Eagles beat Prairie in 3A bi-district girls basketball semifinals; Union and Battle Ground boys to play for 4A bi-district title
VANCOUVER — Oh, it mattered.
Even if the brackets did not care. Even if both teams were going to state regardless of Wednesday night’s result.
It certainly mattered to the Hudson’s Bay Eagles.
Hudson’s Bay topped Prairie in girls basketball for the first time this century, holding on for a 46-45 victory in the semifinals of the Class 3A bi-district tournament Wednesday at Columbia River High School.
“We haven’t beat Prairie. Our goal this whole year is to prove everybody wrong and that we can be up there, we can be at the top,” said Jaydia Martin, who scored all 17 of her points in the first half as Bay jumped out to a big lead.
“We pushed really hard these last few seasons to work, just to beat Prairie. We’ve beat Kelso before, but we’ve never beat Prairie,” Martin said. “It’s so big, and I’m so happy.”
Prairie is the most successful 4A and 3A girls high school basketball program in Washington with its seven state championships, including one last season. According to Prairie’s record keeping, the Falcons were 63-1 all-time against the Eagles. That one loss, while not noted when, came before this century.
The Eagles had to survive a Prairie push in order to taste victory. Prairie, which trailed by 13 early in the fourth quarter, finished the game on a 13-1 run and had two shots in the final 15 seconds to take the lead. Prairie’s last look bounced off the rim at the horn.
“When I saw the shot go up, I was like, ‘Please do not go in,’” Martin said. “When it didn’t, it was so cool to see all of our community and all of our teammates come together and be able to celebrate as a family.”
Paytin Ballard added 14 points for Bay, including the first four Bay points of the fourth quarter to go up by 14.
“We had planned this. This was our goal the entire season. If there’s a time to beat Prairie, it’s definitely now,” Ballard said. “If anybody’s going to do it, it’s going to be us.”
They couldn’t wait for Saturday to celebrate, though. Beating Prairie was enough for the Eagles to cut down the net at Columbia River High School.
Prairie beat Hudson’s Bay twice in the regular season to earn the 3A Greater St. Helens League title.
Claire Heitschmidt and company almost made it 3-0 against the Eagles. Her 3-pointer in the final minute made it a one-point game. She then got a steal to give the Falcons the chance to take the lead. Heitschmidt led the Falcons with 15 points.
As final four teams in the bi-district, both had already advanced to the state regionals.
Hudson’s Bay now has a game for the bi-district championship. The Eagles will play Lincoln at 2 p.m. Saturday at Puyallup High School.
Hudson’s Bay head coach Michael Rainville was the last one up the ladder, to get his piece of Hudson’s Bay history.
Wait. What? Cutting down a net for a semifinal victory?
Yes, but this was not a typical win.
For Hudson’s Bay, it was a signature victory against the greatest girls basketball program in the region.
A busy Wednesday on the basketball court will lead to another all-Clark County matchup on Saturday. Here are the notes from the other Wednesday games.
Class 4A boys:
Union and Battle Ground to meet again: The Union Titans and Battle Ground Tigers will face each other for the bi-district championship.
Union improved to 23-0 with an 83-65 win over Sumner on Wednesday. Battle Ground won its semifinal 63-59 over Kentwood.
Union beat Battle Ground twice in the regular season but needed a last-second layup to top the Tigers in the second game.
Cole Billingsley got a steal and a layup in the closing seconds of overtime, lifting the Tigers past Kentwood.
The Titans, meanwhile, had little trouble against Sumner, up by 30 points at one time.
As of Wednesday night, the bracket still showed that the championship game would be played in Puyallup on Saturday. Do not be surprised, though, if that game is moved to Clark County.
Federal Way 70, Skyview 65: The Eagles avenged an earlier loss to Skyview in the consolation semifinals of the bi-district tournament. While the game will have an impact on RPI, both teams had already clinched berths to state regionals.
Class 3A boys:
Central Kitsap 57, Prairie 52: The Falcons saw their season come to an end in the consolation bracket of the 3A bi-district tournament. Prairie trailed by double digits early, rallied to take the lead, but Central Kitsap got the final rally for the win.
Washougal 55, R.A. Long 37: The defending Class 2A state champions stayed alive in the District 4 tournament and will get a shot to return to state. The Panthers beat R.A. Long for the third time this season. McKenna Jackson and McKinley Stotts each scored 10 points to lead the Panthers.
Tumwater 61, Hockinson 38: Hockinson’s season came to an end with a loss to the league champion from the 2A Evergreen.
Next: Something’s gotta give. The 2A GSHL champion and Evergreen champion will square off Saturday for the district’s final berth to state. Washougal vs. Tumwater at 6 p.m. at Woodland High School.
Washougal is No. 3 in the state’s RPI. Tumwater is No. 4. One of them will not be making it to the sweet 16.
Elma 66, La Center 40: Elma is going to the state tournament after a convincing win over La Center.
And in this district tournament, the loser of the championship game does not automatically advance. La Center will have to face Montesano in a “play-back” game at 6 p.m. Friday at W.F. West High School. La Center beat Montesano last week.Montesano 43, King’s Way Christian 29: Montesano survived an elimination game, ending King’s Way Christian’s season with a solid defensive performance.