can be scheduled.

At Washougal, the Panthers got their season started with Bea coming close to a triple-double. She finished with 25 points, nine steals, and eight rebounds, to go along with five assists.

Early in the game, teammate Ashley Gibbons got a steal and an assist to Bea. Less than a minute later, it was Bea with a steal and an assist to Gibbons.

“We’ve been waiting for this moment,” Gibbons said of opening night. “I’ve been pumped, honestly. We’ve all been working super, super hard in practice. Finally, it’s here. Can’t wait for the rest of the season.”

“I’m just excited to play with so many new players and a new coach,” Bea said. “We’ve been working hard. Excited to see how it will work out.”

The new coach is Britney Knotts, who is now officially 1-0 in her coaching career.

“A lot of nerves. A lot of nerves,” she said. “Today reinforced a lot of what I’m teaching them. Of course there is a ton of talent on this team. I’m very fortunate.”

Washougal won the first girls basketball game in Clark County this season, and by the end of the week, winter sports will be dominating the sports schedule.
The Washougal Panthers are hoping for another successful basketball season but with new leadership. Britney Knotts is now the head coach of a program that has reached the state tournament the past two seasons. The Panthers won their season opener Monday night against Evergreen. Photo by Paul Valencia

Washougal has qualified for the Class 2A state tournament the past two seasons. The Panthers have four new players on varsity this season. With Bea leading the way, expectations remain high.

“I’ve been feeling the pressure,” Knotts said. “Glad they came to play tonight.”

The Panthers are enjoying the process of getting to know each other.

“Practices are fun,” Bea said.

“But we were ready for a game,” Gibbons added.

While the game did get away from them, the Plainsmen had some moments, too.

In the first quarter, Evergreen’s Ahna Burney deflected a Washougal pass and Ariana Mendiola got to the loose ball to start a fast break. Mendiola performed a spin move with a no-look, behind-the-back bounce pass back to Burney for an easy lay-up. Even in defeat, the Plainsmen had their highlight of the night.

Burney led the Plainsmen with 12 points.

In the coming months, new highlights, new career highs will be made all over Clark County in basketball. Top scores will be recorded in gymnastics. Personal bests will be made in boys swimming. Victories are to be claimed in wrestling. And high games will be rolled in bowling.

Winter starts in December. Winter sports is going on strong starting now.

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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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