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Columbia River girls beat Ridgefield for third time to reach 2A quarterfinals

Rapids defense holds off late surge by 2A GSHL rival

By Micah Rice, Columbian Sports Editor
Published: February 28, 2024, 6:39pm
5 Photos
Columbia River's Emma Iniguez (20) drives against Ridgefield's Morgan Goode, left, during a Class 2A girls basketball state tournament game on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024 at the Yakima Valley SunDome.
Columbia River's Emma Iniguez (20) drives against Ridgefield's Morgan Goode, left, during a Class 2A girls basketball state tournament game on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024 at the Yakima Valley SunDome. (Micah Rice/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

YAKIMA – Beating a good team three times is hard.

Sweeping three against a team that’s among the best 12 in the state is even tougher.

That’s why Columbia River girls basketball coach Tuileisu Anderson was extra proud of her team on Wednesday.

The Rapids beat Ridgefield 51-47 in the round of 12 at the Class 2A girls state basketball tournament at the Yakima Valley SunDome. It clinched Columbia River’s first trip to the state quarterfinals since 1998.

River beat the Spudders twice in 2A Greater St. Helens League play, a 43-33 win at home and a 54-47 victory in Ridgefield.

Wednesday’s game was the closest of them all. Ridgefield pulled within 48-47 after a steal and two free throws by Jalise Chatman with 12.5 seconds to go.

The Spudders fouled Paige Johnson, who made both free throws. A Marley Myers steal then clinched it for Columbia River (19-7).

“We knew they were coming out for us because this is the third time,” Anderson said. “It’s immensely tough to beat a team three times. I told them every single rebound, every 50-50 ball, that has to be ours.”

That attitude was perfect for a scrappy game where numerous defensive adjustments kept either team from getting into a rhythm. Columbia River forced 17 turnovers while Ridgefield forced 14.

Rapids senior Emma Iniguez had a team-high 14 points and 10 rebounds. Peyton Dukes had 10 points on 4 for 5 shooting and Camy Drake added 10 points.

Iniguez said a swarming defense is what her team takes pride in.

“If you’re going to take a break, do it on offense,” she said. “On defense we go 100 percent all the time.”

No. 8 seed Columbia River (19-7) faces No. 2 Lynden in Thursday’s quarterfinals. The Rapids hope to learn from a lopsided regional-round loss to top-seeded Ellensburg.

Anderson expects her team to be more poised and more comfortable, having spent time settling into Yakima rather than traveling to Ellensburg the morning of that game.

“If they apply pressure, we know how to handle pressure because we faced it against Ellensburg,” Anderson said “That was a great experience for the girls for this moment.”

Iniguez said the Hardwood Classic has already been a success after River defended its 2A GSHL title and reached the district title game.

“I’m very grateful for how far we’ve come,” Iniguez said. “I’m taking in the moment. Honestly, whatever the outcome I’m going to be so proud of this team. We’re going to work hard and give everything we have.”

Ridgefield coach Lauren Hefflin is also proud of how far her team has come. The No. 9 seed Spudders (21-4) reached Yakima with their first tournament win since 2007, when Hefflin was a player.

“The goal was to get to Yakima,” Hefflin said. “From day one they pushed themselves in practice and took on everything that we gave them.”

Savannah Chanda led Ridgefield with 17 points including two 3-pointers in the final three minutes as the Spudders nearly overcame a 46-38 deficit.

After the game, Hefflin told her players this season is the start of something great. Ridgefield brings back its top three scorers – Jalise and Janessa Chatman and Chanda.

“Those big accomplishments and those steps we made, that’s where we get to start,” Hefflin said.

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RIDGEFIELD (21-4) – Abigail Vance 4, Savannah Chanda 16, Jalise Chatman 8, Elizabeth Swift 8, Kaylen Wingerd 0, Morgan Goode 3, Janessa Chatman 5, Madison Ingham 3. Totals 17-48 (6-19) 7-16 47.

COLUMBIA RIVER (19-7) – Marley Myers  7, Peyton Dukes 11, Camy Drake 10, Paige Johnson 2, Reese Dunning 0, Charmayne Castro 0, Emma Iniguez 14, Annie Morgan 0, Kaya Mirtich 0, Teaghan Wiggington 0, Gracie Glavin 7. Totals 18-48 (4-12) 11-17 51.

Ridgefield 12 9 10 16—47

Columbia River 14 13 14 10—51