YAKIMA — The state tournament can deliver triumph and sorrow.
The Washougal girls basketball program has seen both, the latter coming Friday in a 42-41 loss to Archbishop Murphy that ended the Panthers’ season.
Yet, Washougal wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.
Seniors Jaiden Bea, Savea Mansfield, Samantha Mederos and Carissa De La Rocha saw Washougal win the state championship as freshmen. But missing state as sophomores and having COVID cancel the event last year had the team’s leaders wanting one last chance in the Yakima Valley SunDome.
“That was something they wanted more than anything,” Washougal coach Britney Ervin said. “Every time I would meet with Savea (Mansfield) she would tell me ‘I want to go to state, I want to go to state’ every single time.”
The state experience isn’t just about winning, Ervin said. The bus rides, the hotels and the team meals are something no player will forget.
It also makes the underclassmen hungry to return.
“I’m proud of them,” Ervin said. “They battled a lot this season with COVID, with injuries. For the seniors, this was a good way to go out by taking the younger girls to state and leaving their mark on the program.”
Washougal’s season came to an end in the fourth-place semifinal. The Panthers had a chance after the Wildcats missed the front end of a one-and-one with 20 seconds left. But Washougal couldn’t get a clean look and two heavily contested shots were off the mark.
No. 5 seed Archbishop Murphy led 29-22 in the early third quarter, but No. 7 Washougal battled back. The Panthers took their first lead on Jaisa Wilson’s 3-pointer with 6:35 to play.
The Wildcats of Everett responded with back-to-back 3-pointers by Taylor Reed. But the Panthers again responded. De La Rocha’s short jumper pulled Washougal within 42-41 with 23 seconds left.
Bea scored 14 points and Mansfield added 13 points for Washougal (17-7).
Bea finishes her career with 1,174 points, the fourth most in program history, and first in 3-pointers (110). She’s also among the school’s career leaders in rebounds (757, third), steals (205, fourth), assists (190, fourth) and blocks (99, third).
Mansfield finishes with 908 points, the sixth most in program hsitory, and 77 3-pointers behind only Bea.
Though Friday’s loss stung, Ervin said the tournament experience will never be taken for granted.
“Making it to state is a privilege,” Ervin said. “They saw that nothing is going to be handed to us. The competition here is another level.”
ARCHBISHOP MURPHY 42, WASHOUGAL 41
ARCHBISHOP MURPHY (15-7) – Taylor Campbell 7, Sydney Kuhnie 0, Jojo Chiangpradit 0, Hannah Humphrey 6, Ava Marr 12, Caroline Burns 5, Taylor Reed 13. Totals 16 (3) 7-10 42.
WASHOUGAL (17-7) – Chloe Johnson 1, Savea Mansfield 13, Samantha Mederos 4, Jaiden Bea 14, Carissa De La Rocha 4, Ireland Albaugh 0, Jaisa Wilson 5. Totals 15 (4) 7-12 41.
Arch.Murphy 14 13 6 9—42
Washougal 12 10 10 9— 41