YAKIMA – Maybe, just maybe, Faith Adams had given the East Valley Knights the spark they so desperately needed as they chased a State 2A title in the SunDome on Saturday night.
After 31 minutes and 56 seconds of struggle – at the free-throw line, from the field and on the glass – against a tall, talented Washougal team, the Knights were desperate and trailed 35-32. Adams slashed to the top of the key off an inbounds play and launched a 3-pointer that found the bottom of the net, sending the game into overtime.
It seemingly gave East Valley new life. Maybe the Knights, with an emotion injection, would succeed in their quest for a state basketball title.
Alas, Washougal’s Beyonce Bea was just too much for EV to contain in overtime, scoring 12 of her game-high 30 points as the Panthers powered past the Knights 49-40 for the title.
EV finished its season 22-7, but the Knights bring home their highest basketball finish after two third places and a fourth since 2013.
“It’s tough to play a fourth game in a row in this format. Washougal is a great team. They’re well-coached,” Knights coach Rob Collins said. “We got a little bit off track, but then Faith hit that shot to get us into overtime.”
Adams led the Knights with 10 points. Genesis Wilkinson added nine points and 11 rebounds.
The strain of five games in eight days – dating back to the Feb. 23 loss to Washougal in the regional round – began to show on EV after an outstanding start. The Knights dashed out to a 9-4 lead in the first 4 minutes, but once Bea established herself, the Panthers clawed their way back and took a 21-18 lead at halftime.
The first-half standoff was equal on the stat sheet as well. The only difference was Washougal hitting 9 of 10 free throws, while the Knights hit 4 of 8, and the taller Panthers outrebounded EV 20-11.
Trailing by six points with 2:40 left in the third quarter, the Knights’ defense provided a lift, forcing the Panthers into a shot-clock violation. The Knights cut the deficit to one over the next 3 minutes and took their first lead since the first half when Wilkinson powered in her offensive rebound with 3:42 left in the fourth. Bea’s free throw and Ashley Gibbons’ layup gave the Panthers a three-point lead with 27 seconds left, setting the stage for Adams.
“My girls played hard. They did not quit,” Collins said. “I’m proud of each and every one of them.”
Clarkston girls 62, White River 61: Ashlyn Wallace scored 18 points and the third-seeded Bantams (23-3) defeated the fourth-seeded Hornets (25-4) in a third-place game.
Mickala Jackson added 13 points and grabbed six rebounds for Clarkston.
Renton boys 61, Pullman 42: Jason Bowen had eight points and 12 rebounds as the No. 13-seeded Indians (22-9) topped the fifth-seeded Greyhounds (21-7) in a third-place game.
Ethan Kramer led Pullman with 12 points. The Greyhounds took fifth place.
Clarkston boys 50, North Kitsap 32: Tru Allen scored 14 points and the sixth-seeded Bantams (18-9) earned a fourth-place finish with their win over the third-seeded Vikings (23-6).
Cashmere girls 55, Medical Lake 33: Hailey Van Lith scored 24 points and grabbed nine rebounds as the fourth-seeded Bulldogs (22-3) downed the ninth-seeded Cardinals (20-7) in a third-place game.
Lexie Redell paced Medical Lake with 15 points. The Cardinals took fifth place.