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Gonzaga Prep girls lose State 4A thriller to Chiawana

RICHLAND – The Gonzaga Prep girls basketball team overcame a number of things Saturday afternoon.

What the Bullpups couldn’t hurdle in the end, though, was a stagnant offense in critical moments and three starters on the bench who had fouled out.

Gonzaga Prep did all it could to pull off a miracle, but the No. 1-ranked Chiawana Riverhawks eliminated the Greater Spokane League champion 69-65 in double overtime in a State 4A tournament advancement game at Art Dawald Gym.

Chiawana (22-3) joins the Elite Eight for the final three days of state, beginning Thursday at the Tacoma Dome while Gonzaga Prep’s season concluded at 21-5.

When Chiawana took a 51-45 lead with about 3 minutes remaining, G-Prep looked all but defeated.

But the Bullpups fought back. First, Tia Presley, who played all 40 minutes, hit a 3-pointer to tie the score at 53 with 44 seconds to go. Then Hannah Murray got inside for a basket off a nice pass from Presley with 14 seconds remaining as the fourth quarter concluded in a 55-55 tie.

In the first overtime, Presley came up huge again when she made two foul shots with 2 seconds to go to force the second overtime.

Megan Steilen made two free throws to put G-Prep ahead 65-63 at the 2:42 mark of the second OT. But the Bullpups went scoreless thereafter.

Hayley Hodgins put Chiawana ahead for good at 68-65 when she completed a three-point play with 41 seconds to go.

Presley finished with a team-high 26 points and seven rebounds. Hodgins had a game-high 27 points.

G-Prep stayed close by making 30 of 36 foul shots. The Bullpups, though, were outrebounded 48-38.

“The girls showed a lot of courage, especially with the mix we had on the floor at the end,” G-Prep coach Mike Arte said. “They’re not the kids we have on the floor in practice and things, too. We had a makeshift lineup. Like I told them I couldn’t be more proud of them the way they fought to the very end. It was impressive.”

The Bullpups had difficulty overcoming some scoring droughts.

“We had a lot of moments where we were stagnant and didn’t have a lot of movement,” Arte said.

Presley praised her team – which made its first trip to state in 14 years.

“I thought we played really well,” Presley said. “We just couldn’t pull it out in the end. I’m really proud of all the girls who came in and stepped up. They had a huge role in this game. They led us to two overtimes.”