LA CENTER — It was far from pretty, but when the dust settled in a defensive-minded contest Tuesday night at La Center, the Tenino girls basketball team came out victorious against the hometown Wildcats, 27-21, to qualify for its first regional and state bid since 2012.
The win also ensures a 1A Evergreen league rematch in the 1A District IV championship between the Beavers and Montesano on Saturday at Rochester.
“They’ve worked hard, they deserve it, they’ve put in the time,” Beavers coach Scott Ashmore said. “I’ll take a win no matter what, I don’t care what the score is. A W is a W for us.”
The Beavers defense got working early, holding the Wildcats to just one point and no made shots in the first quarter, and allowing single digit scoring in every quarter throughout the game. 1A Trico MVP Kylee Stephens was held to just five points, thanks to combined defensive efforts of Megan Letts, Grace Vestal, and Abby Severse.
In the first half, the Beavers were bolstered by the play of Alivia Hunter, who feasted off of double teams on star Ashley Schow en route to a game-high 11 points on the night. Schow had six points, and Severse had five to lead Tenino.
But it was the defense, a common calling card for the Beavers, that carried them to a victory, and an elusive state bid, their first in a decade.
“They were really aggressive and getting after us,” Ashmore said. “I told them our defense would have to win us a game and it was the game. Our defense was solid the entire night. We have to win a game like that and we did.”
The Beavers will take on the Bulldogs in the district title on Saturday at 6 p.m. at Rochester High School.