WASHOUGAL — Each year Beyonce Bea has been at Washougal, at least one thing has been a constant: she’s been a league champion.
Her senior year is no exception.
Bea, the two-time league player of the year, poured on 25 points, 12 rebounds, four steals and three blocks to lead Washougal past Woodland 71-39 to secure the program’s fourth-consecutive 2A Greater St. Helens League title in a jam-packed Washougal High School gym on Thursday night.
Sophomore Skylar Bea finish with 14 points, 14 boards, four assists and three steals and freshman Jaiden Bea (first cousin of Skylar and Beyonce) added eight points and eight boards for the Panthers.
At the center of the team is Beyonce Bea — the Queen Bea, if you will.
“Even though we don’t always need her to score, the fact is that she’s such a dominant presence that defenses have to respect her and it really opens everything else up for everyone else,” Washougal coach Britney Knotts said.
The senior University of Idaho commit served as the anchor of a team that made the first round of the state tournament last year and, the Panthers say, are aiming even higher this season.
The league title, and grand picture, the season, have been a long time in the making for many of the Panthers who grew up playing together in the Future Lady Panthers (FLP) youth programs. Many of them played on various AAU teams together, too.
Thursday’s game was an environment befitting of the achievement.
After the JV game ended and as the players and coaches filed into the locker room, the remaining fans piled into what few seats were left in the gym. The bleachers quickly filled up. People lined the second story balcony and crowded the doorways. Some even watched from the hall.
On this given Thursday night in the small town in Clark County Southeastern-most corner, the Washougal girls basketball team were the top ticket in town.
“We’re lit,” Knotts said with a laugh.
“It’s fun and the girls really feed on that energy,” Knotts said. “Washougal is really special because there’s no other place that you get a gym packed like this for a girls game. Maybe Prairie. But it’s so uncommon.”
Knotts suggested the attendance was the highest it’s been since last year’s district play-in game with Columbia River. Beyonce Bea said in her four years at Washougal, she’s seen the community support for the time rise. It’s the reason she loves playing home games. The team, the Panthers said, feeds off that energy.
“When the upstairs even gets full, you know it’s packed,” Bea said.
The overflow was, in part, due to the Washougal youth cheerleading program’s halftime performance, which was led by the school’s high school cheerleaders. When the third quarter resumed after the performance, a sizable chunk of the seats cleared up.
The Panthers, however, were not done.
Payten Foster hit a corner 3 to pull the Beavers within 10 early in the third. But Washougal struck right back.
McKinley Stotts hit a 3 in response, and the Panthers inched ahead by 25 at the end of the third and didn’t let their foot off the gas in the fourth.
The Beavers were led by Audrey Adams’ 12 points.
For Woodland, the loss ended a five-game win streak after starting league play 0-3. The Beavers are in second, a half a game ahead of third-place Ridgefield and remain in position to go to the postseason with three regular season games left.
WASHOUGAL 71, WOODLAND 39
WOODLAND — Emersyn Finn 4, Audrey Adams 12, Kaija Olson 3, Paten Foster 5, Kali Christiansen 4, Kelly Sweyer 2, Kennedy Huesties 0, Nicole Guthrie 9. Totals 11 (3) 8-13 39.
WASHOUGAL — Kiara Cross 0, Jaiden Bea 8, Savea Mansfield 2, Beyonce Bea 25, McKinley Stotts 9, Ashley Gibbons 8, Erin Miner 0, McKenna Jackson 0, Sammy Mederos 4, Skylar Bea 14. Totals 26 (2) 13-14 71.
Woodland 7 16 7 9 — 39
Washougal 16 20 18 16 – 71
JV — Washougal 35-32.