YAKIMA — White River High School will leave the Yakima Valley SunDome with a trophy on Saturday.
Kendall Bird made sure of that.
The senior scored 34 points and pulled down 17 rebounds as the third-ranked Hornets snuck by Archbishop Murphy, 56-53, in a Class 2A state tournament elimination game on Friday afternoon.
“She was motivated,” White River coach Chris Gibson said. “She played well. I though our kids did a great job of finding her in the right places at the right times.”
Bird, The News Tribune’s 2017 All-Area girls basketball player of the year, had plenty to fight for after a frustrating opening game against Lynden on Thursday.
Bird spent most of the game in foul trouble, and the Lions advanced to the semifinals with a 64-42 win.
“We played a lot more physical today,” Bird said. “We really got after it. We bounced back really well. We took what happened (Thursday) and fixed it today.”
Bird said emotions were running high after the quarterfinal loss.
“We woke up this morning as a team and decided we had to get it done today,” she said. “We weren’t going to let today be our last day together.”
The Hornets fell into an early hole after Archbishop Murphy opened the game with a flurry of 3-pointers.
Emily Rodabaugh nailed a 3-pointer with one minute to play in the first quarter to give the Wildcats a lead they carried until late in the third.
“It wasn’t looking good for a while there,” Gibson said. “That’s a really good basketball team with a ton of weapons.”
Archbishop Murphy led, 30-24, at the break.
“We definitely went into halftime down a little bit,” Bird said. “We talked to each other and said, ‘Listen, their 3-point shot is killing us.’
“But we closed out on our shooters and drove to the basket a little bit harder than we had in the first half.”
Bird fired back in the second half, scoring 23 of her game-high 34 points.
She gave White River the lead back for the first time since the first quarter with 3:30 to go in the third when she nabbed a long pass and spun around for a layup.
That was part of a 12-2 Hornets run to open the second half.
“We had some really big half-court offensive possessions where the kids executed really well,” Gibson said.
The lead changed eight times in the fourth quarter — at one time the Wildcats built it to two possessions — before Bird took it back for good on that same baseline layup move.
“My teammates fed me the ball really well,” Bird said. “They knew where I was all the time. They knew when I wanted it and where I wanted it. I just took what they gave me.”
Sofia Lavinder, who pitched in 13 points for the Hornets, hit a pair of free throws with 1.3 seconds remaining to seal the win.
“This has been a great group,” Gibson said. “This has been a lot of fun. I’m just so happy for them that they get to finish out their last day together on the last day.
“I’m proud of them for that, and that’s the way we want to finish.”
White River (25-3) plays fourth-ranked Wapato (21-4) for fourth or sixth place at 9:30 a.m. Saturday.
“Playing in a trophy game is awesome,” Bird said. “I’m really excited to leave it all out there.”
Newport 49, Cascade Christian 41: Grayson Jones hit a 3-pointer late in the first quarter to give Cascade Christian a lead, but the Cougars couldn’t hold onto it in a 1A boys state tournament elimination game.
Adam Moorhead gave Newport the lead for good on a layup with 2:15 to play in the second, and the Grizzles built it from there.
Newport led by as many as 12 points in the fourth, led by Danny Bradbury’s game-high 16 points. Jones (10 points) was Cascade Christian’s leading scorer.
Newport (17-10) plays La Center (18-6) for fourth or sixth place at 9:30 a.m. Saturday. Cascade Christian (14-13) is out.
White River 16 8 12 20_56
Archbishop Murphy 20 10 7 16_53
WR – Rasmussen 4, G. Lavinder 2, Bird 34, S. Lavinder 13, Narolski 3
AM – Hill 10, Dorney 13, Lucas 4, Rodabaugh 11, Ducheane 8, Riojas 2, Lucas 2, Graham 3
Cascade Christian 17 4 6 14_41
Newport 16 7 12 14_49
CC – Fox 7, Lanier 5, Cooley 5, Jones 10, Nohr 7, Remington 3, Johnson 2, Larsen 2
N – Zorica 4, Pancho 9, Owen 8, Leslie 7, Bradbury 16, Smith 3, Moorhead 2