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G-Prep’s Otiona Gildon defends against Woodinville’s Ali Forde. (PATRICK HAGERTY)

Gonzaga Prep, Central Valley girls advance

TACOMA – A pair of Madisons picked their teams up when they needed a lift Thursday in the opening round of the State 4A girls basketball tournament at the Tacoma Dome.

Freshman Madison Hovren did it for the Central Valley Bears and junior Madison Wright did likewise for the Gonzaga Prep Bullpups.

Hovren scored 18 points as Central Valley pulled away from the Eastlake Wolves 62-48, while Wright had a team-high 17 as Gonzaga Prep handled the Woodinville Falcons 60-47.

Both teams advance to the semifinals as CV (24-2) faces Mt. Rainier (26-1), the team given the nod by the West Side media to capture the state title, at 3:45 this afternoon, followed by G-Prep (19-5) meeting Skyview (25-3), one of the hottest teams in the field, at 5:30.

Gonzaga Prep 60, Woodinville 47: Mike Arte thought he had the perfect game plan for his Bullpups.

It really was similar to how he approaches a Greater Spokane League game. The Bullpups pressured all over the court, trying to create a frenetic pace.

Although it took a quarter, Arte’s team took control with a 14-0 run to start the second. Wright scored nine of those 14.

Wright hit a 3-pointer that pulled the Bullpups within 16-15 at the 7:03 mark of the second. and freshman Laura Stockton followed with a shot from the short corner, off an assist from her older sister, Lindsay, that gave G-Prep the lead for good at 17-16.

In what was a typical flurry of play in the waning moments of the first half, Lindsay Stockton used a high screen from Megan Steilen for a wide-open jumper she made, and before the Falcons could blink, Wright stole the ball and made a layup to extend the Bullpups’ lead to 34-22.

“Once we settled in, we played like we’ve been playing the last couple of weeks,” Arte said. “Our effectiveness the last couple weeks has been that soft press. They (the Falcons) remind me of CV. They’re kind of hard to guard for 30 seconds. But our goal is to make them use some time (against pressure) and only have to guard them for 10 to 12 seconds. Plus when a team gets behind it starts to get rattled and we get some turnovers, too. I thought we managed the game real well once we got the lead.”

The Falcons’ Diedra Miller hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to get the margin under double digits at 34-25.

Whatever hopes the Falcons had at a comeback were squelched early in the third quarter by the Bullpups.

Woodinville pulled within 10 points twice in the fourth quarter, but the Bullpups regained control both times.

The smaller Bullpups outrebounded the Falcons 52-37. G-Prep’s point guard, Lindsay Stockton, had a team-high 11 rebounds to go with eight points, four assists and at least four floor burns from diving after loose balls or being thrown to the court in skirmishes for loose balls.

To go with her points, Wright had seven rebounds, two assists and two steals. Freshman Otiona Gildon chipped in 11 points and nine rebounds.

Lindsay Stockton was asked about the East Side teams being overlooked by the West Side media.

“The teams over here are good, too, but I think we get underestimated a lot being so far away from all of the Seattle teams, and they probably get a higher ranking than we would if we were over here,” she said. “We take it with a chip on our shoulder and try to come here and prove people wrong.”

Central Valley 62, Eastlake 48: Hovren was clearly the best player on the court. She played beyond her years.

Actually, CV coach Freddie Rehkow thought Hovren played like she has much of the season.

It took a while, though. In the early moments of the game, Rehkow said Hovren had a “deer-in-the-headlights” look.

Hovren needed just three points to break Brooke Gallaway’s freshman scoring record. Hovren has 305 points.

Gallaway, who had to deal with a lot of contact inside, finished with 18 points, including a 12-of-12 effort at the free-throw line. She also had five rebounds and three assists. Point guard Katie Estey had five assists, five rebounds and two steals.

Eastlake, which had average athleticism, exposed the Bears’ Achilles’ heel – a vulnerability to full-court pressure.

“They did but as I told the girls we were playing more not to lose,” Rehkow said. “We’ve got to come out with the attitude that we’re coming to win. This is the first time in this big building.”

Perhaps the biggest play came when Hovren got a steal at midcourt and turned it into a breakaway layup moments after Woodinville had pulled within 44-37 on a 3-pointer with 4:10 remaining.

“I was definitely nervous at first, but as the game got going I started to get into it and I got to playing my game,” Hovren said.