Girls basketball: Prairie beats Camas for district title

Falcons have sights on more cutting down nets

By Paul Valencia, Columbian high school sports reporter

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Another mark on the checklist is complete for the Prairie girls basketball team.

The Falcons got their holiday tournament title in December. They clinched their Class 3A Greater St. Helens League title in January. And now, they have the district championship in February.

photoPrairie’s Cori Woodward goes up for two of her 13 points against Camas in Friday’s 3A district championship game at Fort Vancouver High School. Prairie won 59-42.

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The Falcons beat Camas 59-42 on Friday, cutting the nets at Fort Vancouver High School after earning their 14th district title in the past 15 years.

“We worked hard for this all season. It’s one more championship to add on to our belt, on the way to, hopefully, cutting down more nets,” said Megan Lindsley, who led a balanced attack with 15 points.

Prairie will open the bi-district tournament Friday at Hudson’s Bay High School, with the quest to earn one of six berths to the regional finals.

That’s for later. This night, it was all about district for Prairie (20-1).

“My team played great tonight,” Lindsley added. “It’s a great day to be a Falcon.”

Camas (16-7) will go to bi-district as the No. 2 seed from Southwest Washington. The Papermakers will play Wednesday.

Prairie took control of this matchup in the second quarter. Andrea Smith, off the bench, was aggressive inside, getting to the line. She had six of her nine points in the period, helping the Falcons extend a two-point lead to 13 by the half.

“I’m just so happy I got to finish out with a great district game in my last year,” Smith said.

Kelsey Asplund got the assignment to guard Camas post Jenka Stiasna and, with a little help from her friends, held Stiasna to eight points.

“It was really difficult at first,” Asplund said. “We doubled her, and that made it easier.”

Lindsley was 5 of 9 from the floor for her 15 points. Cori Woodward had 13 points and six assists running the offense. Asplund finished with nine points.

The Falcons played without senior Heather Corral, a University of Washington signee, because of an injured knee. She expects to be back for the bi-district tournament.

With or without her, the Falcons were not about to overlook the Papermakers. Camas led Prairie at the half in the teams’ most recent meeting.

“We knew coming in we were the better team,” Asplund said. “But we knew if they showed up and we didn’t, they could beat us.”

That’s one of the keys to Prairie’s success, coach Al Aldridge said. No matter how many winning seasons, league and district titles, his players know that the past does not guarantee a thing.

“Our student body sometimes takes it for granted,” Aldridge said. “It doesn’t make any difference. We’re still trying to accomplish our goals. Nothing is taken for granted in this program.”

Kendra Preuninger had the hot hand for Camas. She made four 3-pointers and finished with 14 points. Sierra Brown came off the bench to score 10 for the Papermakers. Stiasna had 14 rebounds to go with her eight points.

The game was close for a quarter -- Prairie taking a 12-10 lead after one -- but a 10-0 run in the second quarter gave the Falcons some breathing room.

Up 30-17 at the half, Prairie then scored the first eight points of the third quarter. Lindsley and Jackie Lanz each had 3-pointers in that spurt.

The lead grew to as much as 21 a few times in the fourth quarter.

By then, it was just a countdown to cutting down the nets.