Colton’s run of success over the past decade has been so impressive, so dominant, it is almost difficult not to discredit the Wildcats to some degree.
Is it something in the water? Do Colton players just roll out of bed and win state championships? The answer is, well, don’t be absurd. If only it was that easy.
Trailing by double digits against a rival Pomeroy team that dominated the first half, Colton recovered behind the play of three seniors and stormed back to win 51-43 in the girls State 1B Tournament title game at Spokane Arena.
Jordyn Moehrle scored 20 points for Colton and single-handedly kept her team within striking distance with 10 first-half points. Moehrle acknowledged that Colton’s ability to come back was rooted in the team’s culture that has produced 10 state championships in the past 11 years.
“There is no secret to Colton basketball,” Moehrle said. “It’s just having a winning mentality and that we’re not taking anything for granted. You’ve got to go after it every day.”
The game marked the second consecutive year that Colton upended the Pirates for a state championship. The Wildcats defeated Pomeroy 44-37 in last year’s title game. Rivals in District 9 1B, Colton won the teams’ first three matchups this year in advance of the championship game.
Buoyed by Emma Severs’ outside shooting, Pomeroy looked primed to end its losing skid against the Wildcats with a stellar performance in the first half.
Severs hit the first 3-pointer she attempted and kept firing, scoring 11 points in the first quarter as the Pirates left Colton trailing 18-4 after 8 minutes. Severs added six points in the second quarter and Pomeroy carried a 31-16 lead into halftime.
“That’s what she does,” Pirates coach Tai Bye said. “She’s only a sophomore, but she’s a naturally talented kid. She came out very aggressively, which is what I ask of her a lot.”
Colton committed to taking away Severs with its defense in the second half, and Pomeroy couldn’t find a complementary spark to keep the Wildcats at bay. Colton seniors Moehrle, Emily Schultheis and Dakota Patchen took over in the third quarter to shred the Pirates’ advantage.
Patchen scored eight points and Schultheis five, respectively, during a 15-0 run that evened the score at 33 with 1:05 left in the third quarter. The score was knotted at 35 headed into the final quarter.
Sydney Smith’s layup gave the Pirates their final lead at 40-38 with 5:50 remaining. Colton took the lead for good (42-40) with a Moehrle 3-pointer.
Colton’s defense limited the Pirates to one field goal the rest of the way to close out the victory.
Schultheis finished with 16 points and eight rebounds despite playing most of the game in foul trouble. Patchen added 11 points and five rebounds.
“I couldn’t feel any better,” Patchen said. “Us three seniors and everyone else, we’ve practiced our butt off for this.”
Sunnyside Christian 45, Mount Vernon Christian 26: Sydney Banks and Krista Den Hoed scored 10 points apiece and the sixth-seeded Knights (22-6) defeated the fourth-seeded Hurricanes (23-5) in the fourth-place game.
Josie Droog led Mount Vernon Christian with eight points. Jenna Andringa added six points and nine rebounds for the Knights.
Sunnyside Christian locked down the Hurricanes, holding them to 16 percent shooting (8 for 50) from the floor. Mount Vernon Christian shot 2 of 24 in the first half.
The Knights also forced the Hurricanes into 17 turnovers.
Neah Bay 67, Almira/Coulee-Hartline 56: Patience Swan scored 16 points and the fifth-seeded Red Devils (23-3) beat the third-seeded Warriors (23-3) in the third-place game.
Gabi Isaak led Almira/Coulee-Hartline with 22 points with 19 rebounds, and Sarah Bradshaw added 13 points. Courtney Swan had 13 points and Cei’J Gagnon added 12 for Neah Bay.
The Warriors finished 1 for 14 from behind the arc. Neah Bay made 8 of 20 of its 3-point attempts.
The game was tied after the first quarter, but the Red Devils outscored the Warriors by six in the second quarter to open up a lead they never relinquished.