The old adage says defense wins championships, and that may be the case. The girls 4A final between two very familiar foes was low-scoring, but both teams would admit it was more a hard-fought battle of attrition rather than an exhibition of defensive excellence, with the environment of the big arena not helping matters.
Contact in the lane resembled football more than basketball at times, with bodies hitting the floor – often very hard.
But it finished with a flourish. And of course, it went to overtime – when all-league first team pick Peyton Howard took over.
Howard scored eight of her 19 points in the extra session and and top-seeded Central Valley outlasted seventh-seeded Mead 55-53 in the District 8 4A championship game at the Toyota Center in Kennewick.
“That’s kind of what you expect from like a senior leader,” CV coach Felice Orrell said of Howard. “She’s kind of our go-to. so yeah. she did an awesome job.”
With the win, CV (19-3) topped Mead (15-8) in all three of their meetings this season.
Howard said the conditions contributed to the low scoring.
“It’s hard to come in where you haven’t shot and it’s hard to adjust to no backdrop, but I think we learned to pull through at the end of game.”
“I think it’s a nice kind of dress rehearsal for state,” Orrell said. “Everyone’s out of their element and everyone’s kind of doing different things so just a good lesson for us.”
Grace Geldien scored seven of her 13 points in the fourth quarter to help get it to OT and MJ Bruno added 12 points.
Sophomore Kyla Momberg led Mead with 16 points and her senior sister Joelnell – a first-team all-GSL selection – had 15.
Mead called timeout with 19.1 seconds left in regulation to set up a play, but Geldien stole Kyla Momberg’s entry pass to force overtime.
Bruno knocked down a 3 with 82 seconds left in the extra frame, then Howard buried one the next time down to put CV up four.
Mead’s Alicia Suggs scored to make it a two-point game with 48.1 seconds left, but Olivia Moore missed the front-end of a 1-and-1 and Howard came up with the rebound and was fouled. Howard made her free throws to make it a four-point game with 12 seconds left.
“Nobody had the confidence in us this year because we graduated so many people,” Howard said. “It’s good to kind of …let them know we’re still here.”
The teams combined for 20 points in the first quarter. Cami Rudd came off the bench late in the second and drilled a long 3-pointer to help the Bears to a 20-18 lead at intermission.
Neither team shot better than 35% in the first have and they combined for 22 turnovers.
The third quarter didn’t see an increase in offensive fireworks. Howard popped a 3 midway through the frame and Abby Lewis’ fastbreak layup put CV up 30-27 after three.
The offense picked up a little in the final stanza for both teams.
Kyla Momberg converted a three-point play to tie it at 30. Geldien answered with a pair of baskets in the lane to put CV up four at the 5-minute mark. Her 3-pointer moments later made it 39-32.
But Mead didn’t quit, and Joelnell Momberg hit a long 3 to tie it at 40 with 2:18 left.
Howard’s spinning layup put CV back up four, but Kyla Momberg answered with a short jumper and Joelnell Momberg’s runner with 37 seconds left tied it at 44.
Chiawana 74, University 62: Talia Von Oelhoffen scored 36 points and the Riverhawks (21-3) eliminated the Titans (12-12) in a District 8 4A loser-out at the Toyota Center in Kennewick on Friday.
Chiawana went 27 of 35 at the line, while U-Hi went 9 of 13.
Tyler McCliment Call scored 26 points and Ellie Boni added 21 for the Titans.
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