Kendall Bird's 29 points, 15 rebounds lifts White River to 2A district title
Kendall Bird plays basketball far better than she cuts down nets.
She scored 29 points and had 15 rebounds in third-ranked White River’s 56-41 victory against North Kitsap for the 2A West Central District title — the Hornets’ second straight district title — on Saturday at Foss High School.
Then she was one of the last Hornets to cut down a piece of the net for a district-title keepsake. First she didn’t appear to fully comprehend how to use scissors, then she lost the piece after cutting it down.
“That was embarrassing,” Bird laughed.
It’s not too hard to cut her some slack.
Especially since her dominant performance allowed her to pass Trisha Hermanson for the most points scored in White River basketball history — pushing her starting four-year varsity career total to 1,848 career points, coach Chris Gibson said.
“You can only guard Kendall for so long,” Gibson said of his 6-foot-2, University of San Diego-bound post. “She just kind of wears on you.”
And she keeps White River in games even when few things seem to be going right.
The Hornets made 37 percent of their shots (17 of 46) for the game and trailed North Kitsap, 23-22, at halftime. They were worse from the 3-point line, making 5 of 22 shots.
But what wasn’t working from the outside, Bird made work from the inside. Her 29th point gave White River a 49-37 lead in the fourth quarter. Georgia Lavinder added 14 points.
“We haven’t shot the ball real well this past week,” Gibson said. “We will. We have some good shooters.”
Now White River can direct its attention toward the 2A state tournament.
The Hornets are No. 3 in the WIAA’s RPI rankings and the top eight are guaranteed a spot in the Yakima SunDome. If they win their regional game against a team still to be determined, they earn a bye into the 2A state quarterfinals in the SunDome. Lose, and they play a first-round game in the SunDome.
White River lost to Washougal in the regional round of the state tournament after winning the district title last year, ending its season a game-short of Yakima.
“Not to go coach-speak, but it comes down to defense and rebounds,” said Gibson, who is hoping to lead White River to its first state title in 23 state tournament appearances. “When you do that and you got some offensive weapons, you can do it.”
4A WEST CENTRAL/SOUTHWEST
Bellarmine Prep 41, Camas 36: Shalyse Smith continued her postseason dominance, scoring 23 points as the Lions clinched their first district title since 2000 with the win over the Papermakers.
Bellarmine Prep (22-1) locked down defensively in the final quarter, limiting Camas to one point as it pulled away. Madeline Garcia added eight points.
The Lions are ranked No. 7 in the WIAA’s 4A RPI rankings and had already guaranteed its place in the Tacoma Dome with a quarterfinal win over Todd Beamer. It will play a regional-round game next week, with a win giving it a bye into the state quarterfinals.
Camas is ranked ninth, but could still secure a spot in the Dome if any of the WIAA’s top eight RPI ranked teams do not qualify for state through their district tournaments.
3A WEST CENTRAL/SOUTHWEST
Gig Harbor 44, Prairie 26: Brynna Maxwell had 18 points and 11 steals as the eighth-ranked Tides dominated defensively in their win over the third-ranked Falcons for the 3A West Central/Southwest bidistrict title.
Gig Harbor also go 13 points from post Maddie Willett on its way to the upset win. Prairie had come off a semifinal win against Lincoln on Thursday but was held to seven points in the second half of this one.
Both of these teams had their postseason fates already determined. Gig Harbor is No. 2 in the WIAA’s RPI, meaning a guaranteed spot in the Tacoma Dome for the 3A state tournament.
Prairie is ranked 17th, but qualified for state through the district tournament. It has to win in the regional round of state next week to secure a spot in the Tacoma Dome.