There’s banner pinned up on the back wall of Sumner High School gymnasium that reads, “2012-13 Girls Basketball West Central District III Champions.”
Yet in some way, the Spartans felt like they had to prove themselves again Tuesday night, hosting perennial 2A SPSL powerhouse White River in a rematch of last season’s district title game.
And when junior post player Jamie Lange is involved and not in foul trouble, there’s always a chance for the Spartans.
Fourth-ranked Sumner rode a big scoring surge midway through the third quarter to pull away from the 10th-ranked Hornets for a 43-31 victory to take sole possession of the league lead.
Lange had 14 points and 11 rebounds for Sumner (12-1, 7-0 2A SPSL), which broke open a tight game with a 12-0 run to take a 29-19 lead near the end of the third quarter.
After White River took its final lead, 19-17, on point guard Amanda Lance’s pull-up jumper in the key, it was Lange’s three-point play on the other end that opened the floodgates.
And the Spartans needed it from her, too, because the 6-foot-1 center sat out much of the second quarter because of foul trouble.
“When she is not in the game, we are not very good without her. She is the best player in our league,” Sumner coach Shane Patrick said. “Once we started getting some good motion (offense) going, we got her good touches.”
Going inside-to-outside, Nicole Qualls hit a pair of 3-pointers for the Spartans during the decisive stretch.
The Hornets were down two starters, who were suspended for unspecified school-related violations, coach Chris Gibson said. That left Lance as the only real scoring threat, and she finished with a game-high 16 points.
“They obviously focused a lot on Mandy ... with double-teams. She did a nice job of staying patient,” Gibson said. “The opportunity, I thought, was in the first half to build a lead. We couldn’t get ourselves in position and were rushing things. We were a little nervous and a little excited ... but I am proud of the way they played under difficult circumstances.”
As for the Spartans, Patrick said winning another game against White River has its perks.
“Huge win for our confidence,” Patrick said. “I don’t think we truly believed we could win the game until the buzzer went off.”
At Sumner 61, White River 48: The 2A SPSL boys race got a little tighter as the Spartans handed the Hornets their first league loss of the season.
Keenen Jackson led all scorers with 19 points.
Riley Bruil added 17 as Sumner (7-5. 5-2) built a 20-point lead early in the fourth quarter.
White River (8-5, 6-1) cut it to 46-37 with six minutes to go before the Spartans scored on four consecutive trips, capped by Jace Johnson’s three-point play for a 53-39 Sumner lead with 2:55 to go.Todd Milles: 253-597-8442 firstname.lastname@example.org