NWC ‘planned’ for title matchup
Crusaders will try to deny Reardan a 2B three-peat
Chanel Knight made the most of her second chance, giving Northwest Christian its fifth chance at Reardan and its first chance at the state championship.
Knight rebounded her missed layup and made a layup at the buzzer Friday night as NWC (23-6) shocked Pe Ell 47-46 to cap semifinal night at the State 2B girls basketball tournament at the Arena.
“I wasn’t really thinking, it was all adrenaline,” Knight said. “I missed and I knew there wasn’t very much time left, and I knew I had to get the ball back because it was our only option.”
The Crusaders, who trailed 45-38 with 3:05 left and 46-41 with 1:19 to go, will meet league neighbor Reardan (28-1) at 7 tonight for the state title. Reardan, which blasted Morton-White Pass (18-8) 54-15 in the first semifinal, has won the last two titles and five overall while NWC qualified for its first final.
Reardan has defeated NWC four times this season, twice by double digits, once by five points and once by two.
“I had my girls write out goals at the beginning of the season and one of their goals was to beat Reardan in the state championship,” NWC coach Ashley Connell said. “So this is exactly where they wanted to be.”
NWC held the Trojans (24-2) scoreless for the final 1:19, closing within 46-43 on Courtney Gray’s offensive rebound and basket with 1:04 left and within 46-45 on Maria Guske’s basket with 25 seconds remaining.
With 10 seconds left, the Crusaders intentionally fouled Sami Robinson, who missed both free throws. NWC’s Rachel Bozlee stole Pe Ell’s inbounds pass and fed Guske, who missed a layup. NWC got the ball out of bounds with 3.3 seconds left for the winning play to Knight.
“Any shot in general, I told the girls they needed to get down there and if we missed the shot we had to get the board or draw a foul,” Connell said.
Reardan advanced with a state-record defensive performance, besting the mark set in 2006 when Morton held Clallam Bay to 16 points.
“We’re a great defensive team and we’re a little different defensively,” Reardan coach Ed Shields said. “We don’t get out and hound you on the perimeter, but we make sure that everybody’s checked off and everybody’s in position.”
The Indians had an 18-0 second-quarter run to take a 32-6 lead. Reardan hit seven 3-pointers in the first half, including three by senior Chantel Heath.
“Chantel was phenomenal all year controlling our offense; calling our offensive sets,” Shields said. “I call her our quarterback.”
Arizona State-bound Kelsey Moos took over for Reardan in the third quarter, scoring 15 of her 19 points, including four baskets after offensive rebounds. Moos had a game-high 14 rebounds.
“Every player’s going to have their off nights and I definitely had mine in the first half,” Moos said. “I decided at halftime to control what I could control, so I decided to get after it on defense. Then my teammates found me on the other end, on offense, in the second half.”
Reardan, which starts four seniors, is 80-4 in the last three years. The Indians have won 26 consecutive games since a three-point loss to Brewster early in the season.