This Black Hills High School girls basketball team has a quality that has already paid dividends in the Class 2A state basketball tournament.
The top-ranked Wolves, even when matched up against a scrappy, physical third-ranked Wapato team, maintained a cool composure Thursday night at the Yakima Valley SunDome.
“That’s an aggressive team,” Black Hills coach Tanya Greenfield said. “We had to play accordingly.”
Black Hills stalled a late Wapato rally to pick up a 55-38 win and advance to the semifinals.
“We kept our pace up, and we really stayed together and composed,” Wolves senior Taylor Patti said. “I don’t think we got too rattled or anything.
“I think we played really well together.”
Patti had a pair of clutch baskets late in the fourth quarter to end a Black Hills scoring drought that lasted more than three minutes.
Wapato had cut the Wolves’ lead — which was as large as 19 points in the third quarter — to 11 when Tarryn Hart hit a 3-pointer.
That prompted plenty of cheers from Wapato’s fans — the school is 13 miles south of the tournament site — with four minutes, 22 seconds to play.
However, Patti calmly responded with back-to-back makes to push the lead back to 15 points.
“Even though we went times without scoring — which happens here — we were defensively in a good spot,” Greenfield said. “Then we can grind away.”
Wapato missed its final six shots, turned the ball over twice and Black Hills ran out the clock.
“I think we played really well as a team and just focused on the things that we needed to,” Patti said. “We all worked really hard.
“We all have the same goal, so I think it was really good that we all knew what we wanted and worked together.”
That goal, of course, is to win what would be the program’s first state title on Saturday night.
“They were ready to go,” Greenfield said. “It was nice to be able to come over (Wednesday) and watch games. Then, by today, they were ready to play.”
The Wolves trailed by a basket early before finishing the first quarter on a 16-1 run and never lost the lead.
Maisy Williams led Black Hills with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Emma Duff added 15 points and Patti pitched in 13.
Despite a rough shooting night — Black Hills was 17 of 58 (29.3 percent) from the floor, and 3 of 19 (15.8 percent) from beyond the perimeter — Greenfield was happy to get any scoring jitters out of the way.
“It’s like you’re starting all over,” she said. “This is a new floor, and it’s a new gym, and you still have those nerves.”
Black Hills took sixth in last year’s tournament, and entered this tournament as the favorite.
“It’s an intense moment, and we’re intense as coaches and players,” Greenfield said. “You hype all of that up and you see some good things, you see some things to work on.
“I actually thought that we got better. I thought there were some individuals that got better today.”
Black Hills (23-1) will play Burlington-Edison (17-6) at 7:15 p.m. Friday in the 2A semifinals. The Tigers edged Washougal, 58-55, in the quarterfinals.
“We’ve got to go watch film and prepare for the next,” Greenfield said.
Wapato 11 7 12 8_38
Black Hills 22 14 8 11_55
W – Sutterlict 10, Aleck 6, Gonzalez 2, J. Garza 6, Hart 13, Hickey 1
BH – Williams 17, Patti 13, Duff 15, Nurmi 6, Moloney 2, Serhan 2