The White River High School girls basketball team might be young, but the Hornets have been playing like veterans, winning 13 of their past 14 games.
And now they’re heading to state.
Freshman post Kendall Bird had a game-high 25 points Saturday, and White River pulled away from Black Hills for a 71-63 victory in their Class 2A regional playoff game at Puyallup High School.
The Hornets have earned a spot in the 2A state tournament, starting Thursday at the Yakima Valley SunDome.
“They have won some tough games,” Hornets coach Chris Gibson said, “and I’m very proud of them and proud of their composure tonight.”
Bird came up clutch in the paint in the fourth quarter as Black Hills senior Sarah McGee, bound for Southern Utah next year, was in foul trouble.
Bird scored nine of her 25 points in the fourth, including four on back-to-back possessions as the Hornets (22-5) took their largest lead of the game, 63-54.
Amanda Lance finished with 19 points for White River, and Kristin Sturdivan scored 14.
McGee finished with 18 points and 15 rebounds — seven on the offensive glass — as White River held her to three field-goal attempts in the second half.
Nicole Nurmi picked up the slack for the Wolves (19-6), scoring 10 of her 18 points after halftime.
Attacking the basket, particularly with a smaller Black Hills lineup on the floor, was key for the Hornets’ late-game push.
“You have to attack the rim, and I thought that was a big part of it,” White River coach Chris Gibson said. “They (Black Hills) are a good defensive ball club, but we made some plays with how we attacked the basket.”
White River 70, River Ridge 50: In a preview of future 2A South Puget Sound League foes — River Ridge jumps to the SPSL next season — White River (21-7) employed runs and its size advantage in the paint against the Hawks.
The Hornets took an eventual 27-point lead at Puyallup High School, clinching a berth in the 2A state tournament in Yakima.
River Ridge (14-11) ends its season one game shy of state for the second straight season.
Brandon Dove led White River with 22 points. Spencer Swigart had 20, and Brandon Garbin contributed 17 for the Hornets.
The Hawks, unable to score points in transition, were held to their second-lowest point total this season. River Ridge’s season low was 49 points in their 2A District IV semifinal loss to Mark Morris.
LaBrandon Price led the Hawks with 13 points, followed by Kobe Key with 11.Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473 email@example.com