Tekoa-Oakesdale coach Dan Brown couldn’t be happier to face Colton again despite the fact his Nighthawks absorbed 49-, 40- and 34-point losses at the hands of the Wildcats this season.
“If we play Colton again, the third day at state is the place to do it,” he said after his team pulled out a thrilling 61-59 win over Mount Vernon Christian in Friday’s first semifinal of the State 1B girls basketball tournament at the Arena.
Colton had no problem earning a chance at its sixth straight title, dispatching Pateros 60-22.
For Tekoa-Oakesdale (22-4), it was a little different. It took a 10-foot shot from the right of the line by Olivia Pakootas with 4.3 seconds left to quell the Hurricanes (25-4).
Pakootas finished with 22 points, which offset the 27 poured in by Mount Vernon Christian’s Grace Kuipers.
“My shot was on, it was the night to be on,” Pakootas said. “I hope it carries over.”
Tekoa-Oakesdale led 9-8 after one quarter as the Hurricanes had seven turnovers. But in the second quarter they hit five 3s and took a 27-24 lead. A big problem for the Nighthawks, besides 9-of-31 shooting from the field, was a 3-9 performance from the foul line.
At the end, both coaches could blame foul shooting for not making it easy. MVC was 4 for 12, Tekoa-Oakesdale 7 for 19. “We’re usually in the 60 percent range,” Brown said. “Free throws really aren’t physical, that’s mental.”
He said that’s going to be the key tonight, be mentally strong. And Pakootas agreed.
“Our mindset has been they’re five-time champions and we shut down,” she said. “We have to think they’re a different team, different girls.”
Colton (25-0), which set the tournament points record in its opening 89-27 win over Tulalip Heritage, had no problem snapping the 22-game winning streak of Pateros (22-2).
After the Nannies scored the first basket, the Wildcats went off. A 3 from Haley Meyer made it 13-4 at the 2:45 mark and it was 21-7 after one. Zoe Moser hit a 3 to make it 27-7 at 5:54. And it was 36-9 at the half with Jenna Moser pumping in 16.
Jenna Moser finished with 22 points and her sister had 13.
“Our defense set the tone,” Wildcats coach Clark Vining said. “It was one of our best games of the year. And our bench played well.”
No one is expecting a letdown against a familiar but easily vanquished foe.
“It’s not something I worry about,” Vining said. “We treat every opponent the same and do what we do.”
Jenna Moser added, “The three (wins) are behind us. This is for all the marbles. Our county and league and district are tough. I’m not surprised (to face Tekoa-Oakesdale) at all.”