When Amanda Lance sees Kristin Sturdivan flash those spirit fingers, she knows what to do.
They’ve played together since they were sixth graders so Lance knows by now that it means Sturdivan is feeling it.
“When she gets those going, I know it’s going in,” Lance said.
Well, Sturdivan’s spirit fingers were going. Lance passed, and her senior teammate hit a 3-pointer from the right wing with 1 minute, 26 seconds remaining at Puyallup High.
The fourth-ranked White River High School girls basketball team extended its lead from three points to six and never looked back, beating No. 10 Blaine, 60-51, in the regional round of the Class 2A state tournament to advance to the quarterfinals at the Yakima Valley SunDome.
Sturdivan made four 3-pointers in the second half, finishing with 14 points. Lance and sophomore forward Kendall Bird scored 19 points each.
But it was Sturdivan’s hot shooting in the second half that helped the Hornets (22-3) pull away.
“Jeez. That’s a huge game,” White River coach Chris Gibson said. “Sometimes she passes those up. She just needs to shoot. She’s done that for four years for us. I’m proud of her. She had the guts to take those shots and she knocked them down.”
Blaine (9-13) ends its season one game shy of a return trip to the SunDome after reaching the 1A quarterfinals last year.
The Borderites (9-13) trailed by as much as 47-33 in the fourth quarter after leading 12-10 after the first. But a 3-pointer from Taylor V’Dovec and free throws from Breanna Chau, who finished with 19 points, cut Blaine’s deficit to 49-46.
But, then, the spirit fingers. And White River never looked back.
“That one needed to go in,” Gibson said.
Bellarmine Prep (22-2) lost in the regional round of the state tournament each of the past two years.
“There’s no words to describe how excited I am,” Martin said. “I’ve wanted this since my freshman year and I finally get to do it my senior year. This is awesome.”
The Lions forced almost 30 turnovers and held Camas to three points above its season low. The Papermakers (18-6) scored 15 points in the first half.
“I’m proud of these girls for getting back to the Tacoma Dome,” Bellarmine Prep coach Kevin Meines said. “That was our goal from the get-go. This is a really special group of kids who have stuck together and have really fought through some adversity. So I just couldn’t be more proud of this group of kids.”
Senior guard Jayana Ervin picked up her second foul less than three minutes into the game, so Meines took her out. The Lions struggled offensively without her, but made up for it with a dominant defensive effort. They led 9-7 after the first quarter.
Smith got going in the second. The freshman scored 13 of her team’s 28 first-half points.
“She’s something special,” Meines said. “She’s one of those kids who inherently knows where to be on the floor. She’s so mature beyond her years.”
It was Martin’s turn in the third quarter, scoring six points on five possessions with Ervin back in the game (and with Smith in foul trouble this time) as Bellarmine went on a 10-21-7 run.
The Papermakers’ season ended with a record of 18-6.