WOODLAND — Down, but not out.
The outcome of Monday’s 2A district semifinal game wasn’t what the Washougal Panthers hoped for, but it means the path to clinching a state berth just gets a bit harder.
‘We can still get to state,” said junior Skylar Bea after the Panthers’ 43-33 loss to W.F. West at Woodland High School, “we just have to keep getting after it. Get over this one, and get after the next games.”
For Washougal, that next game is Wednesday’s loser-out contest against R.A. Long, a 31-30 winner Monday over Columbia River, at 7 p.m. at Woodland High School.
The victory by W.F. West sends the Bearcats to Friday’s all-2A Evergreen Conference district title game at Battle Ground High School. The Panthers (19-3) now must win two straight loser-out district games to reach regionals.
Monday’s loss snaps a 17-game win streak dating back to a Dec. 13 loss to 4A Camas, and of Washougal’s three losses on the season, two are to the Bearcats. W.F. West topped Washougal 52-28 back on Dec. 5 in the teams’ season opener, and Bea noted similarities between that and Monday’s game, including the Bearcats’ press and 2-3 extended zone. The Panthers struggled from the floor all game, including 5 of 23 in the first half trailing 28-13 at halftime. W.F. West closed the half on a 10-0 run.
“They disrupted us on offense and we weren’t moving around as well as we should,” said Bea, who led Washougal with 13 points and also had four blocks.
Bea was instrumental in Washougal’s late-game run to cut their deficit to six at one point, despite W.F. West converting just 14 of 29 free throws for the game.
Washougal held W.F. West to without a fourth-quarter field goal and cut a once-14-point lead at 39-25 down to six at 39-33 with a Bea putback with 1:52 to play. That was part of an 8-0 scoring run over 5 minutes of the fourth quarter.
Only three teams out of districts reach regionals, and Washougal now is fighting for that final spot.
Bea knows what has to happen in the next two games.
“We have to really grind and shut them down,” she said. “Everyone has to hit their shots and play at 100 percent and we can get there.”
Jaiden Bea added eight points and Savea Mansfield and McKenna Jackson each had four for Washougal.