Thursday’s 2B Girls BB: Tigers Shut Down Mules in Second Half
STATE: Napavine Goes on 25-Point Second-Half Run in 53-27 Quarterfinal Win Over Wahkiakum
By Aaron VanTuyl
SPOKANE — It didn’t look much like the teams’ first meeting, but the end result wound up being close enough for the Tigers.
Napavine used a 25-0 run in the second half to dismantle Wahkiakum, 53-27, here Thursday in the quarterfinals of the State 2B girls basketball tournament.
That big run was essential, as the Tigers trailed 20-17 just a minute and a half into the third quarter against a team they’d beaten, 71-30, back on Jan. 16.
“The girls had that pressure on them that they should be up 20 at halftime and it should be over,” Napavine coach Jeremy Landram said. “We were forcing it inside, we weren’t moving the ball around, so we just talked about doing what we do, at our speed.”
Maddy Mace opened the second half with a 3-pointer for Wahkiakum, but the Mules wouldn’t hit another field goal or score a point until the Ellie Leitz’s bucket inside with 4:15 left in the game.
By that point the Tigers had rattled off their run — 25 points, with 12 from Melissa Lee and a trio of 3-pointers from senior guard Becca Snaza.
“At first we were really scared, and we just told each other that we needed to get it together, start pushing each other, and be a better team,” Snaza explained, of the second-half run. “We started thinking, ‘We got this.’ If you just work as a team it’ll be okay.”
The Mules, after getting three 3-pointers from standout guard Macie Elliott in the first half, went just 1 of 10 from long range and 3 of 21 from the field after the break, and trailed the Tigers 42-20 by the time Leitz broke up the run.
“Our defense is what’s gotten us here, all year long,” Landram said. “Through all the adversity and everything, we’ve kind of based our team on defense, no matter who’s in there. And if we didn’t play good defense, that game would have been over. It would have been 30-10 at halftime.
“Our defense kept us in it,” he added. “And it was just a matter of time.”
Lee finished with 25 points on 11 of 14 shooting, with six rebounds and four steals. Snaza finished with 9 points, and Mollie Olson scored 8 with nine rebounds, four assists and two blocked shots. Freshman Sydney Purvis added 7 for the Tigers.
Elliott’s 9 points led Wahkiakum, and Leitz scored 6 with seven rebounds.
Landram said the Mules looked better than in the teams’ regular-season matchup six weeks earlier.
“He’s done a really good job on developing those young kids,” Landram said of Wahkiakum coach Rob Garrett. “They’ve gotten better. I’m sure they had less turnovers (13 on Thursday, down from over 30 on Jan. 16), they just didn’t make any shots.”
The win puts Napavine in Friday’s State 2B semifinals against defending State 2B champion Davenport — which beat Napavine in the first round last year — on Friday in the state semifinals, and secured at least a sixth-place finish for the Tigers. Davenport beat Life Christian, 55-49, in another quarterfinal on Thursday.
TIGERS 53, MULES 27
Napavine 10 7 13 23 —53
Wahkiakum 9 8 3 7 —27
Napavine (53) — Sevilla, Olson 8, Purvis 7, Snaza 9, Lee 25, Evander 4
FG: 21 of 42 —.500 FT: 7 of 9 —.778 Reb. 33 (Olson 9)
Wahkiakum (27) — Ashe 3, P. Mace, M. Mace 5, Elliott 9, Leitz 6, Merz 4
FG: 9 of 44 —.205 FT: 5 of 7 —.714 Reb. 25 (Leitz 7)