The players sitting on the bench echoed the crowd sitting behind them chanting “D-up,” as the Wilson girls basketball team knuckled down to defeat Auburn Riverside, 61-55, on Friday in the second round of the Class 3A West Central District 3 tournament at Rogers High in Puyallup.
“We are a very good defensive team,” senior guard Amanda Darden said. “Defense is our specialty, and offense just flows with it.”
Darden, who is considered one of her team’s better defensive players picked up her fourth foul early in the third quarter, and found herself on the sideline for much of the second half of a scrappy, physical game. All four quarters were littered with fouls, turnovers, and brawls on the floor for loose balls.
“I thought the game was a little too physical at times, but I’m proud of how our girls battled,” Wilson coach Michelle Birge said.
Senior forward Violet Morrow said, while Darden was barely able to contribute to the second-half effort, the bench plays a key role in the success of the team.
“Our bench keeps us alive; our bench is our hype,” she said. “They keep us pumped while we’re in the game.
Morrow led Wilson with 25 points, while junior forward Kiara Knox added 18.
“I have to lead my team to where we want to go, and we want to win a district and state championship,” Morrow said. “And I’m taking us there.”
Wilson sustained a point cushion for the majority of the game, but Auburn Riverside kept the game within reach into the fourth quarter, led by sophomore guard Mckenzi Williams with 16 points and sophomore post Faith Turner with 15.
“We got down to start and we played to get back in it, but it was just too big of a gap,” Williams said.
Auburn Riverside never led through four quarters. The Ravens fall into the consolation bracket, where they will face Kelso at 6:30 p.m. Monday at Franklin Pierce High. Wilson, meanwhile, locked up a regional berth with the victory. The Rams face Prairie at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Rogers High in Puyallup in the semifinals.
“The dream was to get to another district championship game,” Birge said. “It wasn’t a pretty game, but the dream’s still alive, so that’s what we’re going to put our hat on.”
“We just had to get going in the second half,” said Prom, who scored 17 in the second half. “Our main goal was to push and outrun the other team.”
Prairie did just that, causing frustration and desperation for Lakes. Lakes’ leading scorer, senior guard Olivia Crawford, who had 18 points, played late into the fourth quarter after entering the half with four fouls. She and sophomore guard Malory LaPoole both fouled out, to nearly empty a Lakes bench that was only three players deep.
Lakes will face Enumclaw at 4:30 p.m. Monday at Franklin Pierce in an elimination game, while Prairie advances to the semifinals, and will play Wilson at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Rogers High.
Sumner outscored Central Kitsap 16-2 in the second quarter.
The Spartans advance to face Lincoln, which beat Kennedy Catholic, 45-29, in the WCD 3 semifinals at 7:45 p.m. Wednesday at Rogers High School.
Central Kitsap faces Hazen in an elimination game at 1 p.m. Monday at Franklin Pierce.