TUMWATER — Down by as many as 18 points in the second half to No. 5 Archbishop Murphy, the No. 4 W.F. West girls basketball team fought its way back into the game, and pulled it to one with seconds remaining, but couldn’t come all the way back in a 37-36 defeat in the regional round of the state tournament Friday at Tumwater High School.
A couple of big buckets by Lexi Roberts and Olivia Remund made it a one score game with two minutes left, but the Bearcats couldn’t make a shot in the final moments, and missed a couple of free throws late that would have helped them take the lead and the win.
But despite a loss at regionals, the Bearcats aren’t done yet, and a huge 21-8 scoring run in the second half had coach Kyle Karnofski optimistic for W.F. West heading to Yakima on Wednesday.
“That’s the team that I hope we can be,” he said. “That’s the team that I was proud of and got us back into it. I was happy about that, for sure. That’s obviously a big piece for us, that second part of the third quarter and fourth quarter was great.
“The last little bit is the team we need to be and want to be. The first half wasn’t our best basketball, but I was proud of the comeback. That’s what we have to be for 32 minutes.”
The Bearcats will play No. 12 Lynden in a loser-out, winner-to-quarterfinals game at 12:15 p.m. Wednesday at the Yakima Valley SunDome.
The first half, which saw the Bearcats trailing the Wildcats, 29-15, was hardly anything like the second. Murphy came out firing, while W.F. West struggled to get buckets, relying on Morgan Rogerson, Amanda Bennett, and Julia Dalan to do some heavy lifting to put points on the board.
Bennett was all over the floor, picking up offensive rebounds over taller opponents and flying for loose balls to energize the Bearcats in the second half.
“She had a good night scrapping at times, that’s her role and she understands that,” Karnofski said. “She’s not afraid to do that, which is awesome.”
The last few minutes of the third quarter, the Bearcats finally got into a rhythm, when Drea Brumfield and crew started connecting on 3-pointers and getting out in transition for easy layups. Brumfield finished with a team-high nine points.
Down by 18 points midway through the third quarter, the Bearcats outscored the Wildcats, 20-3 over the final stretch, but came up just a point short.
W.F. West will look to flush this loss with its backs against the wall against a surging Lynden squad Wednesday.
“You get a chance to go out and redeem yourself,” Karnofski said. “It sucks to lose but you’re not done.”