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News / Sports / Prep Sports

Washougal girls beat Columbia River in 2A tilt

6-0 Panthers upping accountability in quest for state run

By Andy Buhler, Columbian Staff Writer
Published: January 14, 2019, 10:59pm
6 Photos
Beyonce Bea (right) readies to shoot a corner 3-pointer as Jaiden Bea (1) beckons to her right during Washougal's 50-41 win over Columbia River on Monday night at Columbia River High School.
Beyonce Bea (right) readies to shoot a corner 3-pointer as Jaiden Bea (1) beckons to her right during Washougal's 50-41 win over Columbia River on Monday night at Columbia River High School. (Andy Buhler/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

Britney Knotts set three goals for her team ahead of Monday’s game — Keep the opponent under 35 points, limit turnovers and log 15 or more assists as a team.

As Knotts recited each of them after the Washougal girls basketball team’s 50-41 win over Columbia River, she realized the team fell short of all three, which meant one thing: even after a league win against a formidable opponent, the team would run the next day as punishment.

Harsh? Not to a Panthers team that has Yakima on its mind, even in mid-January.

“Mhmm,” she said, “oh yeah. We have to have a higher standard. We can’t come in and say any win is OK, because that won’t be OK at state.”

Such is the mentality at Washougal (10-4, 6-0 2A Greater St. Helens League) these days, even after maintaining its lone status atop the 2A GSHL at Columbia River High School on Monday night.

With the end goal of a run at the 2A state tournament, the Panthers are leaning on experience from last year’s state tournament, when it lost in the first game on the first day.

“It’s holding those high expectations,” Knotts said. “That’s why we have to always refocus on our big goal. We have short-term goals to win these games, but our long-term goal is to bring home hardware.”

Those expectations have come from experience. In her second year as a head coach, Knotts said having that year under her belt has made a difference.

The same can be said for the players, as Washougal returns the majority of the pieces of what was considered a young team last season.

“We’ve seen the league, we’ve seen the players, we know the personnel, and then we have a nice mix of new energy with the three freshmen coming in,” Knotts said. “It’s confidence and energy, high basketball IQ.”

Beyonce Bea hit a transition jumper in the key, then McKinley Stotts converted a three-point play in transition to put Washougal up 18-11 midway through the second quarter.

That would be the senior University of Idaho commit’s bread and butter — transition buckets — in a game which Washougal got picked up by a full court trap. Beyonce Bea finished with a game-high 21 points.

While she carried the Panthers on offense on Monday, Bea credited her teammates, particularly the team’s newfound depth as the biggest difference between this year’s squad from a year ago.

Knotts credited junior McKinley Stotts’ enhanced role this season, and her and Beyonce Bea’s ability to complement each other on the floor.

For the most part, the Panthers combatted River’s unrelenting press to build its lead to double digits for the majority of the second half. But River cut a 15-point deficit with just under four minutes in the fourth quarter to go down to six with 27 seconds left when Sydney Flores-Tucker hit shots on consecutive possessions.

The Chieftains’ efforts fell short when Skylar and Jaiden Bea hit game-sealing free throws.

Jordan Ryan, one of the area’s more consistent and dynamic scorers, finished with 19 points — almost half of River’s points — and proved to be a tough mark for her primary defender, Skylar Bea.

Maybe the Panthers will be running in their next practice. But ask Beyonce Bea, she’ll say they’re paying it forward.

“If we have to run, we have to run,” she said. “We have to get over it. I think it makes us better in the end.”

WASHOUGAL — Kiara Cross 2, Jaiden Bea 8, Savea Mansfield 2, Beyonce Bea 21, McKinley Stotts 8, Ashley Gibbons 2, Sammy Mederos 0, Skylar Bea 7. 14 (2) 20-23 50.
COLUMBIA RIVER — Sami Myers 0, Liz Canton 5, Lily Jonas 0, Sydney Flores-Tucker 7, Erin Baker 8, Bailey Gatten 0, Ari Kirchner 0, Jordan Ryan 19, Ellie Christian 2. 28 (6) 13-21 41.
Washougal 11 12 12 15 — 50
Columbia River 5 11 9 16 — 41
JV — Washougal 55-46.

Columbian Staff Writer