YAKIMA — As the deficit grew larger, slipping out of reach for the Washougal girls basketball team on Thursday against Burlington-Edison, the Panthers had a choice to make.
They could either go away quietly, or hustle and scrap until the very end. The Panthers chose the latter.
Burlington-Edison moved on to the Class 2A girls state semifinals with a 53-33 win after putting together a dominant first-half effort on both ends of the Yakima Valley SunDome hardwood. The Tigers forced Washougal into 14 first-half turnovers, while shooting 44 percent from the floor to build a 23-point advantage.
“It’s definitely a battle out there. That was a great team, and it came down to who wanted it more,” said Jaiden Bea, who led Washougal with 20 points and 15 rebounds. “Fourth quarter, we realized we were way behind and we put it all out on the floor because we have nothing to lose.”
The deficit was too large for Washougal to overcome. But the team took pride in playing hard through the fourth quarter, which the Panthers finished on an 11-2 run.
It started with Bea crashing the boards for an offensive rebound and putback, which she drew a foul on and converted the three-point play.
Bea made another three-point play 90 seconds later, after several Panthers dove to the floor for a loose ball, sparked by junior Hadley Jones, to earn an extra possession.
“She came off the bench with some energy and it allowed us to utilize her in different ways,” Bea said. “That was really great. We needed some energy to finish strong and leave it all out there.”
Since beating No. 1 seed Tumwater in last weekend’s regional round, Burlington-Edison emerged as a team to watch at the dome. The Tigers backed up that performance against Tumwater with another statement win against the Panthers.
They jumped out to an 11-0 lead in the first, forcing more Washougal turnovers than allowing them field goals. On the other end, a balanced offensive attack led by Amey Rainaud (17 points), Sydney Reisner (16 points) and Chelsea Holmes (10 points) put the Panthers on their heels.
“They had quite a few different scorers,” Bea said. “When you have a deep bench, that’s pretty helpful. At Washougal, we’re a mix of a few older girls and a lot of young girls. This is our first time at state (for most), so it’s like you’re going to get different games. Our shots didn’t fall this game and theirs did, and I thought that was a key factor.”
Washougal will play Archbishop Murphy on Friday at 9 a.m. in the fourth-place semifinals.
Although the Panthers are no longer chasing a state championship, they still have plenty left to play for, particularly among their four seniors, Bea, Savea Mansfield, Carissa De La Rocha and Samantha Mederos.
“Do it for each other,” Bea said of the team’s mindset. “We have four seniors on the team. Leave it all out there and just (have) fun. Let’s enjoy these last few moments and get some wins. That’s our biggest mindset.”
BURLINGTON-EDISON 53, WASHOUGAL 33
WASHOUGAL — Chloe Johnson 0, Savea Mansfield 4, Bella Albaugh 0, Samantha Mederos 0, Hadley Jones 3, Jaiden Bea 20, Carissa De La Rocha 2, Ireland Albaugh 4, Jaisa Wilson 0. Totals 11 (1) 12-13 33.
BURLINGTON-EDISON — Hannah Sayer 3, Adriah Ray 0, Chelsea Holmes 10, Jordyn Smith 0, Emma Smith 3, Claire Bishop 0, Lily Atkins 0, Sophia MacKenzie 0, Sydney Reisner 16, Mia Whitlock 0, Analise Slotemaker 4, Amey Rainaud 17. Totals 26 (6) 7-10 53.
Washougal 4 11 7 11—33
Burlington 18 20 13 2—53