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Friday, January 18, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports

LC Tigers drill team fan favorites

Girls from 4A school a hit on small-school stage

Not every tradition disappeared when the B schools split into 1B and 2B several years ago.

The renowned Lewis and Clark drill team performed at halftime of two semifinals at the Arena on Friday night – a practice that dates back about two dozen years according to Becky O’Neel.

“This crowd is really supportive,” she said. “We do a lot of competitions for crowds that don’t know us. This crowd knows us; really gets into it. It’s a lot of fun.”

O’Neel is only in her second year as coach, but she is a former drill team member.

“The other game we do that’s big is the Rubber Chicken (spirit game),” O’Neel said. “I could tell the girls’ energy level was real high.”

Surprisingly, the drill team doesn’t go to the State 4A tournament, where the Tigers’ girls team has been a fixture in recent years.

“The girls have wanted to go,” said O’Neel, who doubles as a Spanish teacher. “I don’t know how to set it up. But this is fun. Everyone is so nice to us.”

Pirates assured a trophy

After a frustrating loss in the first round of the girls tournament, Pomeroy won its next two games, and, win or lose today, the Pirates are taking home hardware.

“It’s pretty exciting,” coach Nettie Severs said after a 60-53 win over Entiat. “This is a historic year for us. It’s the first time we’ve ever gone to state in back-to-back seasons. And I think this is the first time we’ve ever placed.”

The back-to-back wins come as redemption for Pomeroy’s 31-25 loss to La Conner on Wednesday, in which the Pirates scored just two points in each of the first two quarters on 6-of-25 shooting.

“Maybe it was jitters, but we didn’t shoot well early on and it was tough to recover from that. We might have tensed up a little bit,” Severs said. “I tell my girls if you can hold someone under 35 you’re usually going to win.”

The Pirates came back from that slump with 57 points in eliminating Lind-Ritzville on Thursday and eclipsed that on Friday.

“It feels really good, especially after that tough loss in the first game because we really didn’t play our best game,” Severs said. “It would have been so hard to go home after that.”

Taelor Brooks continued her fine play for the Pirates, scoring 21 points with 15 rebounds on Friday, to boost her tournament scoring average to 17 per game.

Kacie Uto recovered from her 1-of-13, three-point performance in the first round to score 21 points with seven rebounds against Lind-Ritzville and 13 points and six steals against Entiat. She also made 9 of 11 free throws, none bigger than the two she made to seal the game with 27 seconds left after a steal and score from the Tigers’ Mandy Southard cut the Pirates’ lead, once 10 points, to 58-53.

“That was huge,” Severs said. “That’s the kind of mental toughness we’ve been working on all season.”

Severs said she thinks her team is reaching a tougher mindset. She said she was impressed with how her team fended off Entiat’s late-game surge, even if it wasn’t the prettiest.

“We had several turnovers, but they didn’t let that get to them,” she said. “And there were a few no-calls, but they didn’t let that get to them either. They just found a way.”

Fittingly, Pomeroy’s next game is against Orcas Island today at noon, another team that secured its first state tournament trophy with a 55-26 win over Seattle Lutheran.

No foul, no shot, no upset

Tyson Palmer did everything he could to help lead Garfield-Palouse to an upset of No. 1-ranked and unbeaten Northwest Christian in the night’s semifinal-round.

The senior guard, who finished with a game-high 19 points and scored six of them, including the buzzer-beating basket that forced overtime, in the final 48 seconds of the game.

But Palmer never got a chance to take the shot he really wanted to take – the free throw he thought he deserved at the end of regulation – and the Vikings went on to lose 59-46 in overtime as Northwest Christian, the three-time defending State B champion, won its 56th consecutive game in front of a frenzied crowd.

Palmer, after pulling Gar-Pal to within 45-44 on a baseline jumper with 20 seconds left in regulation, answered a NWC free throw by putting back his miss, and both he and Vikings coach Tim Coles thought he got fouled in the process.

The whistle never blew, however, and Gar-Pal had no answers in overtime, getting outscored 13-0.

“I thought he got fouled when he went up and shot the ball at the end of regulation,” Coles said of Palmer’s game-tying putback. “That ball goes in and if they call the foul and he makes the free throw, we’re in the state championship game.”

Palmer claimed he got hit on the arm when he was taking the shot and then got hit with a body on the way down.

“It would have been a big moment if I’d have gotten to shoot (a free throw) to win it,” he said. “I just wish I’d have gotten the chance.”

No answers for size

White Swan, with no player on its roster taller than 6-foot-3, struggled throughout Friday night’s 57-50 semifinal loss to Davenport to deal with the Gorillas’ 6-9 junior center Morgan Scharff, who finished with 10 points and nine rebounds, while also altering several Cougars shots.

“We were a little shy at the post position, and we knew that all along,” White Swan coach Manuel Rangel said. “It’s one thing to tell players what needs to be done in there, but doing it is another.

“At times we were successful in defending the post and being aggressive, but too many times we weren’t.”

And it didn’t help, either, that Davenport connected on 58.1 percent (25 of 43) of its field-goal tries, getting 22 points from Taylor Morgan and 14 from Jarod Gunning.

“They shot the lights out,” Rangel said. “It’s hard to beat a team when they’re stroking it like that.”

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