KENNEWICK – The last time the Mead girls basketball team captured a 4A regional championship, coach Regan Drew was a Panthers sophomore.
Mead went on to claim a state title. The year was 1992.
When Drew connected the dots following the Panthers’ 54-48 overtime win over first-year Pasco school Chiawana, it put an ear-to-ear grin on her face.
“That’s not a bad thing,” Drew said, still smiling.
Mead (21-5), which had to win a loser-out game to get into the District 8 tournament, Chiawana (22-3), Lewis and Clark (16-9) and Moses Lake (15-12) will represent eastern Washington at state, Wednesday through Saturday at the Tacoma Dome.
In an all-Greater Spokane League showdown for a state berth, Lewis and Clark, a three-time state champion, posted a convincing 60-37 win over Central Valley in a morning loser-out game.
Mead 54, Chiawana 48 (OT): The Panthers found themselves in familiar territory at halftime. They trailed the Riverhawks 27-20.
Mead shot poorly in the first half (6 of 27 from the field), and the Panthers didn’t have an answer for Chiawana post Mikaela Rivard, who had 12 of her 16 points in the first half.
“She’s strong, so tough,” Drew said. “It’s a tough matchup for us. I thought our kids were scrappy and did what they could do to limit her.”
Chiawana helped out, as the Riverhawks quit going to Rivard inside.
The Panthers took advantage, cutting the Riverhawks’ lead to 31-30 in the third quarter before going into the fourth behind 37-34.
Mead took its first lead at 40-39 on an up-and-under move by Jazmine Redmon with 4:56 to go. Redmon was named the tourney most valuable player.
The score teetered back and forth thereafter. With 27 seconds left, Chenise Pakootas skipped a pass across Chiawana’s defense to freshman Jade Redmon, who sank a 15-foot jumper to tie the score at 44 and force overtime.
Mead junior Kalee Junkermier hit two big 3-pointers in OT, the second extending Mead’s lead to 50-46 with 1:09 to go. She got a basket in transition moments later that secured the regional title.
Lewis and Clark 60, Central Valley 37: CV trailed just 22-20 at halftime. By the end of the third quarter, its hopes of snapping its state drought had evaporated as the Tigers took a 40-26 lead into the fourth.
LC is making its eighth straight trip to state.
“I think this weekend shows that we can play defense and we haven’t shown that all year,” LC coach Jim Redmon said. “We held CV to 37 points. That’s a tribute to team defense. I’m hoping that helps us over there (state).”
CV’s chance of winning took a big hit when sophomore Whitney Black possibly broke her left foot. CV led 17-15 with 2:42 to go before halftime.
“When she went down our spirits kind of went down with her,” CV coach Freddie Rehkow said. “They (the Tigers) picked it up and got more physical. It was tough to overcome the physical play. We didn’t respond the way we needed to.”
Devyn Galland led LC with 16 points and Mary Blevins added 14. Brooke Gallaway led CV (18-7) with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
“In the third quarter, we didn’t really say a lot,” Redmon said. “The momentum started to change when we got out and ran.”