ROCHESTER - Columbia High School, in White Salmon, broke open a 15-15 halftime tie to run away with a 50-34 District IV victory over the Lady Fishermen in Rochester Friday. The loss by Ilwaco ended their season with an 8-14 record and also truncated the brilliant and steady career of leading scorer and rebounder, Lanie Kary. The loss was the Lady Fishermen's third to Columbia this season.
"Unfortunately we didn't play one of our better games and tonight White Salmon played by far their best game of the three they played against us," coach Ned Bittner explained. "They seemed to get every loose ball and they out-rebounded us, as well."
Kary scored 21 to complete her career with 1,024 points in 85 games during her four years on the court for Ilwaco. Kary was held to seven rebounds by the double-teaming hustle of the Lady Bruins defense, only the fifth time in 22 contests this season that she did not produce a double-double in points and rebounds.
Bittner said, "Lanie has been a great person in our basketball program, besides being a great player. I can't say enough good things about her. Our team is going to have a new identity next year without her on the court." Melany Bliss was Ilwaco's only other senior and she was held scoreless in her final game for the Lady Fishermen.
Neither squad was able to find the hoop in the early going as the first period ended 7-3 in favor of the Lady Bruins. Kary triggered Ilwaco's comeback to even the contest at 15-15 at intermission. It was then that White Salmon's Adrianne DeLay swished four 3-point shots in the third period to help elevate her teammates to a 22-7 quarter against Ilwaco and effectively swing the contest in Columbia's favor.
The Lady Fishermen played the Lady Bruins evenly the final eight minutes of the game, but the third period outburst and the hustle of their leading scorer, Ericka Ziegler (18 points), throughout the contest was the difference.
"They out-played us tonight and they deserve to move on," Bittner stated. "Our girls played hard all game, but we just didn't shoot well enough to win, even though we got open looks at the basket. When we pressed we weren't able to get the ball away from them and White Salmon did a good job of double-teaming Lanie and of rebounding, especially on the offensive glass.
"We had high goals for the season and we achieved one of them by earning a trip to district. Our three freshmen (Alexa and Kenzi Wirkkala and Vallori Crowston) gave us a boost and tonight Cameo Ulbricht played very well on defense. We have 10 girls returning and hopefully the experience they gained by playing at district will help them have success next season.
Bittner concluded, "Unfortunately we didn't do what we needed to do tonight to win, but I enjoyed every day of practice and I'm looking forward to next season. I'm also going to miss Lanie and Melany and I really appreciate all that they contributed over their careers."
ILWACO - Marin McDonnell 2, Vallori Crowston 4, Alexa Wirkkala 5, Ashley Tapio 2, Lanie Kary 21
COLUMBIA - Adrianne Delay 12, Lacey Kruse 4, Ericka Ziegler 18, Julie Thiel 2, Michelle McMillen 4, Laurel Huth 1, Shannon McNallen 9
Forks three-pronged attack downs Ilwaco in district openerCENTRALIA - Forks put on a clinic of excellent passing and shooting in the second period as they inundated Ilwaco with a 28-5 quarter on their way to a 68-30 District IV victory in Centralia Wednesday. Ilwaco was within 12-7 after the first period against the Evergreen League champions, but when the Lady Spartans shot 60 percent from the field and rattled off 16 unanswered points in the second stanza while blowing to a 40-12 advantage at intermission, the contest became out of reach.
One bright spot for the Lady Fishermen was the 14-point, 14-rebound performance of senior post, Lanie Kary. Kary, the Trico MVP, eclipsed the 1,000-point milestone for her career with her 11th tally of the night and topped all scorers except Madison Justus' 23 points for the Lady Spartans.
Alexa Justus added 13 points and Meegan Leppell kicked in 10 for the Forks three-pronged attack. The Lady Spartans had 23 assists to their 30 baskets and shot a blistering 50 percent from the field, making 30 of 60 tries. They were six of nine from beyond the arc. About the only thing that tarnished the Forks effort was the fact that their coach inexplicably had four starters on the court with a 38-point lead at the end of the game, much to the consternation of fans on both sides of the aisle, while Ilwaco had substituted liberally in the final four minutes of the fray.
Coach Ned Bittner explained, "We were competing well, playing hard in the first period, but then our defensive match-ups started leaving their shooters open and they completely buried us." Kenzi Wirkkala added six points and Alexa scored two off the bench for Ilwaco. Aimee Banuet and Marin McDonnell had two and Melany Bliss added four points. Vallori Crowston and Banuet each had two assists and Kenzi Wirkkala contributed six rebounds.
FORKS - Kendra Zellar 3, Meegan Leppell 10, Madison Justus 23, Julie Steveson 5, Alexa Justus 13, Darlene Obi 4, Paige Kennedy 4, Mariah Dillard 6
ILWACO - Aimee Banuet 2, Marin McDonnell 2, Alexa Wirkkala 2, Melany Bliss 4, Lanie Kary 14, Kenzi Wirkkala 6