Sunday, October 2, 2022
Oct. 2, 2022

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La Center girls look forward to next year after loss to Bellevue Christian

Wildcats return almost entire roster next season

By , Columbian staff writer

YAKIMA — The sting of a season-ending loss, especially falling one win short of a guaranteed state trophy at the Class 1A Hardwood Classic, left the La Center girls basketball team emotional.

Especially junior guard Molly Edwards.

Given the experience she and her teammates now have after playing three games at the Yakima Valley SunDome, including Friday morning’s 44-33 loss to Bellevue Christian in the consolation semifinals, that could bode well for the 2017-18 Wildcats, who graduate just one senior — Lauryn Powers — off this year’s roster.

And reaching state is what Edwards, who scored a team-best 12 points Friday, will remember most when looking back at La Center’s 23-win season. The trip to Yakima was a first for La Center girls basketball since 2009. Its last state trophy was ’06 (eighth).

“That’s pretty awesome,” she said. “We all played hard and put our hearts out there.

“I’m proud of this team.”

La Center ended its season 23-3, captured the 1A Trico League title and won its first 21 games. All three losses came in the postseason — Lynden Christian at regionals, followed by Cashmere in Thursday’s quarterfinal and the Vikings Friday.

Poor shooting (11 of 42) and turnovers (16) plagued the Wildcats in Friday’s loss, as they played catch-up mode after Bellevue Christian took the lead for good at 20-18 in the first quarter. Sophomore Taylor Stephens had nine of La Center’s first 11 points, but failed to score in the second half.

While Bellevue Christian didn’t fare much better on field-goal percentage (28.3 percent), it only committed five turnovers. La Center’s closest deficit was 30-27 after Taylor Mills (8 points) scored at the 6-minute, 58-second mark of the fourth, but from there, Bellevue Christian scored points in three of its next four possessions.

Edwards went 6 of 6 at the free-throw line, including a pair at the 1:53 mark that made it a 37-33 game.

Finishing in the top-8 at state after winning its first-round game Wednesday is a step in the right direction, coach Herm VanWeerdhuizen said, for a program that last reached this stage in ’09.

“Hopefully,” he said, “we can improve on that and go from there.”


BELLEVUE CHRISTIAN — Rachel Berg 15, Sperry McQuaid 4, Nicole Bloch 9, Molly VandenBrink 16, Molly Olson 0, Alexis Archuleta 0, Bella Boscolo 0, Jasmine Hathaway 0. Totals 13 (6) 12-17 44

LA CENTER — Whitley Seter 0, Molly Edwards 12, Bethany Whitten 4, Taylor Mills 8, Taylor Stephens 9, Nya Mertz 0, Laynie Erickson 0, Alyssa McKnight 0. Totals 11 (4) 7-11 33

BC 7 15 6 16–44

LC 7 11 5 10 –33

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