Neah Bay’s future is as bright as any, but it was no match for Colton’s present.
The upstart Red Devils found few answers to contend with the reigning state champions’ balanced offense, and Colton pulled away for an 83-38 victory in the State 1B girls basketball semifinals Friday at the Arena.
The Wildcats will square off with rival Pomeroy on Saturday at 3 p.m. for a state championship in a rematch of last year’s title game, which Colton won 44-37. Pomeroy outlasted Almira/Coulee-Hartline 48-47 in the other semifinal.
Colton has won nine state titles in the past 10 seasons.
Emily Schultheis, a 6-foot-1 senior post, powered the Wildcats with 23 points and 10 rebounds. Schultheis’ size advantage in the paint was considerable, but she also showcased a deft shooting touch from the perimeter, with three 3-pointers. Schultheis made 7 of 9 attempts from the floor and all six shots from the free-throw line.
“She’s really tough to guard,” Wildcats coach Clark Vining said. “She can play inside or outside, depending on the matchup she has. We try to put her in advantageous spots on the 3-point line or inside. Tonight was a combination of both.”
Schultheis anchored a Colton offense that featured three other players scoring in double figures. Dakota Patchen tossed in 14 points, and Jordyn Moehrle and Rylee Vining scored 12 points each and combined for seven 3-pointers.
Neah Bay, which reached the semifinals with two juniors and no seniors, trailed 15-9 after the first quarter. Colton outscored the Red Devils 20-11 in the second quarter to build a 35-20 lead at halftime and was not threatened in the second half.
Ruth Moss paced Neah Bay (22-3) with 11 points, and Laila Greene added nine.
Colton (23-2) boasts six seniors on its roster, and that group combined for 65 points and 33 rebounds in the semis.
“I’m super proud of this group, especially the seniors,” said Schultheis, who said today’s championship game might be her last on the hardwood so she can focus on academics in college. “I’ve played with all of them since the second grade. That’s when we started youth league. I’ve only played with these girls.”
Patchen, a senior guard who will play at Walla Walla Community College, echoed Schultheis.
“We know how each other play pretty well, and all of us have experience,” Patchen said.
Colton and Pomeroy both are members of District 9, and Colton posted victories in all three of their matchups this season. The most recent showdown was the closest, a 46-36 win for the Wildcats in the District 9 tournament title game.
Neah Bay will play Almira/Coulee-Hartline for third place on Saturday at 11:15 a.m.
Pomeroy 48, Almira/Coulee-Hartline 47: Maddie Dixon posted a team-high 19 points and 10 rebounds, and the Pirates held off the Warriors in the other semifinal.
The teams traded leads several times before the Pirates carried a 44-40 advantage into the fourth quarter. Respective buckets by Sydney Smith and Sydney Watko extended the Pirates’ margin to 48-40 with just less than 7 minutes remaining.
Pomeroy didn’t score again, however, and that opened the door for an ACH rally in the game’s waning minutes.
Gabi Isaak, who led all scorers with 20 points and also grabbed six rebounds, converted a layup and two free throws, pulling ACH within 48-44 with 3 1/2 minutes to play. A basket by Makenna Oliver closed the deficit to 48-47 with 2:29 remaining.
The Warriors had opportunities down the stretch to score a go-ahead bucket, but Isaak missed a hook shot off the back of the rim, and ACH’s final possession ended with a turnover after the Warriors gained possession of the ball one last time with 6 seconds left.
Sunnyside Christian 29, Selkirk 25: Krista Den Hoed scored 10 points and the sixth-seeded Knights (22-6) eliminated the 15th-seeded Rangers (16-12).
Jenna Couch and Madison Chantry led Selkirk with six points apiece.
It was a rough shooting day for both teams as Sunnyside Christian shot 25 percent from the floor and Selkirk hit 15 percent. The Rangers took 33 3-point attempts and hit four.
The Knights outrebounded the Rangers 49-38. Abby Bravo led the Knights with 10 boards.
Mount Vernon Christian 43, Concordia Christian 33: Kylee Russell scored 11 points and the fourth-seeded Hurricanes (24-4) eliminated the eighth-seeded Hawks (22-8).
Claire Lyons led Concordia Christian with 19 points and nine rebounds. Emma Droog added seven points and grabbed 15 boards for Mt. Vernon Christian.
The Hurricanes jumped out quickly, leading the Hawks 16-9 after the first quarter and 33-17 at halftime. Mt. Vernon Christian attempted 34 3-pointers, knocking down nine.
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