Jansi Merz scored a game-high 21 points and the powerful Wahkiakum Mules proved they are the class of the 2B ranks with a 55-29 thumping of Toledo in the 2B District 4 championship game Thursday at the NW Sports Hub.
The Indians had no answer for the Mules’ one-two punch of Merz in the paint and Paige Mace running the point, as Wahkiakum jumped out to a 24-9 lead at the half and never looked back.
Toledo trailed 37-19 entering the fourth and couldn’t generate enough offensive firepower and defensive stops to complete a comeback.
“They just looked like a well-oiled machine,” Toledo coach Brian Layton said. “They can all shoot and basketball is what they live and breathe in Wahkiakum. We knew it’d be a tall task. We knew we’d have to keep them in the 40s.
“I’m proud of our girls. They fought hard. We kind of kept within striking distance but they’re obviously one of the top teams in the state.”
Wahkiakum entered on an eight-game win streak and averaged between 70 and 80 points per game during that stretch. It was definitely a victory for Toledo’s defense to hold them to 55, their lowest total the last seven games.
That was due to the Indians filling the gaps, getting a hand up on the Mules’ shooters and limiting second-chance opportunities.
“I thought, at times, we did a really good job of them only getting one shot,” Layton said. “If we did that, we could control the tempo. But they’re just tough.”
Senior Stacie Spahr led the Indians with eight points and 13 rebounds. Fellow seniors Emma Cline-Maier and Gracie Madill each hit two 3-pointers to finish with six points. Marina Smith added four rebounds and three assists and Abbie Marcil chipped in six boards and two assists.
Four seniors played their final games in Indian jerseys: Cline-Maier, Madill, Spahr and Grace Tauscher.
“They really came in and helped change the culture,” Layton said. “We’re definitely going to miss them. Not just because they’re really good basketball players but more because they’re great people. They left their legacy and hopefully they look back 10 to 20 years from now and they remember what a wonderful season this turned out to be for them.
Adna junior Faith Wellander sank two free throws with 1:23 to go in overtime and Adna held on for a 44-41 victory over Ilwaco to claim third place at the 2B District 4 tournament Thursday at the NW Sports Hub.
“We wanted to be in the district title, absolutely, but it just wasn’t our night yesterday,” Adna coach Chris Bannish said. “Today, we found a way to get it done. Anything that could and would go wrong did."
The Pirates trailed by four at the half, by six entering the fourth and finally retook the lead off Karlee Von Moos’ close-range bucket to give them a 36-35 lead with 3:22 to play. Ilwaco tied it up near the end of regulation to send it to overtime then the Pirates played excellent defense to hold the Fishermen to three points in the final period.
The Pirates’ defense was led by lone senior Ellie Sliva, who made her mark with lockdown defense in her final game as a Pirate.
“Defensively, that’s as good as I’ve seen her in her career here,” Bannish said. “She’s given me everything and it comes down to senior leadership. This was a weird year and she was great for us.”
Wellander led the offense with 13 points on 5-for-11 shooting, while Von Moos added nine points and a game-high 19 rebounds. Summer White added nine points and six boards, while Kaylin Todd chipped in four points, seven assists, eight steals and five boards.
Ilwaco star Erika Glenn was injured with six minutes left in regulation, hit one of two free throws and had to be carried off the court.
“She has the guts to not only get up and shoot two free throws, that’s tough stuff,” Bannish said. “You don’t see that. I don’t know, being a guy, that any guys would have gotten up. It took the wind out of this building for a little bit there.”