Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Okanogan, Napavine power into State 2B girls final

Mike Vlahovich Correspondent

The state’s top-ranked girls 2B basketball teams gave ample reason why as they roared into finals of today’s 5 p.m. championship with nearly matching scores.

Defending champion and No. 1-ranked Okanogan won its 55th consecutive game, beating outgunned Mabton 58-26. The win came on the heels of the Napavine Tigers’ convincing 58-28 romp over Wahkiakum, its fourth this season over the Mules.

The Tigers may have struggled in their opener Thursday, but there was little doubt in the semifinal at a decidedly more frantic pace.

Led by standout Melissa Lee, they ran off 11 consecutive points to end the first quarter ahead by eight. They added a 17-point run during three minutes of the second quarter to lead by 21 with three minutes left before halftime.

Lee scored 11 points in the first half en route to 21 for the game, and it seemed the more contact the more efficient her shot. She also grabbed 11 rebounds, seven at the offensive end.

“I just rebound and make layins, I guess,” she said afterward, adding she knew they had a shot at reaching the finals after losing to Okanogan in the first round last year.

Napavine’s Grace Hamre, who hit three 3-pointers, pitched in with 13 points more.

“It’s been a while since got into a rhythm and tonight we definitely got into that rhythm,” Tigers coach Jeremy Landrum said, “Okanogan kicked our butt last year. We’ll see what 32 minutes hold.”

Okanogan’s 32-point win over Mabton was typical this year. The Bulldogs average victory margin is 42 points. Only two were decided by single digits, including a two-point escape over 2A semifinalist East Valley.

Mabton had played Okanogan tough earlier this year and scrapped to a 20-12 halftime deficit, despite giving up considerable size to a young but more physically mature team.

“We have this rivalry going back to the A leagues,” Okanogan coach Bryan Boesel said. “They always make us work hard. They don’t let you do what you want to do.”

But once Okanogan shook off the first half rust and got its high-octane attack in gear, Mabton had no chance.

Jill Townsend, who averaged more than 24 points per game this season, alternated baskets with fellow junior Jordyn Boesel, then scored eight straight points as the lead ballooned in the fourth quarter. A 20-point run made the score 48-20.

Townsend had a 23-point, nine-rebound night. Boesel chipped in 15 points and Cayden Diefenbach, one of three seniors on the team, had 10 rebounds.