Friday’s 2A Girls District Basketball: Bearcats Overcome Slow Start to Best Beavers in District Opener
Adapt and Advance: W.F. West Turns to Tenacity to Topple Woodland 48-34
By Jordan Nailon
Things got off to a disjointed start here on Friday as W.F. West played host to Woodland in the opening round of the District IV 2A girls basketball tournament.
It took nearly three minutes before either team managed to notch a basket as turnovers and jump balls dominated the action. The Beavers were a collective force in the rebound battle right off the bat but couldn’t find a way to get the ball through the hoop for the first four minutes and change due to the length of the Bearcats defense and a bout of regular old shooting woes.
W.F West finished that first quarter with just an 8-5 advantage but eventually made enough adjustments to come away with a 48-34 win that will send them to the district semifinals next week.
Bearcats coach Kyle Karnofski chalked his team’s slow start up to a combination of nerves and a frustratingly effective defensive game plan by Woodland.
“They do a great job of transition defense and obviously one of our strengths is pushing the ball. That was one of our keys getting into the game so that kind of nixed a little bit of what we wanted to do because they do get back so that hurt us a little bit to start,” explained Karnofski. “Their style of play kind of contrasts what we try to do so kudos to them because we had to switch up what we were doing.”
Before their shots started falling W.F. West was able to get back on track by fortifying their rebounding effort. That included traditional boards off the rim as well as a never ending barrage of tie ups on loose balls or Beaver rebounds that wound up being ruled jump balls by the officials.
“Taya McCallum was a beast on the boards,” noted Karnofski.
McCallum finished with four points and a team-high 10 rebounds.
“They just want the ball. It’s been instilled in them from a very young age that when you’re on defense you are very tenacious. That’s just something that they’ve learned from the very beginning of their basketball careers and it’s infectious,” Karnofski said of his team’s unique ability to steal possessions from their opponents through sheer will.
With a 20-13 advantage at the intermission W.F. West came out of the locker room and committed themselves to feeding their post players in order to get their offense churning a bit. Drea Brumfield dropped in a game-high 13 points to go with seven rebounds and about a half dozen blocks. Annika Waring added 11 points and six rebounds while Maggie Vadala notched five points and ten steals.
“When we get the ball to our inside players we can do a lot of different things from that. We try to get them the ball in a lot of different situations and make some mismatches off of that,” Karnofski said. “I thought that Tehani Henry was great tonight. She finished with four points but my goodness were they an important four when she scored them.”
W.F. West bolstered their offensive production by knocking down 17 of 21 free throw attempts.
Woodland was led in scoring by Kaija Olson’s 11 points. However, she scored ten of those in the first half and the Beavers struggled to find an alternative on the offensive end down the stretch.
“We kept attacking but we got no reward for going in there. They were hacking the crap out of us but we got zero free throws,” Woodland coach Glen Flanagan said. “I think it made our girls a little gun shy.”
Woodland shot just 25 percent from the field in the contest and wound up at the free throw line only six times. Kelly Sweyer added nine points for the Beavers.
“Their pressure wasn’t great but we turned it over a bunch. It was a weird game,” added Flanagan. “I thought our defense kept us in it, though. We held W.F. West to 48 so we should’ve been in it. The girls played well, we just didn’t hit our shots.”
W.F. West will face Washougal in the district semifinals at 6 p.m. on Monday in Woodland.
BEARCATS 48, BEAVERS 34
Woodland 5 8 10 11 —34
W.F. West 8 12 15 13 —48
Woodland (34) — George 3, Olson 11, Foster 9, Sweyer 9, Christensen 2
FG: 12 of 48 —.250 FT: 4 of 6 —.667 Reb: 30 (Guthrie 13)
W.F. West (48) — Vadala 5, Brumfield 13, Mad. Mencke 5, K. McCallum 4, Waring 11, Henry 4, T. McCallum 4
FG: 14 of 48 —.291 FT: 17 of 21 —.809 Reb: 33 (T. McCallum 10)