Savea Mansfield didn’t have to think back far to remember the last time a Washougal girls locker room was as boisterous as Wednesday’s winner-to-regional victory.
“Not in like three years,” the senior said.
Going back into the memory bank, three years ago is when Mansfield and the rest of the Washougal senior class were freshmen on the program’s Class 2A state title-winning team.
Three years later, they’re back at state after a 56-43 winner-to-regional 2A District IV consolation victory over Hockinson at Hudson’s Bay High School.
The victory clinches a 2A state regional berth while the loss ends Hockinson’s season one game shy of reaching beyond districts for the first time since 2009.
It’s almost certain Washougal (17-2) will be a top-8 seed into the regional round of state next weekend, guaranteeing the Panthers a trip to the Yakima Valley SunDome.
While the Panthers sit at No. 5 in RPI, a seeding committee — new this year, and responsible for seeding teams across all classifications into regionals Sunday — will decide Washougal’s seed. A seed outside the top 8 means Washougal must win its state regional game to advance to Yakima.
Mansfield poured in a game-high 22 points, including 17 during a red-hot shooting first half by the Panthers. Jaiden Bea added 12 points and nine rebounds, and Chloe Johnson had 10 points and five assists.
In the teams’ third go-around on the court after splitting their 2A Greater St. Helens League regular-season matchups, Washougal’s 16-0 run — and 21-1 at one stretch in the first half while holding Hockinson to without a field goal for nearly 9 minutes — paved the way for a 16-point halftime advantage. At one stretch, the lead grew to 23 twice late in the third quarter.
It was a far different performance offensively from Monday’s 46-26 district semifinal loss to top-ranked Tumwater when Washougal shot just 20 percent from the field.
“The girls came in more prepared for what playoffs look like — shooting to score, wanting to finish and taking high percentage shots,” Panthers coach Britney Ervin coach said.
Hockinson’s staple — its defense — helped the Hawks (14-9) cut the big deficit down to nine at 46-37 with 3:22 left in the game, getting big plays from Kylie Ritter (team-best 15 points) and Gracie Brammer (13). The Hawks never got closer than nine.
While the season continues for Washougal, it’s a season-ending loss for Hockinson two nights after taking regional-bound W.F. West down to the wire in Friday’s first-round loss.
With eight seniors, Hockinson coach Damon Roche will graduate the majority of his roster. And that senior class made what Hockinson girls basketball is.
“They helped solidify who we are,” Roche said. “They solidified how we’ll practice and how we played. They’ve shown our standard.”
For the four Washougal seniors — Mansfield, Jaiden Bea, Sammy Maderos and Carissa De La Rocha — they’ve also learned not to take high school basketball for granted: from freshmen in the program in 2019 to losing in districts in 2020. No state tournament was held in 2021.
That’s why Wednesday’s result was extra special.
“This was a big game,” Mansfield said. “High school basketball is something different. We’re all family. I’ve played a lot with these girls my whole life, and I really wanted to end it off at state because this could’ve been my last time playing with them.”
WASHOUGAL 56, HOCKINSON 43
WASHOUGAL — Chloe Johnson 10, Savea Mansfield 22, Jaiden Bea 12, Samantha Mederos 4, Hadley Jones 0, Isabella Albaugh 0, Hadley Jones 0, Carissa De La Rocha 6, Jaisa Wilson 2. Totals 22 (5) 7-11 56.
HOCKINSON — Allie Seekins 0, Addie Chappelle 4, Gracie Brammer 13, Delaney Chappelle 0, Siena Brown 0, Kylie Ritter 15, Cordy Plymale 4, Ellie Ritter 5, Lauren Schadt 0. Totals 14 (5) 10-14 43.
Washougal 16 17 11 12—56
Hockinson 9 8 9 17—43