In a back and forth 2A Regional game the East Valley girls basketball team defeated West Valley-Yakima 45-42 and secured a State tournament berth on Saturday at Central Valley High School.
The Knights (20-3) were able to maintain a slim lead throughout the majority of the game with the Rams (19-5) breathing down East Valley’s neck the entire game.
West Valley-Yakima’s main attack came from Ashley Gray and her physical post play, but the senior found her self in foul trouble late in the game and was forced to spend valuable fourth quarter time on the bench. She finished with a game-high 20 points and 12 rebounds.
After both teams traded blows throughout the game, Bridgette Webb gave the Rams a brief 42-41 advantage by making both of her free-throw attempts with 1:41 to go in the fourth quarter.
With just over a minute left East Valley’s Alex Rankin got the ball, raced down the court and dished it off to Hannah Burland in the paint who finished with a left-handed layup to give the Knights a 43-42 lead.
The scrappy play of East Valley led to 13 team steals with Burland, Taylor Morschek and Rankin each grabbing three. It was Rankin’s steal with just under 20 seconds left that helped eat away at the clock, and though Burland missed the layup attempt when Rankin found her in the key, WV-Yakima only had 13.7 second left to push the ball up the court and get a shot off.
With four seconds left in the game, Gray wound up at the free-throw line with the Rams still trailing 43-42, but she missed both attempts and finished the game 6 of 12 after making 6 of her first 7 attempts from the line.
Burland led the Knights with 12 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists. Rankin struggled from the floor, making only two of her 13 shots, but EV’s lone senior went 5 of 8 from the free-throw line and finished with 9 points and 5 rebounds.