After playing three games in three days, sometimes a team can run out of gas.
That’s what happened to the Tacoma Baptist girls, who lost to Oakesdale, 63-24, in the 1B fourth-place game on Saturday at the Spokane Arena.
"We don’t have that background of state experience, and that showed a little bit," said coach Beth Wing, whose Crusaders (25-2) finished sixth in their first appearance in the 1B state tournament since 2010.
Neither team could take care of the ball early on, with Tacoma Baptist registering 21 turnovers in the first half and Oakesdale contributing 13 of its own.
The Nighthawks (22-6) capitalized on the frenetic pace and established a 29-6 halftime lead.
Tacoma Baptist missed a chance when Oakesdale’s leading scorer, Jacey Johnson (16.8 points per game), picked up two fouls in the first two minutes of the game and was forced to sit most of the first quarter.
The Crusaders couldn’t take advantage of Johnson’s absence, and got into foul trouble themselves. Tacoma Baptist leading scorer Brooklyn Pascua picked up two fouls of her own in the first quarter.
"That kind of hurt us a little bit. We aren’t used to Brooklyn being on the bench," Wing said. "It would have been nice to not get in foul trouble ourselves."
Johnson later returned and led Oakesdale with 14 points and nine rebounds. Logan Reed and Lindsey Lindgren each added 11 for the Nighthawks.
Pascua led the Crusaders with eight points.
Four senior starters – Emily Crone, Rachel Vanliew, Abby Leaman and Maddie Kitselman – played their last game for the Crusaders on Saturday. The winning tradition they’ve cultivated is something Wing hopes to be carried with Tacoma Baptist in coming years.
"They’ve started something, with desire and intensity, and their leadership is something to be complimented, for sure," Wing said.
Pascua, a junior, is set to lead the Crusaders next season, along with junior guard JoEllen Stokes and sophomore forward Emily Young.