What the Liberty Lancers lacked in tournament experience, they more than made up for in height.
The Lancers’ trio of 6-footers combined for 42 points, and sixth-seeded Liberty beat the fifth-seeded Davenport Gorillas, last year’s State 2B runner-up, 55-45 on Thursday afternoon at the Spokane Arena to advance to the semifinals.
In Liberty’s first appearance at state in a decade, it has won consecutive games and will face top-seeded Wahkiakum at 7:15 p.m. Friday.
“The girls program hasn’t gone this far in a long time, so it’s very humbling and awesome for us,” Lancers junior Maisie Burnham said. “We’ve been waiting for this since we were little. It’s our time to shine, and we’re ready.”
Burnham led all scorers with 17 points, including a 9-for-12 day at the free-throw line. Liberty hit 17 of 22 free-throw attempts, Davenport just 9 of 20.
Sophomore Delaney Goodwin and junior Aleena Cook – both listed at 6 feet tall – added 13 and 12 points, respectively, for Liberty. Cook had 11 rebounds, Burnham 14.
“We always try to exploit mismatches when we have them, so having 6-footers that can play the game at a high level is definitely a benefit, regardless of who we play,” Liberty coach Chris Colvin said.
Davenport (21-5), experienced after a 2017 state championship and last year’s second-place finish, was outrebounded 39-29 and never led.
The Gorillas also had four players foul out, including sophomore Janaye Wilkie, who picked up her fifth foul with 2 1/2 minutes left, Burnham driving toward the basket. Wilkie led Davenport with 16 points.
The Gorillas trailed 47-40 at the time. Junior Lainy Jacobsen’s basket got them within five points on the next possession, but they never got closer.
Davenport coach Stacia Soliday said she didn’t think her team’s youth was a factor, except perhaps at the end.
“There was some end-of-the-game management that we’re not experts at because we are young,” Soliday said.
Neither team shot above 30 percent in the first half – Liberty led 22-17 at the break – but both picked up the pace in the second.
Liberty (22-4) pushed its lead to double digits early in the third quarter. Burnham picked up her fourth foul with 1 1/2 minutes left in the quarter, the Lancers ahead 37-28. She sat the rest of the quarter but played all of the fourth with those four fouls.
“I trust Maisie to go out there and play the game the way that she knows she should be playing and not make silly mistakes,” Colvin said.
Liberty pushed its lead to as many as 12 in the fourth quarter.
Sophomores Ellie Telford and Darby Soliday scored 11 apiece for the Gorillas, who will play a loser-out game against South Bend at 12:15 p.m. Friday .
Wahkiakum 44, South Bend 21
Macie Elliot scored 13 points and the top-seeded Mules (24-1) beat the 15th-seeded Indians (17-10).
Hannah Byington led South Bend with 10 points.
Both teams struggled early, with five total points scored in the first quarter and a 16-4 lead for Wahkiakum at half. The Mules outrebounded the Indians 44-26.
La Conner 56, St. George’s 40
Justine Benson scored 21 points with 10 rebounds and the third-seeded Braves (21-3) beat the 12th-seeded Dragons (17-10).
Grace Harril led St. George’s with 13 points, and Lydia Berquist had nine points and 11 rebounds.
La Conner outrebounded the Dragons 41-24 and shot 46 percent from the floor compared to only 28 percent for the Dragons.
Tri-Cities Prep 75, Brewster 43
Talia Von Oelhoffen scored 28 points and the second-seeded Jaguars (26-1) beat the ninth-seeded Bears (19-5).
Sammi Emigh led Brewster with 25 points with a team-high six rebounds.
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