If you did not witness the game, if you just looked at the scoring, you never would have known Heather Corral was the best player on the court in the championship game of the Class 3A girls basketball state tournament.
She “only” scored six points. She “only” made one field goal.
She did just about everything else, though.
Prairie’s defense stifled Franklin in the final. Corral was the leader. She had six steals, deflected several other passes out of bounds, created havoc, forced bad shots and took a charge.
“I’ve been running the back of that press for four years. I guess I figured it out,” Corral said. “If you’re not shooting well, you can contribute other places.”
While she did not have her shot that night, she had her vision, with eight assists.
Moments after leading the Falcons to victory, she was named the tournament MVP. After an interesting season, dealing with various injuries, Corral is The Columbian’s All-Region girls basketball player of the year for a second straight year.
Last year, Corral’s regular season was awesome. But she tore a ligament in her knee, missed the last five games, and still earned All-Region honors.
This season, she had to take some time off. When she returned, she played sparingly in some games. Her coach, Al Aldridge, wanted to save her for the state tournament.
Then she unleashed all heck on her opponents in the three games in the Tacoma Dome.
Corral ruled the third quarter to start the winning rally in the quarterfinals. In the semifinals, she scored 13 of her 18 in the first half to set the tone. Then she led the Falcons to the program’s sixth state championship and first since 2003.
“Once all the starters came out of the game, it hit us,” Corral said. “We all started crying even before the game ended.”
Led balanced Prairie attack with 13 points per game, plus she destroyed just about every opponent’s game plan with her defense.
Voted the 3A Greater St. Helens League’s player of the year. Then was named the Class 3A state tournament MVP.
Along with Kelsey Asplund, Andrea Smith, and Aleah Walz, Corral is a member of the latest group of seniors who continued quite a winning tradition at Prairie. The Falcons have reached state 15 consecutive seasons.
More about Heather
Role model: Ashley Corral. “Watching her go through her injuries helped me go through mine.”
Favorite athlete: Kobe Bryant. “Til I die. We always have LeBron-Kobe arguments on our team. Five rings. That’s all I have to say.”
Book, movie, music: Tuesdays with Morrie, Avatar, Drake.
Next year and beyond
Heather has signed with the University of Washington, where she will become the second member of her family to have played in the Pac-12. Ashley is a senior at Southern California.
“By the fourth quarter, we were still running and the other team was starting to slow down.”
on when she knew the championship would be Prairie’s
Rest of All-Region first team
Brooke Bowen, sr., Skyview: 4A state tournament MVP, state champion.
Delaney Keser, sr., Skyview: Solid scorer, great passer, oh, and state champion.
Jackie Lanz, jr., Prairie: Voted to all-state tournament team, state champion.
Cori Woodward, jr., Prairie: Made the “leap” this year. And state champion.
All-Region honorable mention
Jocelyn Adams, so., Skyview: Beast inside scoring and rebounding; state champion.
Sydney Allen, sr., Camas: Could score and also was shut-down defender.
Haley Grossman, sr., Battle Ground: 1st-team all leaguer led Tigers in scoring.
Carly Holboke, jr., Mountain View: Led region in scoring at 24.3 points per game.
Megan Lindsley, jr., Prairie: Gives Falcons 3-pointers and defense; state champion, too.
Katie Swanson, sr., Skyview: Post brought a consistent presence; state champion.
Angelique Williams, sr., Union: Voted 4A GSHL co-player of the year; averaged 14 pts a game.