Prairie girls suffer last loss they can afford

Wilson overpowers defending 3A champions in bi-district title game

By Paul Valencia, Columbian high school sports reporter

Published:

 

KENT — Well, if the Prairie Falcons were going to lose one this postseason, this was the game to lose.

Wilson of Tacoma used its height advantage and aggressive defense to roll past Prairie 68-42 in the championship game of the Class 3A bi-district girls basketball tournament Monday afternoon at the ShoWare Center.

Both teams advance to this weekend's regional sites, with the chance to make the elite eight at the state tournament at the Tacoma Dome.

There are no more games to lose, though, if Prairie is to defend its state championship.

"Champions gotta go through adversity sometimes," Prairie coach Mike Smith said. "That's part of the game. We've got to get back to work and see what kind of character we have.

"We don't like to lose, but better now than on Friday."

The Falcons (21-3) will face Bellevue (23-2) at 6 p.m. Friday at Mount Tahoma High School in Tacoma. The winner will go to the dome.

Prairie was looking for its third consecutive bi-district title. Instead, Wilson won its first in program history.

Bethany Montgomery scored 18 points, and her passing led to several easy baskets for teammates early in the fourth quarter when the Rams pulled away from the Falcons.

It was an eight-point game early in the fourth, but Wilson would go on a 22-2 run to push the lead to 28.

"I think that's the most motivated we've ever played," Montgomery said. "Our goals was to win this. Our next goal is to win state. You're going to go hard in a championship game."

Cori Woodward led Prairie with 16 points. Aislinn Konig added 11.

The Falcons, though, gave up two quarters of 20-plus points. Making things worse for them, they had no answer on offense against Wilson's in-your-face pressure defense.

"They are a really aggressive team," Woodward said. "It's hard when you have to try to create something when they're playing defense like that. It was a struggle."

Wilson also exposed Prairie's lack of an inside game. The Rams made 26 of 51 shots, and they worked to get most of those misses with 15 offensive rebounds, which was more than Prairie had defensive rebounds.

"We need to rebound and work hard in practice," Woodward said. "If we want to get to state, we definitely need to rebound better."

Everything went Wilson's way after the first quarter ended in a 13-all tie. Wilson scored 23 points in the second quarter to take a 10-point lead. Later, Prairie was held to six points in the fourth quarter.

"We don't see 'man' all year," Smith said. "That's not an excuse. We just have to get better at getting to the rim and attacking."

The Falcons have three days to prepare for their next test. And that's the only test that matters now. They must pass it to get to the dome.

Woodward, for one, would like another shot at Wilson.

"Hopefully we'll win on Friday, and I hope to see them again," Woodward said. "I look forward to seeing if we have improved. It will be a good test for us."

WILSON 68, PRAIRIE 42

WILSON — Bethany Montgomery 18, Tia Briggs 16, Violet Morrow 14, Justina Laney 12, Kaysha Fox 3, Carsent Stanley 2, Kiara Knox 2, Tyra Foster 1. Totals 26-51 (6-14) 10-13 68.

PRAIRIE — Lindsey Asplund 8, Cori Woodward 16, Aislinn Konig 11, Nicole Goecke 0, Megan Lindsley 7, Jamie Phares 0, Emily Peters 0, Cherita Daugherty 0. Totals 16-42 (4-14) 6-9 42.

Wilson 13 23 10 22—68

Prairie 13 13 10 6—42