LONGVIEW — The Skyview Storm are going back to where they always felt they belonged.
Tacoma Dome, here come the Storm.
Skyview’s Big Three — Aubrey Ward-El, Stephanie McDonagh, and Jocelyn Adams — all shined Saturday afternoon, leading Skyview to a 62-31 victory over Newport of Bellevue in a Class 4A girls regional basketball game at Mark Morris High School.
With the win, the Storm, who won the 2012 state championship, earned a chance to make it two titles in three seasons.
“The older players know what it feels like to be past this point,” Ward-El said. “We had a goal, and we were going to do whatever it took to get there. The younger girls understood that.”
Ward-El was 5 of 6 from 3-point range and scored 23 points to go with her 11 rebounds. Adams scored nine points and grabbed 10 rebounds. McDonagh also scored nine, plus she had five steals and four assists.
“It’s been our goal since we had our taste of it before,” McDonagh said of going to the Dome. “Nothing really compares to being in the state tournament.”
Skyview (23-2) will learn its first-round opponent on Sunday. The state tournament begins Thursday.
The Storm had trouble shooting inside against Newport’s 6-foot, 4-inch post Casey Schoenlein, so they went outside instead, making four 3-pointers in the first quarter to jump out to a 16-8 lead.
The advantage was 14 at the half.
Then Ward-El scored the first seven Skyview points of the third quarter to go up 39-22. Her 3-pointer to end the quarter put Skyview ahead by 20.
“Sometimes I get confused that I’m a post,” Ward-El said with a laugh.
A post who has a long-range shooter’s touch.
“Tonight, I couldn’t get my shot over (Schoenlein) so I moved out,” she said.
The Skyview defense was working, too, forcing 19 turnovers. The Storm held their turnovers to eight.
Schoenlein would get a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds for Newport, but Skyview dominated the rest of the boxscore to reach the Elite Eight in Tacoma.
“That’s always your goal, to make it to the Dome. I’m just really excited for our players,” Skyview coach Jennifer Buscher said. “They have worked extremely hard, and they have earned this.
“And they played well.”
As sophomores, Ward-El, McDonagh and Adams were key to the championship run. Last year, Adams missed the season with a knee injury and the Storm did not get out of the bi-district tournament.
Nothing was going to stop them this year, Buscher said.
“I’ve noticed it all season long,” she said. “This group of girls has a confidence about them.”
But not overconfidence. Up 14 at the half, Ward-El said the coaches reminded the players that Newport has excelled in the second half this postseason.
“We watched film on them,” Ward-El said. “We knew they weren’t going to stop. We had to come out strong and not rest up and get comfortable.”
The Storm can relax on the trip to Tacoma.
It is a drive they have been planning all season.
SKYVIEW 62, NEWPORT (BELLEVUE) 31
NEWPORT — Anna Crabtree 6, Chiara Vistor 8, Kaitlin Sahlinger 4, Abbi Gobel 2, Casey Schoenlein 11, Melody Brown 0, Emily Hillyer 0, Amber Parker 0, Rachel Day 0, Katelyn Jenkins 0, Julia Siliwoski 0, CeCe Afman 0. Totals 14-42 (2-12) 1-5 31.
SKYVIEW — Hannahjoy Adams 6, Stephanie McDonagh 9, Jocelyn Adams 9, Aubrey Ward-El 23, Genevieve Lo 4, Kirsten Johnson 2, Sydney Friauf 2, Ashlee Comastro 2, Neesen Bristow 0, Hanna Van Nortwick 2, Georgia Romine-Black 3, Carli Fultz 0. Totals 24-57 (7-19) 7-12 62.
Newport 8 10 8 5–31
Skyview 16 16 14 16–62