Beavers Eliminated by Wildcats in Regional Playoffs

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Tenino fell to Toppenish, 60-55, in a win-or-go-home game for a state bid in the Regional round of the WIAA Class 1A girls basketball tournament at W.F. West high school Friday night. 

Tenino, which was playing in its first Regional playoff game in 10 years, was led by Grace Vestal’s 19 points and Ashley Schow’s 18. The Beavers were going for their first state tournament appearance since 2003.

The Beavers got out to a good start in the first quarter as they were bringing pressure on the defensive end, forcing Toppenish to take bad shots and turn the ball over. The Beavers got some good looks and had good ball movement to take a 16-13 lead heading into the second quarter. 

Things fell apart for the Beavers in the second quarter, as they couldn’t hit their shots and had a hard time on defense, allowing the Wildcats easy looks and allowing them to hit 3s. Tenino was outscored 21-12 in the second and were down 34-28 heading into halftime.

Tenino’s defense stepped up in the third quarter, allowing 15 points in the third, but their offense still wasn’t connecting and had a hard time finding open looks and connecting on shots. They went into the fourth quarter down 49-40.

The Beavers had a lot of energy heading into the fourth, as they went on a run and took a one point lead with six minutes left. Toppenish looked tired but slugged it out until the end, as it started hitting shots and forced Tenino to take bad shots to run down the clock. 

The Beavers outscored Toppenish 15-11 in the fourth but it wasn’t enough, as they fell short 60-55.

“We pressed them up and started hitting shots,” Tenino coach Scott Ashmore said when asked about the fourth quarter. “ We had opportunities and we missed a few crucial shots. They worked hard and played hard. Grace Vestal really stepped up.”

This loss ended Tenino’s season, where it finished second in league, second at districts and fell one game short of a state berth. Ashmore said what he’ll remember most about this team is their fight.

“They got in the gym every time I asked them to, and they set a legacy,” Ashmore said. “They’re a great group of kids on and off the court and they work so well together in every sport.”