Seventh-seeded Mead upset Mid-Columbia Conference champion Chiawana in the first-round of the District 8 4A tournament last week, then took top-seeded Central Valley to overtime in the championship game Friday night.
The rematch with the Riverhawks on Saturday in the second-place game didn’t go as well for the Panthers.
Nationally ranked prospect Talia Von Oelhoffen scored 31 points and Chiawana topped Mead 65-50 at the Toyota Center in Kennewick to punch its ticket to the state tournament.
“It’s disappointing that we didn’t get (to state), because I felt like we had a team to get there,” Mead coach Quantae Anderson said. “But I’m so proud of their effort. Last night we had the number one overall seed. We had them. And we just didn’t quite finish there. And then, tonight.”
Von Oelhoffen averaged 33.8 points in Chiawana’s five games during the tournament, including 29 against Mead in the first-round loss.
The Panthers (15-9) were led by Kyla Momberg with 16 points and Olivia Moore added 12.
Van Oelhoffen scored 15 points in the first quarter as the Riverhawks (22-3) built a 24-7 lead after one.
“We knew that they were gonna go to her, that’s what they do,” Anderson said. “She’s a really good player and she can create and some other girls help with shots. So that made it tough to just stick on her.”
The scoring evened out a bit in the second quarter. Joelnell Momberg whipped a pass to her sister Kyla in the corner for a 3-ball, then Hailey Burns scored inside to give the Panthers some momentum.
Mead outscored the Riverhawks 18-14 in the frame and trailed 38-25 at intermission. Kyla Momberg had nine points in the second and 13 for the half, but also picked up her fourth foul.
“You know, we came out flat I think – some of the effects of the overtime game last night,” Anderson said. “But our girls came out and played hard, you know, and the second quarter we got some life and controlled our legs.”
Kylie Thorne took over for Chiawana in the third. She converted a three-point play early and hit a 3-pointer late for 10 points in the frame. Alyssa Aguidis’ 3 at the horn made it 56-41 after three.
Van Oelhoffen picked up her fourth foul 15 seconds into the fourth quarter and came out and the teams combined for five points in the first 4 minutes of the frame. Mead just couldn’t find the run it needed.
Anderson emptied his bench with 1 1/2 minutes left to give his backups some time on the big stage.