The Auburn Riverside Ravens didn’t make it easy on themselves during Friday night’s 4A regional loser-out game against Kamiak, but by the time the final buzzer sounded, the Ravens overcame every amount of adversity they faced and walked away with a 51-41 win.
With the win, the Ravens advance to the Tacoma Dome, where they will play another loser-out game on Wednesday with a berth in the state quarterfinals on the line.
“It hasn’t always all the way set in for me yet, but this was our goal at the beginning of the season,” Auburn Riverside head coach Christian Miller said. “The girls just weren’t going to let anything get in our way of going to the Dome. Kamiak is a really good team, well-coached, but like I said, nothing was getting in our way tonight.”
Nothing got in their way, but a lot could have.
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The Ravens jumped out to an early 10-0 lead and looked like they would roll to victory, but the Knights closed the first quarter on a 9-3 run to get back into the game.
With 3 minutes, 27 seconds left in the second quarter and the Ravens up 10, senior McKenzi Williams, who leads the team in scoring at 18.8 points per game, picked up her second foul of the game when she was called for an offensive foul on a drive to the basket. Williams subsequently picked up a technical foul for unsportsmanlike conduct, which also counts as a personal foul, giving her three for the game. Williams spent the rest of the half on the bench and the Knights went on an 8-2 run to close the half.
“It was a momentum swing for sure, but nothing like that is going to keep us down,” Miller said. “She’s got to come out for a while, but we’ve got other girls who will step up. You’ve got to have your eye on the prize. You can’t make any excuses about a call or a missed shot, you’ve just got to go out and grind, and they did.”
The Ravens led 24-20 to start the second half, which proved to be the biggest lead for either team in the third quarter. With a 38-35 lead, Williams picked up another offensive foul with 33.7 seconds to play in the quarter and was forced to go back to the bench for the remainder of the quarter and the first three minutes of the fourth quarter. Kamiak sophomore Hunter Beirne made a 3-pointer from just inside half court as time expired in the third quarter to tie the game at 38.
With Williams on the bench and the momentum seemingly back with Kamiak after Beirne’s three, it looked like the Ravens might be in trouble, but the Knights failed to take advantage. Kamiak scored just three points in the final quarter and the Ravens finished the game on a 12-1 run to secure the win.
Despite the foul trouble, Williams finished the game with 16 points.
“This is everything that we’ve been working for the last four years,” Williams said. “There is no feeling, word or anything that can describe the amount of emotions that I’m feeling right now. It feels so good to finally meet a goal. I’m just so proud of my team and excited for what state has for us.”
The Knights, who don’t have a player taller than 5-foot-10 on their roster, never had an answer for Auburn Riverside’s 6-3 senior post Faith Turner. Turner scored 23 points to lead all scorers and grabbed 14 rebounds for the Ravens.
“Faith Turner played a whop of a game,” Miller said. “She was huge. Everything that went her way she gobbled up and made. She rebounded and she was the defensive anchor. She had a great game. We would not have won this game without Faith.”
Kamiak: Hunter Beirne 6, Alexie Morris 2, Sarah Payne 11, Kate Huguenin 14, Jamie Beirne 7, Aliea Marrero 1.
Auburn Riverside: Autumn Lee 3, Olivia Denton 7, Katelyn Brown 2, McKenzi Williams 16, Faith Turner 23.