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Freeman girls lose bid at third straight title

YAKIMA – Freeman’s dreams of a third consecutive State 1A girls basketball title ran smack into a determined Okanogan Bulldogs squad in the SunDome Saturday night, and the Scotties couldn’t come up with another late rally for a win.

Instead, Okanogan’s Kara Staggs – the tournament MVP – outdueled Freeman standout Alyssa Maine and the Bulldogs captured the championship 44-36.

Freeman’s season ends with a 27-2 record. Coach Ashlee Nimri’s four years at the helm have included 106 wins and five losses.

“We just didn’t play our game,” Nimri said. “They shot the ball well and we didn’t, and they converted when they needed too. We couldn’t and that was the difference.”

Maine battled gamely on a 6-for-18 shooting night, finishing with 15 points and repeatedly trying to will her team to a third straight title. But a 10-4 first-quarter deficit couldn’t be overcome.

Much like Friday’s semifinal win over Lynden Christian, Freeman’s offense couldn’t get anything going in the first half.

Shooting 33 percent while Okanogan hit 48 percent was a big factor, as were 10 turnovers. Still, the Scotties trailed only 23-17 at the break.

But unlike Friday’s semifinal when the Scotties edged past the Lyncs in the final period, Freeman couldn’t get the defensive stops when it needed them.

Freeman also played much of the second half without junior post Molly McIntyre, who picked up her fourth foul with 5:12 to go in the third period.

McIntyre, who came up big in the second half of Freeman’s semifinal win, came out and sat for the remainder of the period.

Another problem for Freeman was its inability to contain Staggs. The 5-foot-7 junior scored 21 points, two following McIntrye’s fifth personal at 5:21 of the fourth period.

She was backed up by twin posts Caitlyn Behymer, who had eight points and six rebounds, and Tyler Schreckengost, who had seven points and 11 rebounds.