Almira/Coulee-Hartline encountered adversity at the State 1B girls basketball state tournament before its first game had tipped off Thursday.
The Warriors showed they’re well-equipped to tackle the many challenges that await them.
Senior-laden ACH shrugged off a flu bug working its way through the roster and overcame Mount Vernon Christian’s deliberate pace to pull away for a 49-22 win in the state quarterfinals at Spokane Arena.
The Warriors advanced to Friday’s semifinals, where they will play No. 2 seed Pomeroy at 5:30 p.m. for a berth in the championship game.
“This is really special,” said ACH senior Gabi Isaak, a four-year starter who played a critical role during a game-breaking 17-0 run in the second half that put the game out of reach. “I was a freshman on a senior-heavy team, so I saw them play their last game. That’s why it’s so cool to go through it with my girls. It’s special. Once in a lifetime.”
“We’re just coming to ball it up,” fellow senior Sarah Bradshaw added.. “Especially with Gabi and (senior) Mikayla (Rushton), we’re all so close. We’ve played all three sports together since sixth grade.”
Mount Vernon Christian advanced to the quarterfinals with a 29-19 win against Naselle on Thursday. The Hurricanes’ glacial pace moving the ball up and down the floor worked to great effect, keeping the score close early against ACH. Isaak’s early foul trouble also contributed as the No. 3-seeded Warriors (23-1) sputtered to a 16-13 halftime advantage.
“Our offense gets stagnant without (Isaak) in there,” ACH coach Mike Correia said. “We like to get it out and push it.”
The Warriors’ seniors took over in the third quarter. Isaak and Bradshaw scored eight and six points, respectively, during a 17-0 run spanning the third and fourth quarters that turned a 20-17 lead into a 37-17 cushion.
“The team goes how they go,” Correia said of his seniors.
Correia said he has yet to see his team peak this season.
“That may just be a little bit of who we are,” he said.
ACH will likely need to play four solid quarters to defeat Pomeroy and advance to Saturday’s state title game.
“We’ve just got to play our game,” Bradshaw said.
Isaak finished with 17 points and eight rebounds, and Bradshaw had 12 points and nine rebounds. Rushton had 10 rebounds, and junior point guard Makenna Oliver added 10 points and four rebounds despite struggling with flu symptoms, Correia said.
“Oliver is one who was sick all night and this morning,” Correia noted. “She’s the one who really pushes the ball for us.”
Kylee Russell hit three 3-pointers and led Mount Vernon Christian (22-4) with nine points. The Hurricanes play Concordia Christian on Friday in a 10:30 a.m. loser-out game.
Neah Bay 63, Sunnyside Christian 51
Cei’ J Gagnon scored 15 points with nine rebounds and the fifth-seeded Red Devils (22-2) beat the sixth-seeded Knights (20-6).
Madi Candanoza led Sunnyside Christian with 29 points. Courtney Swan added 12 points and nine assists for Neah Bay.
Colton 68, Selkirk 16
Dakota Patchen scored 21 points with nine rebounds and the top-seeded Wildcats (22-2) defeated the 15th-seeded Rangers (16-10).
Bree Dawson led Selkirk with six points. The Rangers shot 10 percent from the floor.
Pomeroy 65, Concordia Christian 25
Emma Severs scored 22 points and the second-seeded Pirates (21-3) beat the eighth-seeded Hawks (22-6).
Claire Lyons and Isabella Foxley led Concordia Christian with seven points apiece.
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