Okanogan coach Bryan Boesel has been saying it all year: His team is more than one player.
The Bulldogs proved it again Saturday night, more than holding their own despite missing center Jill Townsend with early foul trouble, and eventually beating Wahkiakum 59-52 in the girls State 2B title game at the Arena.
The Bulldogs finished a perfect 27-0 season with early 3-pointers, tough interior defense, and finally, by going to Townsend, who scored a game-high 19 points.
“Coming into this game we didn’t know how they were going to defend us,” Boesel said. “But once we found out, we knocked down some quick shots.”
Wahkiakum was down quickly, trailing 9-0 and 14-5, but never out until the end. The Mules (25-3), who knocked off unbeaten La Conner in overtime the night before, stayed with the Bulldogs until early in the fourth quarter, but were finally worn down by foul trouble inside.
“We made a lot of mistakes, missed some easy baskets and we let the pressure get to us,” Wahkiakum coach Rob Garrett said. “We weren’t there mentally in the first half.”
Wahkiakum was 7 for 23 from the floor in the first half, while Okanogan was 8 for 18, including 5 for 12 from beyond the arc. Alexis Jones did most of the damage, hitting two early 3s and finishing with 11 points.
But as they did the night before against La Conner, the Mules scrapped back with defense, forcing turnovers and bad shots and closing to 16-13 at the end of the first quarter.
It might have been even closer, but the Mules missed several layins off the fastbreak, even with Townsend on the bench for the rest of the second quarter with her second foul. By halftime, a 21-16 Bulldogs lead had inched up to seven at 31-24.
Said Boesel of his decision to bench Townsend, “We had the lead, and I just wanted her to settle down. They weren’t letting her get into her comfort zone.”
Still, the Mules found comfort in trailing by just five at halftime, but got a jolt when center Kaylee Bryant – who sat for most of the second quarter with three fouls – picked up her fourth just 3 seconds after intermission.
Wahkiakum sophomore guard Peyton Souvenir, who finished with a team-high 15 points, sparked a big rally in the third quarter, and Sam Boyce hit a 3-pointer to close within 38-34 late in the third.
The Mules got no closer as Townsend took over. Early in the fourth quarter, the 5-foot-11 sophomore scored on three straight trips down the floor to give the Bulldogs their biggest lead at 55-42.
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