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G-Prep girls advance to 4A regionals

For playing barely half of a basketball game, Laura Stockton had good numbers – seven points, five assists, four rebounds and a steal.

It’s what Gonzaga Prep did in the other half of Friday night’s game against Chiawana that really mattered in running its winning streak to 20.

Despite Stockton’s prolonged foul trouble, the Bullpups pulled away from visiting Chiawana for a 53-41 win the 4A girls subregional championship and advanced to regionals next weekend.

The Riverhawks head home to face Central Valley tonight for a regional berth.

Central Valley lost 71-60 at the Pasco school during Christmas break.

G-Prep (21-1) struggled mightily in the first half without Stockton, but between her second and third fouls in the second quarter she assisted on Hannah Caudill’s three 3-pointers that produced a 15-1 run and a 23-14 lead. It was 23-19 at the break.

Chiawana (18-4) quickly scored the first four points of the second half and Stockton picked up an offensive foul. But instead of stalling out on offense, this time the Bullpups got an unexpected spark to lead 34-31 after three quarters.

Kayla Leland, a slight 5-foot-5 senior, came off the bench to hit a floater in the lane and a fastbreak layup. She added a basket in the early minutes of the fourth quarter, which is when Otiona Gildon took over.

The 6-foot junior, who may have been intimidated early when she missed four gimmes, made all four of her shots in the fourth quarter to finish with 17 points on 8-of-14 shooting and 11 rebounds.

Chiawana’s 6-foot wing Delaney Hodgins had 17 points, but the Riverhawks’ other three 6-footers were a combined 4-of-10 shooting with 12 rebounds. Braydey Hodgins had 12 points.

“Coach gave me encouragement and my teammates were there for me,” Gildon said. “I had to make sure I stayed strong.”

One of those Chiawana 6-footers was Kendra Winchester, a Shadle Park transfer, who hit her three shots in the first half but didn’t score again and missed significant minutes in the fourth quarter with a bloody nose.

Two Gildon layups pushed the lead to nine to start the fourth quarter. Then Leland scored, followed by Gildon, so when Stockton returned it was 42-32 with 5:19 to go.

“I’m always ready,” Leland said. “I really love the opportunity to get in there and make shots. I’ll never turn down a chance to shoot.”

Caudill finished with 13 points and Oona Harrington 10 for the Bullpups.

“That was just one of those grind-it-out, gut-it-out games against a good team,” G-Prep coach Mike Arte said. “I’m really proud of my girls.

“We haven’t had to play this kind of game without Laura.”

The Bullpups had some red-shot stretches. In that second-quarter surge they hit six straight shots, a big boost because they shot just 39 percent in the first half. In the fourth quarter they were 7 of 10 to shoot 54 percent in the second half.

“We really executed down the stretch,” Arte said.