The Prairie girls basketball team cut down the nets and celebrated another district championship Friday night at Columbia River High School.
Now, after waiting eight days to play in the Class 3A district title game, the Falcons will have to wait another week to open the bi-district tournament.
“I don’t want to do it again,” senior Cori Woodward said after Prairie beat a tough Kelso squad 63-49. “It’s awful. It’s so hard to practice and not play. It’s the most frustrating thing.”
She and her teammates hope, though, that they worked out the kinks from such a long lay-off in this one and will be better prepared for next week.
Because none of the Falcons were satisfied with their performance.
Kelso used a 16-3 run from the end of the first half into the start of the third quarter to pull within six points. This is the same Kelso team that scored 15 points — for a game — against Prairie earlier this season.
While Prairie never lost the lead, this game was not decided until the fourth quarter.
“We didn’t shoot very well. That’s always a problem,” Woodward said.
Indeed, the Falcons made 23 of 67 from the floor (34 percent).
So they got defensive. Woodward had seven steals. Nicole Goecke, Lindsay Asplund, and Aislinn Konig had four apiece. In all, the Falcons forced 34 turnovers.
Down 10 in the fourth quarter, Kelso turned the ball over five consecutive possessions and six of seven. Cherita Daugherty and Goecke each had steals and coast-to-coast lay-ups during that stretch, pretty much securing the victory for the Falcons.
“That’s the one thing I can do to help my team when my shot is off,” Goecke said. “It’s cool to see it work out. Our game has always been defense.”
Woodward led the Falcons with 15 points and seven assists. She was 8 for 8 from the free throw line. Goecke finished with 13 points, and Megan Lindsley had 12 for the Falcons.
Sierra Richards kept Kelso close with 16 points and 17 rebounds.
“They played good,” Woodward said of the Hilanders. “Their post (Richards) just took it to us. She was the reason we didn’t dominate because she was dominating.”
This was Prairie’s 15th district title in the past 16 years but first under coach Mike Smith. Goecke called the Falcons “underdogs” this year because of the change on the bench.
“They didn’t expect us to come back (strong) because of the new coach. But we did it,” she said.
Woodward said she does not take any of these titles for granted. For Smith, he said it feels good to cut down the nets and get the trophy. However …
“Our journey doesn’t stop here,” he said. “We’ll celebrate a little bit and be ready to go next Friday.”
He hopes his team will play better next week after experiencing this first long break.
“You’ve got to be able to overcome these kinds of things,” Smith said. “Our girls did a good job of that tonight.”
PRAIRIE 63, KELSO 49
Kelso – Brianna Salberg 8, Kailynn Rae 2, Taylor Flick 13, Jamilee Iddings 3, Sierra Richards 16, Loryn Musgrove 1, Kalena Gustin 0, Sarah Peterson 2, Kady Bruce 4, Brianna Sorensen 0. Totals 15-41 (0-7) 19-25 49.
Prairie – Lindsay Asplund 8, Cori Woodward 15, Aislinn Konig 6, Nicole Goecke 13, Megan Lindsley 12, Cherita Daugherty 4, Emily Peters 5, Rachel Deaton 0. Totals 23-67 (6-30) 11-18 63
Kelso 9 18 11 11—49
Prairie 23 15 13 12—63