WASHOUGAL – It’s a unique mix this season on the Washougal girls basketball team.
With seven key players back from last season’s 2A state championship team, the Panthers have experience and talent.
But with just one senior, Washougal is still figuring a few things out.
That whole bundle was on display Friday in a crucial 45-40 win over Columbia River at Washougal High.
First the good stuff.
Washougal (10-2, 5-0) took sole possession of first place in the 2A Greater St. Helens League as league play nears its midway point. The Panthers (No. 6 in the state’s 2A RPI rankings) used the same quick-handed defense it rode to the state title to stifle 12th-ranked Columbia River (11-3, 5-1).
But there was room for improvement.
Leading 37-21 after three quarters, Washougal let River pull within 43-40 in the final minute. Twelve turnovers also led Washougal’s players to not be exactly giddy with joy after the game.
“I thought it was a rough win,” said sophomore Jaiden Bea. “It’s going to get better though. From here we just have to work on the things we didn’t do too well.”
Such are the high standards now at Washougal.
“It wasn’t a satisfying win,” said McKinley Stotts, the team’s lone senior. “Satisfying wins are when we win by 30. We thought we had them. We thought we could just lay back. We shouldn’t have.”
During the first half, it looked like Washougal might win by 30. The Panthers outscored River 21-6 in the second quarter to take a 28-12 lead.
Washougal drove to the hoop to draw fouls. The Panthers were 14 for 18 from the free throw line in the first half and were in the bonus for more than half of the second quarter.
Aggressive on defense, the Panthers contested nearly every Columbia River shot. Leading Chieftains scorer Jordan Ryan scored just one of her 14 points in the first half.
“Defense is the basis of our program,” Bea said. “Offense comes from that.”
But Columbia River has too much talent to be held down for all four quarters. Ryan, a multi-talented 6-foot guard, started getting to the hoop in the fourth quarter. She scored six points in an 11-0 run capped by Dejah Wilson’s 3-pointer. That made it 43-40 with 50 seconds left.
But, after Savea Mansfield made one of two free throws, Ryan’s 3-pointer was off the mark. Washougal grabbed the rebound to put the game away.
Mansfield led Washougal with 14 points. Bea added 12.
WASHOUGAL 45, COLUMBIA RIVER 40
COLUMBIA RIVER – Grace Trickett 0, Dejah Wilson 8, Sami Myers 3, Lily Jonas 6, Sydney Flores-Tucker 4, Bailey Gatten 0, Ari Kuschner 0, Jordan Ryan 14, Ellie Christian 5. Totals 10 (7) 13-20 40.
WASHOUGAL – Chloe Johnson 2, Jaiden Bea 12, Savea Mansfield 14, McKinley Stotts 4, Samantha Mederos 2, McKenna Jackson 2, Skylar Bea 9. Totals 13 (1) 18-23 45.
Col.River 6 6 9 19—40
Washougal 7 21 9 8—45
JV – River 56-52, OT