WOODLAND — They were off for so long because of schedule changes.
They were getting bored, frustrated.
They wanted game action.
The La Center Wildcats were pumped up to play Wednesday night against a rival.
“We came in ready to play,” Taylor Stephens said.
Whatever motivation, it worked.
Stephens scored 20 points, leading La Center to a 67-49 girls basketball win over the Woodland Beavers.
The Wildcats got 20 steals, and five players recorded at least two assists as the team improved to 5-0.
“We’re more about the ‘we’ than we are about the ‘me,'” Stephens said.
“That’s why it works,” guard Bethany Whitten added.
The Wildcats, who reached the Class 1A state regional round last season, want to go at least one more step this winter. They are hoping to get to the Yakima Valley SunDome. They are using games in December to help prepare them for February, and, they hope, March.
“Our team is really close,” Stephens said. “We understand what we’re doing. We have a really good connection. It’s nice to know what my teammate next to me is going to do.
“And we’re a very supportive team. If one girl is having a good day, we keep feeding her and let her go.”
Wednesday, the hot hand kept changing.
Stephens made three 3-pointers in her 20-point outing. Taylor Mills had 18 points. And Laynie Erickson, back from an injury, had 14 points and eight rebounds.
Meanwhile, guards Molly Edwards and Whitten took care of a lot of other stats that help a good team turn into a great one. Edwards had five steals and three assists. Whitten had four steals and six assists.
“Hustle,” Whitten said. “We’re all about the team. Our points come from defense. If we have an off night on defense, we’re probably going to have an off night on offense.”
The Wildcats forced 21 first-half turnovers to jump out to a 15-point lead.
“It just feels good to do this in their gym,” Whitten said.
“It’s nice to prove a point to whoever’s watching,” Stephens added.
Audrey Adams went 5 for 7 from the floor and led Woodland with 13 points. Dana Glovick added 10 points. Nicole Guthrie had nine points and six rebounds, and Kelly Sweyer had nine points and four steals for the Beavers.
Mills had eight of her points in the third quarter when La Center secured the victory.
LA CENTER 67, WOODLAND 49
LA CENTER — Laynie Erickson 14, Alyssa McKnight 0, Whitley Seter 3, Molly Edwards 5, Lauryn Powers 0, Bethany Whitten 5, Madison Rose 0, Taylor Mills 18, Taylor Stephens 20 Totals 27-60 (5-15) 8-10 67.
WOODLAND — Audrey Adams 13, McKenna Flanagan 0, Kaija Olson 3, Kayla Fredricks 0, Payten Foster 5, Kelly Sweyer 9, Dana Glovick 10, Kaily Christensen 0, Emily Dietrich 0, Nicole Guthrie 9. Totals 18-57 (4-12) 9-14 49.
La Center 20 15 14 18–67
Woodland 11 9 10 19–49