RICHLAND – It wasn’t the plan to play Nakia Arquette nearly 30 minutes Friday in her first start since returning from a broken foot.
Increased minutes were out of necessity, though. With 6-foot-3 junior post Abang Taka handcuffed in foul trouble, Lewis and Clark coach Jim Redmon had no choice.
Arquette hauled down a key rebound with 16 seconds remaining and made a foul shot as the Tigers knocked off the No. 1-ranked Chiawana Riverhawks of Pasco 55-53 in a State 4A girls basketball tournament opener at Art Dawald Gym.
Lewis and Clark (17-6) advances to the elite eight next week in Tacoma. Chiawana (21-3) gets a second chance as a No. 1 regional seed today when it faces Gonzaga Prep (21-4) at 1 for spot in the final eight in Tacoma.
The Greater Spokane League champion Bullpups hardly broke a sweat in their opener, sprinting past Evergreen of Vancouver 72-43.
Lewis and Clark 55, Chiawana 53: Arquette was averaging 17 points per game when an injury suffered in slowpitch softball last fall was aggravated after six league games. It was initially feared she would be lost for the season.
She returned to practice Monday, and it was Redmon’s plan to start her and give her about 3 minutes per quarter. That plan had to be scrapped with 3 minutes left in the first quarter when Taka picked up a second foul. Arquette played 29 minutes, 52 seconds.
“It probably wasn’t the right thing to do, but she feels fine,” Redmon said.
And he’s grateful Arquette will get some time to rest before the Tigers go to Tacoma for a Thursday game.
Arquette finished with nine points, but most important she had a game-high nine rebounds.
“She was our glue at the beginning of the season and it was a shame when it happened,” Redmon said. “It wasn’t even a basketball injury. You could just see when she stepped on the floor the kids’ faces were glowing. We started playing better. She’s just that kind of person and that kind of player.”
LC led 54-49 when Devyn Galland fouled out with 46 seconds to go after she fouled Hayley Hodgins on a made basket. Then moments later, the Tigers turned it over against pressure and all of a sudden it appeared LC might fade.
But Arquette got the big rebound and made a foul shot as the Tigers held on.
Arquette had no problem playing as much as she did.
“He (Redmon) probably had a problem with it, but it was OK for me. Surprisingly I felt good,” she said. “Everything just seems to be falling into place.”
Galland finished with a team-high 18 points.
Gonzaga Prep 72, Evergreen 43: Tia Presley and Lindsay Stockton combined for 27 first-half points with Presley finishing with a game-high 24 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two steals. Stockton had 19 points, four rebounds and four assists.
By halftime, G-Prep led 33-21. And it got away from the Plainsmen quickly in the third quarter when the Bullpups used a 9-0 run to forge a 44-26 lead.
“During the playoffs we’ve been kind of businesslike,” G-Prep coach Mike Arte said. “We’re playing a different style than we played in the regular season. We’re spreading the floor a little bit and using more shot clock. It’s working for us.
“We’re executing down the stretch.”
The Bullpups will likely need to turn the elimination game today into a track meet, though. Bigger and more physical Chiawana certainly would desire a slower pace – especially since it has a thin bench.
Presley would like to see more of the same.
“We played really well and everyone contributed,” Presley said.