The River Ridge Hawks don’t want to forget about Thursday’s Class 2A girls state quarterfinal loss, but rather learn from the mistakes and apply them to Friday’s consolation game against a familiar opponent: 2A South Puget Sound League rival White River.
While Ellensburg’s 60-35 victory sends the Bulldogs to a rematch with top-ranked Mark Morris in the 7:15 p.m. semifinal Friday for a second consecutive year, the Hawks fall to an elimination game and are in a must-win situation in order to claim their second state trophy in three seasons.
In 2013, the same River Ridge program bounced back from an opening day loss to Burlington-Edison to play on Trophy Saturday.
As lopsided as Thursday’s score was, the Hawks got the picture-perfect start they needed. Their largest lead grew to 11 at the 6:24 mark of the second quarter after Mel Sitani’s putback in the lane made it 21-10. River Ridge was getting looks inside and hitting shots outside; Makenna Schultz and Savannah McGill combined for 10 first-quarter points.
That’s when the offense wilted.
Ellensburg went on an 8-0 run to end the first half, taking a 22-21 halftime lead into the locker room despite being outrebounded, 24-9, by River Ridge. The 10-minute halftime didn’t stop the Bulldogs’ momentum, instead seeming only to fuel it.
In all, Ellensburg outscored River Ridge 50-14 over the course of the game after the Hawks’ 21-10 lead.
Schultz (team-best 11 points) didn’t hit a field goal after the first quarter until a 3-pointer with three minutes to play. By then, however, the damage was done. Ellensburg’s lead ballooned to 56-35.
“You’re hoping it’s going to stop. You’re hoping a big shot (from us) is going to happen,” Hawks coach Jackie Robinson said.
McGill, who entered the tournament averaging a double-double, finished with three points and 11 rebounds. She said despite Ellensburg’s runs, there was still no doubt in the Hawks’ gameplan.
“I have a lot of confidence in our team,” she said. “We needed to hit the switch to go, but we just couldn’t find it.”
Now, the attention turns to Friday.
“It’s not over yet,” McGill said.
Julie Spencer scored 10 of her 12 points in the first half to help the Bearcats, champions of the 2A Evergreen Conference, lead the Lions, 27-15, at halftime.
Kaylee Sowle, Mary M. Knight’s leading scorer as an eighth-grader, was held to six points, nine below her season averaged.
Neah Bay built a 32-14 halftime lead and forced 11 first-half turnovers.
MMK faces Pateros at 10:30 a.m. Friday in a consolation game.