YAKIMA – Sarah Scates wasn’t going to let something as small as a sprained ankle stand between her and a date with history.
Instead, the gritty Chewelah senior used a perfect first half to propel her team into the semifinals of the State 2A girls basketball tournament with a 65-42 win over Ridgefield at the Yakima SunDome.
Chewelah, which has never won a girls state basketball trophy, will face defending champion Chelan in today’s 4 p.m. semifinal. The Cougars are guaranteed of placing no worse than sixth.
Chewelah joins Great Northern League rival Riverside in the semifinals, becoming the fourth and fifth team from the league to advance to the semifinals in 2A.
Scates was 5 for 5 from the floor and 5 for 5 from the free-throw line for 15 points, and pulled down eight rebounds in less than 10 minutes of playing time as the Cougars dashed to a 33-18 halftime lead.
“We came here just wanting to make history,” said Scates, who finished with 17 points. “We are so excited about being in the semifinals.”
Scates spent the better part of Wednesday and Thursday morning – she was up at 6:30 to meet with training staff – undergoing therapy on her left ankle injured in Wednesday’s opener against Chimacum. She said she wasn’t sure she could run until she started warming up.
As if Scates’ standout performance weren’t enough, Ridgefield senior Brooke Lowery – the Spudders’ best player – picked up two fouls in the first 1:30 of the game and finished with three points, 10 less than her season average.
“Sarah just came in there and sparked us big time,” said Chewelah coach Kevin Mulligan. “Her being in there allowed us to do a lot of the things we are capable of.”
Nikki Nelson had 16 points in support of Scates.
Riverside 43, Lynden Christian 39
The Rams took an 11-point lead into the fourth period and almost gave it all away before holding off the Lyncs to advance into tonight’s 7:30 semifinal against tournament favorite King’s.
The Rams, who are assured of bringing home a state trophy for the first time, struggled with foul trouble to standout Angela Hartill, who scored 13 points but missed about 8 minutes.
Lynden Christian’s 6-foot-4 senior center Janelle Aupperlee spent nearly as much time on the bench as Hartill before fouling out with 3:42 remaining. The Rams held her to three points.
Riverside hit 30 percent (14 of 46 shots) from the floor. In Wednesday’s upset of East Valley-Yakima, the Rams hit 20 percent from the field.
“We got tentative in the fourth quarter,” Riverside coach Dave Wood said. “We tried to change some things and they put more pressure and did a nice job of making us work.”
Lynden Christian got 13 points from Brianne Ryan.
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