Woodland girls go cold at wrong time, fall to Blaine

By Micah Rice, Columbian sports editor

Published:

 

LONGVIEW — As shot after shot bounced off the rim, Woodland's players tried to stay upbeat.

Woodland went cold at the worst possible time Saturday in the Class 1A girls basketball regionals, losing to Blaine 39-36.

Despite their shooting woes, the Beavers were neck-and-neck with the Borderites down the stretch at Mark Morris High School.

With each crucial possession, guard Jessica Flanagan tried to put the past misses out of her mind.

"You don't think about the last one, just work on the next one," she said.

But this drought was worthy of the Sahara. Woodland didn't make a field goal over the final 10:22 of the game.

After starting 5 for 7 from the field, Woodland went 7 of 34 the rest of the way.

Yet with 1:53 to play, the Beavers were within 37-36 after Flanagan was fouled on a 3-pointer and made three free throws.

But two turnovers on two straight possessions and a missed 3-pointer denied Woodland (22-1) a berth in the Elite Eight in Yakima.

The abrupt end to the season for third-ranked Woodland had coach Glen Flanagan annoyed that his team faced No. 9 Blaine (21-7) in a loser-out game.

"If the WIAA thinks were not good enough to go to Yakima, then we're going to listen to what they say," he said. "Something needs to change, or they're going to send a lot of kids home that are deserving of the experience."

Despite shooting 33 percent, Blaine by no means bumbled its way to victory. Taylor V'Dovec scored 17 points, showing flashes of why she's among the top 1A players in the state.

"They're very athletic. (V'Dovec) is going to play at the next level," Glen Flanagan said. "They're solid fundamentally, so we knew we had to limit our mistakes. We did that in the first half."

Blaine's athleticism on defense contributed to Woodland's shooting woes.

"Usually we like to get it into our post," Glen Flanagan said. "In our league we can do that and play inside out. But (Alexis) McElwain and V'Dovec are so physical, it was tough to get those looks."

Though it missed out on its first Elite Eight trip since 2006, Woodland finished a season as league and district champions for the first time since that season.

"It's nothing for the girls to hang their heads about," Glen Flanagan said. "But we certainly we had higher goals than the top 16."

Flanagan and Sidra Malik led Woodland with 11 points each in a game in which neither team led by more than five points.

"It was just one of those off nights," Jessica Flanagan said. "We might have been a little bit antsy. We did our best, and that's all you can ask."

BLAINE 39, WOODLAND 36

BLAINE (20-7) -- Breanna Chau 11, Olivia Olason 1, Alexis McElwain 2, Mikayla Deming 1, Mandy Hayes 7, Taylor V'Dovec 17; Totals 15 (6) 3-6 39.

WOODLAND (22-1) -- Kendall Grell 5, Jessica Flanagan 11, Madison Sorensen 7, McKenzie Collins 0, McKenna Mulder 2, Grace Adams, Kate Cochran, Sidra Malik 11, Katie Kern 0. Totals 12 (6) 6-10.

Blaine 12 13 8 6--39

Woodland 15 8 9 4--36