YAKIMA – Playing to make certain her teammates’ dreams of a state title stayed alive, East Valley senior Genesis Wilkinson took over the second half of Thursday’s State 2A quarterfinal game against top-ranked Lynden.
The Carroll College-bound senior scored eight of her team’s 33 second-half points, but it was as much her confidence that carried the day for the Knights in a 52-42 win, the second straight quarterfinal win over Lynden for East Valley. In 2018, the Knights got 16 points from Wilkinson and won 58-38.
East Valley (21-6) is back in the semifinals for the third time in four seasons. The Knights will face White River on Friday in the first semifinal at 7:15 p.m.
“Coach told me to step up, it was time to go and this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Wilkinson said when asked about Rob Collins’ halftime advice.
“I decided to put it all on my shoulders and with the help of my teammates, we got it done.”
The Knights’ guards started pounding the ball in to Wilkinson with about four minutes left in the third quarter.
When the run started, the game was tied. When Faith Adams followed Wilkinson’s second layup – and sixth point in the span – with a free-throw line jumper with 6:14 remaining in the final quarter, EV led 36-26. Lynden got no closer than six points the rest of the way.
“Coach made it clear that I needed to be a leader,” said Wilkinson, an All-Great Northern League player this season. “We’re not done. I did this for my teammates, my family … for everyone.”
Other than Wilkinson, Holly Flynn keyed the Knights’ attack. Flynn hit 7 of 9 field-goal attempts inside the 3-point arc and led the Knights with 16 points. Wilkinson had 13 points and nine rebounds, and Adams added 10 points.
It looked like EV’s title dream might end early in the first half. Lynden shot only 28 percent from the floor, but scooped up 12 offensive rebounds and led 22-12.
But Wilkinson hit a driving jumper, Brie Holecek had a layup and Flynn added a three-point play – all in the final 2 minutes – and the deficit was down to three at the half.
“I think we were just a little timid in the first half,” Collins said. “I told them that we were still in this game, that we’ve had 12 turnovers – one less than we had all game yesterday – and they had 12 offensive boards on us.
“Those were our key points, and I told them if we just took care of that, we’d be fine. I knew when we had the last five points of the first half, and cut the lead to three, that we had a chance. “
Clarkston girls 42, Black Hills 28: Ashlyn Wallace scored 19 points and the third-seeded Bantams (22-2) downed the No. 13-seeded Wolves (18-8) to advance to the semifinals.
Mickala Jackson added 15 points and six rebounds for Clarkston, which will play either Washougal at 9 p.m. on Friday with a spot in the state title game on the line.
Pullman boys 64, Clarkston 52 (OT): Jacob Wells scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds as the fifth-seeded Greyhounds (21-5) took control in overtime to top the No. 6-seeded Bantams (16-9) in their quarterfinal contest.
Pullman outscored its Great Northern League foe 14-2 in the extra period.
Brandton Chatfield paced Clarkston with 26 points and 16 rebounds, and Tru Allen added 13 points for the Bantams.
Pullman faces top-seeded Lynden in Friday’s semifinals at 3:45 p.m. Seventh-seeded Selah faces No. 13-seed Renton in the other semifinal at 5:30 p.m.
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