The Washougal girls basketball team has won five consecutive 2A Greater St. Helens League championships. Hudson’s Bay is fresh off a state appearance — at the 3A ranks.
The Eagles dropped down to the 2A GSHL this season. The Panthers wanted to make it clear: This league is still ours.
While it was a nonleague affair, that statement was made clear in a 72-63 win over their new leaguemates from Bay on Wednesday at Hudson’s Bay High School. Before a late charge by Bay, the Panthers led by as many as 30.
Jaiden Bea scored 30 points to go with 12 rebounds and five assists. Savea Mansfield added 16 points and five assists.
“Coming out and making that statement saying ‘Hey we are this team; this is how we play’” Bea said. “Setting that tone was definitely important.”
After a season-opening loss to Camas on Monday, the Panthers grew as a team. They had more time to gel together and a few extra days to get back into the basketball groove after more than a year removed from an early district playoff exit.
The Panthers rolled to a big lead behind a stingy defense and good ball movement on offense. Fifteen of their 23 made field goals came off assists. They out-rebounded the Eagles 41-28 and led by 30 points in the third quarter.
“Definitely just having fun with winning,” Bea said of the night’s successes. “Being loose and playing as a team was important. That allowed us to be versatile.”
This year, while they won’t get a crack at the state tournament, the Panthers are hoping to recapture a district title and again cement themselves as the 2A GSHL frontrunners.
“Different people are on on different nights,” Mansfield said. “So the goal is to see that and share the ball.”
For Bay, which was without Eastern Washington University commit Jaydia Martin for personal reasons, the Eagles showed they won’t give up. They cut a 30-point lead to just nine points with under a minute to play.
Aniyah Hampton, who missed last year with a ruptured Achilles tendon, scored 25 points and hauled in eight rebounds in her return to play. Mahaila Harrison added 12 points and Kamelai Powell finished with 10 points and eight boards.
The two teams meet again on Saturday, May 21, for their league contest. The Eagles anticipate having Martin back for that important matchup.
WASHOUGAL 72, HUDSON’S BAY 63
WASHOUGAL — Chloe Johnson 5, Taylor Gibbons 2, Savea Mansfield 16, Jaiden Bea 30, Samantha Mederos 8, Carissa De La Rocha 1, Emilia Nicholson 0, Skylar Bea 10, Jaisa Wilson 0. Totals 23 (8) 16-23 72.
HUDSON’S BAY — Zoraya Jones 0, Miranda Gonzalez 3, Devon Johnson-Brown 9, Paytin Ballard 5, Mahaila Harrison 12, Aniyah Hampton 25, Kamelai Powell 10, Stacia Mikaele 0. Totals 21 (6) 10-19 63.
Washougal 19 24 18 11—72
Ridgefield 13 11 12 29—63