While scoring almost at will in the opening 16 minutes against Richland, the second half may have been more telling of the success the Mead Panthers hope to have in the postseason this year.
Without the benefit of a hot-shooting hand or a big scoring run in the second half, the Panthers used their defensive intensity to force 11 turnovers after the break and knocked off Richland 55-45 Tuesday in the first round of the 4A regional tournament at Mead High School.
The shots may not have been falling all game, but Mead (19-5) senior Jazmine Redmon still found a way to be a force against the Bombers. Redmon shot 7 of 18 from the field for 17 points, but did more damage on the defensive end, snagging five steals.
The Panthers, as a group, tallied nine takeaways, which led to 11 points off turnovers, most of those coming in transition.
“If we can get those quick scores and those steals we can run out against them, and that’s our game,” Redmon said. “That’s what really got us going in the first half.”
Turnovers by Richland sparked a 14-1 run for the Panthers that started with 3:12 remaining the first quarter and ended with a bucket by Richland’s Bria Caldwell at the 4:11 mark in the second.
Taylor Ingebritsen scored five of her 12 points during that stretch, hitting Mead’s lone 3-pointer of the night to push the lead to eight at the end of the first quarter.
Holding the Bombers to 20 first-half points on 29.2 percent shooting, Ingebritsen said coach Regan Drew warned them of the possibility of the Bombers catching fire in the second.
“She said they would probably come out shooting (in the second half),” Ingebritsen said. “We just needed to keep a hand in their face and know who the shooters were.”
With that in mind, the Panthers held Richland to eight points in the third quarter. Mead managed just nine in the frame as the game took on a more physical nature, Drew said.
“It wasn’t pretty,” she said. “Richland is pretty scrappy and they disrupted our rhythm a little bit. … That happens in playoffs.”
The Panthers’ next game will be a 4 p.m. Friday matchup with Walla Walla in Kennewick, as the regional tournament relocates to the Toyota Center the rest of the way.
Walla Walla 58, Central Valley 54: Jamie Weisner scored 12 of her 34 points in the fourth quarter, hitting 8 of 10 from the free-throw line, and the Blue Devils edged the Bears (17-6) in Walla Walla. CV will play Richland at 5:30 Friday in the first loser-out game of the tournament.
Lewis and Clark 57, Moses Lake 49: Nakia Arquette had 15 points and the host Tigers (15-8) survived a late run by the Chiefs to advance to the regional semifinals. The Chiefs trimmed a 17-point deficit into four in the fourth, but could not overtake the Tigers, who will play Chiawana at 5:30 Friday. Moses Lake will meet Southridge.
Hanford 52, Mt. Spokane 40: Laura Hughes scored 25 points and the Falcons held the Wildcats (5-18) to 11 points in the second and third quarters to earn the win in Hanford. The Falcons will play Shadle Park at 7 p.m. Saturday in Kennewick. The Wildcats were eliminated from the playoffs.
East Valley 46, North Central 45: Jenni White scored a team-high 11 points and hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 20 seconds left as the fourth-seeded Knights (7-16) held the host Indians (12-11) to 1-of-13 shooting in the fourth quarter for the win. EV will play West Valley (Yakima) at 7 p.m. Saturday. Second-seeded NC was eliminated.