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Julia Dalan leads W.F. West to 54-41 win over Columbia River girls in 2A district championship game

Junior post had 24 points, several blocks for Bearcats

By Tim Martinez, Columbian Assistant Sports Editor
Published: February 16, 2024, 10:09pm
3 Photos
Julia Dalan (44) of W.F. West blocks the shot of Emma Iniguez of Columbia River in the 2A girls basketball district championship game at Kelso High School on Friday, Feb. 16, 2024.
Julia Dalan (44) of W.F. West blocks the shot of Emma Iniguez of Columbia River in the 2A girls basketball district championship game at Kelso High School on Friday, Feb. 16, 2024. (Tim Martinez/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

KELSO — Columbia River girls basketball coach Tee Anderson has a motto for her team — 4-3-2, or you have to play hard for 32 minutes.

The W.F. West Bearcats had their own cheat code on Friday — 2-4-4, or get the ball to No. 44, Julia Dalan.

The 6-foot-3 junior post scored 24 points and wrecked havoc on defense to lead the Bearcats to a 54-41 win over River in the 2A girls basketball district championship game at Kelso High School.

“I told our girls ‘I hope she blocks shots for as big and lengthy she is. So be ready for those,'” Anderson said, referring to Dalan. “But I think it was just plays at the end that got us.”

The 13-point margin belies just how tight and competitive this game was.

Dalan’s inside presence took away most anything in the lane for River, but the Rapids countered by six 3-pointers in the first half. River trailed only 23-22 at the intermission.

With the Bearcats needing to guard River’s outside shooting, Dalan got pulled away from the key in the second half, opening up drive opportunities for River.

Peyton Dukes and Emma Iniguez had traditional 3-point plays in the fourth quarter to tie the game 39-39 with 4:56 left.

The Rapids had shots at a go-ahead basket, but the shots did not fall. W.F. West then found Dalan inside on back-to-back trips to open a 45-39 lead.

River followed with turnovers and Dilyn Boeck’s 3-pointer with 1:51 left sealed the win for the Bearcats.

“We didn’t play for 32 minutes tonight, and I told them that our competition only gets better in the postseason,” Anderson said. “So when I say 4-3-2, it means we have to give our most right now on every possession. That’s where it got us tonight. There were probably three or four possessions where they got offensive rebounds, they got kickouts and they made those big shots.”

Iniguez led River with 15 points. Marley Myers scored 11 and Dukes added nine for the Rapids (18-6), who will await the seeding committee’s decision Sunday on where they will be placed in the 2A state playoffs next week.

“I trust our girls to make the right plays, as they’ve been doing all year to get us here,” Anderson said. “I think (W.F. West) took us out of our aggressiveness a little bit. But we know we have more basketball to play. We’re going to watch the film and figure out what we can do better and move forward from here.”

W.F. WEST 54, COLUMBIA RIVER 41

W.F. WEST (20-3) — Joy Cushman 5, Dilyn Boeck 14, Lena Fragner 6, Kaitlyn Chloupek 0, Carlie Deskins 0, Grace Simpson 2, Amanda Bennett 3, Julia Dalan 24. Totals 21 (4) 8-11 54.

COLUMBIA RIVER (18-6) — Marley Myers 11, Peyton Dukes 9, Camy Drake 4, Paige Johnson 0, Emma Iniguez 15, Gracie Glavin 2. Totals 12 (6) 11-12 41.

WF West 12 11 9 22—54

Columbia River 9 13 10 9—41

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