After an absence that spanned almost a full generation, the maroon and grey of Reardan High School will play girls basketball on a State 2B Saturday night in March.
Led by a lanky sophomore with a delicate touch from the top of the key, Reardan earned its first state title game appearance since 1988, racing past Darrington 58-24 Friday night in the Arena.
Kelsey Moos, a 5-foot-11 guard with a long-range touch so soft her shot excuses itself on its way through the net, scored 11 of Reardan’s first 22 points and helped fashion a 21-point halftime lead that kept expanding even as coach Ed Shields worked his way down his bench.
Reardan was in the state finals four straight years, from 1982 through 1985 – winning twice – and returned to win it all for a third time in 1988.
Joining Reardan in today’s 7 p.m. Hardwood Classic championship game is Toutle Lake, making its first title-game appearance.
The Fighting Ducks survived a 0-for-13 fourth-quarter shooting drought, finally passing Lake Roosevelt on a pair of free throws from Peyton Hoff with 13.9 seconds left.
Hoff had a chance to give her father, coach Larry Hoff, the lead with 48.2 seconds left and her team trailing 38-37, but she missed the front end of a 1-and-1. Missed the shot, missed the rim, missed everything.
“She embarrassed herself,” the proud father said. “But she redeemed herself.”
It was a tough night shooting for the Ducks, who converted just 12 of 50 shots from the floor but still managed to work their way out of an eight-point hole.
Lake Roosevelt had its shooting struggles in the second half, watching an eight-point halftime lead dissolve as the Ducks scored the final seven points of the third quarter to take a 37-36 lead into the fourth quarter.
Point guard Jada Desautel gave the Lady Raiders the lead again, pulling down a rebound and racing coast to coast for a layup 45 seconds into the final period. It would be the final points her team would score.
Still, Lake Roosevelt had a chance to win the game. The Raiders had possession of the ball with under a half of a minute to play and could have simply run out the clock. Instead, they turned the ball over by whipping an entry pass toward the low post that sailed out of bounds untouched.
Both Darrington and Lake Roosevelt were assured of their best finish before they meet today in the consolation final. The Loggers’ only other B trophy came from an eighth-place finish in 1985. The school placed seventh at the 1A tournament in 2001.
Lake Roosevelt is in its first 2B tournament, but the Raiders’ trophy case is home to fifth-, seventh- and eighth-place trophies from 1A tournaments.