2A Girls Basketball: Shooting Woes Doom Bearcats in District Title Game


BATTLE GROUND — The Bearcats got two shots off within 10 feet of the basket in the final 20 seconds, one rimmed out and another clanked off the iron, and W.F West couldn’t complete the comeback in a 38-35 defeat to Black Hills in the 2A District 4 championship game Friday.

W.F. West’s final two shots were reminiscent of its shooting all game, as makeable buckets rimmed in and out all night like two polar-opposite magnets repelling from each other. The Bearcats hit zero 3-pointers on the night.

“We executed well, we got the shots we wanted, we just weren’t able to convert,” W.F. West coach Kyle Karnofski said. “They got hands up on us and contested them. Hats off to them, but we still have to come up with a few.”

It was the third-consecutive district championship appearance for the W.F. West, which won the district title in 2018.

W.F West (17-6) will now move on to the regional round next against an opponent and at a location yet to be determined by WIAA’s RPI ranking system. The Bearcats are currently ranked No. 6 and the top eight will advance to the state tournament, regardless of the outcome in the regional round.

Karnofski predicts the Bearcats will play either the No. 1, No. 2 or No. 3 team, depending on how far they fall following Friday’s loss. Working in their favor is that No. 7 Burlington-Edison lost to No. 1 Lynden in District 1-2 title game. Also, No. 3 Washougal and No. 4 Tumwater play Saturday in a loser-out, winner-to-regionals match that will eliminate one of the two.

I’m going to guess we’ll be somewhere six to eight,” Karnofski said. “We should be in that top eight, unless for some reason some of those mathematics things go eight.”

Against Black Hills Friday, the Bearcats found themselves in an early rut, falling behind 15-6 after one quarter and trailing by as many as 11 early in the second quarter.

The Bearcats came alive with 7:16 left in the second, with Drea Brumfield sparking a 13-6 run to end the half, capped by Annika Waring’s acrobatic layup with 15 seconds left before the break.

But Black Hills’ Jordyn Bender drained a mid-range jumper at the buzzer to help keep the Wolves with a 21-19 advantage going into the locker room.

“I loved that second quarter,” Karnofski said. “

It was a scenario that played out all night. Just as W.F. West would get a mini-run going and look to seize the momentum, the Wolves would knock down a shot.

The Bearcats took their first lead of the night on Kyla McCallum’s free throw to make it 24-23 with 3:46 left in the third. The Wolves fired back, engineering a 6-0 run to go up by five at the start of the fourth. W.F. West went on a 7-3 run to pull within one with 1:14 left, but two missed layups on the far side put the ball back in Black Hills’ hands and the Bearcats were forced to foul the rest of the way.

“I love the effort,” Karnofski said. “I can’t fault the effort at all. It just came down to one possession. We’ve got to be able to adjust and make a shot. We just couldn’t get them to fall tonight.”

W.F. West held Black Hills, a team averaging 55 points per game, to its third-lowest point total of the season, including single-digit scoring in all quarters but the first.

“That just shows how tough our girls are and how gritty our girls are,” Karnofski said. “Things aren’t going your way and defensively you’re flying around and holding a team well below their season average. You can’t ask for a better defensive effort. Holding a team into the 30s, that gives you a good chance to win.”

Brumfield led the Bearcats offensively with a game-high 13 points. Maggie Vadala, Madi Mencke and Annika Waring each chipped in six, while Taya McCallum scored five and Kyla McCallum added three.

The Bearcats will await their regional seeding while district playoffs around the state wrap up on Saturday.