In the closing seconds of the biggest game of her life, Maisie Burnham stood in a familiar spot: the free-throw line.
The Liberty Lancers were ahead by seven points, and the junior guard was in position to ice the game.
“I’ve been dreaming of those free throws since I was young,” Burnham said. “I’ve been making them, we’ve been practicing them. … It worked.”
Burnham hit four free throws to end top-seeded Wahkiakum’s late-game push, and the sixth-seeded Liberty girls advanced to the State 2B championship game for the first time in program history with a 60-54 victory Friday night at the Spokane Arena.
Junior Kendyl Fletcher hit 5 of 7 3-point attempts, scored 20 points and had four steals to lead the Lancers to a place their boys basketball program has been two of the last five seasons.
But never the girls – until this year’s tournament, where they have won three games in a row in their first state appearance since 2009.
They will face second-seeded Tri-Cities Prep (27-1) in the championship game at 7 p.m. Saturday . Liberty is the only team to beat Tri-Cities Prep this season, a 72-59 win on Dec. 7.
“We’ve been watching State B since we were young. My brothers both played in one,” Burnham said. “We’re just excited, and we’re hoping to get first.”
The Lancers (23-4) scored more points than any Wahkiakum opponent this season.
The 24-2 Mules’ only other loss this year came 56-54 to 1B Colton, which will play Saturday for its 10th championship in 11 seasons.
Liberty built a 29-22 halftime lead and was ahead by as many as 12 in the third quarter. The Lancers hit 9 of 19 3-point attempts and shot 41.2 percent from the field.
“The ball moved really well side to side, inside and out, on the offensive end, and we were fortunate to get a lot of 3s off of that action,” Liberty coach Chris Colvin said.
The Lancers held the Mules to 38.9 percent shooting – though in the second half the Mules did eventually get going.
Wahkiakum used a 10-2 run to narrow the deficit to 51-49 with 2 1/2 minutes to go.
“They’re a really good team, and they shoot well,” Colvin said, “so it’s hard to defend them at all times. They’re gonna make shots.”
But the Lancers answered with a 7-0 run, culminating in two of Burnham’s free throws. Burnham finished with 18 points, going 5 of 6 from the line, and a game-high 11 rebounds.
Tri-Cities Prep 54, La Conner 39: Sophomore Talia von Oelhoffen scored 24 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and had seven assists to lead the second-seeded Jaguars past the third-seeded Braves and into the championship game.
The Jaguars shot 53.2 percent from the field (25 of 47) and held the Braves to 28.3 percent shooting, including 2 of 18 on 3-point attempts. Junior Justine Benson led La Conner with 19 points.
Ahead 26-21 at half, the Jaguars stretched their lead to double digits in the third quarter.
La Conner (21-4) will play Wahkiakum for third place at 1 p.m. Saturday .
Davenport 48, South Bend 32: Janaye Wilkie scored 15 points with 10 rebounds and the fifth-seeded Gorillas (23-6) eliminated the 15th-seeded Indians (17-11).
Karley Reidinger led South Bend with 12 points and six rebounds. Sydney Zeiler added 10 points with five rebounds and a game-high three assists for Davenport.
Davenport dished out 12 assists and forced South Bend into 20 turnovers. The Gorillas jumped out to an 18-1 lead in the first quarter and were up 29-4 at half.
St. George’s 55, Brewster 45: Abby Jones scored 27 points on 10-of-17 shooting and the 12th-seeded Dragons (19-11) eliminated the ninth-seeded Bears (21-7).
Cambrie Rickard added eight points with 14 rebounds for St. George’s. Sammi Emigh led Brewster with 20 points and 16 rebounds.
Lydia Berquist had a game-high 16 rebounds for the Dragons. St. George’s shot 32 percent from the floor and Brewster shot 24 percent.
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