SPOKANE — Wahkiakum met near-neighbors South Bend Thursday in a second-round contest at the 2B WIAA girls state championship. And the result was a lopsided win for the Mules, 44-21.
The result means Wahkiakum will meet Liberty in a state semifinal 7:15 p.m. Friday while South Bend plays Davenport in a loser-out game at 12:15 p.m. Friday for a chance to advance to the fourth-sixth place final.
The Mules came into the tournament ranked No. 1 in the girls 2B division having earlier earned a first-round bye.
South Bend, the lowest-ranked qualifier at 15th, enjoyed a 49-29 win over Auburn Adventist in the opening round Wednesday. The win was keyed by 12 points for senior Karley Reidinger and 10 each for Zaira Medina and Alise Rohr. Reidinger was commanding throughout that game, but was unable to replicate that against a spirited Wahkiakum defense.
On practically the first play of the second-round game, Wahkiakum senior Ellie Leitz and Reidinger tussled for a ball under the South Bend hoop, perhaps signaling an intense matchup between the Southwest Washington neighbors.
But alas for South Bend, it was not to be. After a low-scoring first quarter, the Mules led 16-4 at half time then put their foot on the gas to win convincingly.
As the game waned, Wahkiakum senior Charlie Ashe hit back-to-back three-pointers that even had the announcer sounding incredulous. They were six of the eight points Ashe scored, but her industry in bringing the ball to the hoop was equally important.
The Indians’ Jessica Sanchez, their best rebounder, replied with a powerful run to score, but seconds later sophomore Paige Mace was adding another three to the Mules’ total. Leiz was the Mules’ high scorer with 10 with sophomore Jansi Merz adding nine. Senior Hannah Byington was the Indians’ high-point player with 10.
The Liberty-Davenport matchup immediately before the Mules-Indians game Thursday was an exciting contest worthy of a final, featuring considerable physical play. Liberty led through the second half and won 55-45 with three players scoring in double figures.
Playing in the same division Wednesday, Ilwaco girls were eliminated after losing 59-41 to St. George’s of Spokane.