WINLOCK — With a sour taste in their mouths after a narrow, two-point defeat to Onalaska last week, the Winlock Cardinals girls basketball team didn’t have time to linger on it. For a team still trying to figure out how to put the pieces together and win basketball games, Monday night was a big step for the Cards.
Back-and-forth all night, and facing seemingly-impossible odds at times, the Cardinals pulled out a 58-56, triple-overtime victory against Adna at home in a non-league contest.
“It feels great,” Cardinals coach Dracy McCoy said. “It’s taught the girls that they can fight, they can win and we can only get better. That is a big positive. You come back from a loss against Onalaska and you aren’t sure how the kids are going to react, but they rose to the occasion.”
After Addison Hall couldn’t get a half court heave to fall at the end of regulation that would have won it, and Madison Vigre missed a turnaround shot at the end of the first overtime, Winlock had its back against the wall in the second OT, down by three.
On one of many game-defining possessions, Hall was fouled by a Pirate defender on a 3-point shot attempt with nearly no time left, and the senior stepped up to the charity stripe and drilled all three freebies to send the contest into a third overtime period.
The next game-defining sequence would be the clincher in that final period. After a tough night shooting from pretty much everywhere, Winlock’s Charlie Carper made a shot to put the Cards ahead by two, and moments later got a steal and fastbreak layup to give her team a four-point cushion.
Several strong defensive possessions later and the Cardinals picked up a huge win at home over a quality opponent, in an exhausting 44 minutes of gameplay.
“Adna’s a great team and they’re very well coached,” McCoy said. “The goal was to limit their offense. They have a lot of outside and inside threats. We ran a trapping defense to try and slow that down, and hopefully wear them down to get those late steals that Charlie Carper had.”
Carper finished with an absurd statline — almost a quadruple-double — finishing with 10 points, 10 rebounds, six steals, and seven assists.
Though she had far from her best game on the floor and shooting, the Pe Ell addition has come up huge for the Cardinals when they need her most.
“They’re all growing together. The key for us is to get comfortable with winning and learn how to win,” McCoy said. “That’ll be the key, and Charlie is a big part of that. She’s fast, she’s quick, she’s smart. She waits her turn, she just plays her role and does a great job of it.”
Also starring for Winlock was Hall, who finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds, and Vigre, who scored 12 points to go along with 13 rebounds. Kindyl Kelly also knocked down huge three-pointers and came away with four game-changing steals in a 15-point performance.
In years' past, without a true point guard on the floor, Adna coach Chris Bannish said he would have pressed Winlock’s guards to force mistakes, but with the addition of Carper, who is perhaps the fastest guard in the league, he had to be careful with the Pirates' pressure.
“(She’s) another athlete on the floor. They’re more pressable without her," Bannish said. “With her speed, she’s hard to press because end line to end line, she’s as fast as anyone around.”
For the Pirates, Monday night’s loss is another wakeup call in what has been a slow start to the season. Though the defeat isn’t a league loss, it won’t sit well with a team that has state aspirations.
“I think we’ll get there, but this one will sting, and it should sting,” Bannish said. “We’ll get them again at our place, and hopefully it's a little different.”
Adna was led by Kaylin Todd’s 18 points and nine steals, and Karlee Von Moos’ 12 points and game-high 24 rebounds. The Pirates, ultimately, were doomed by 34 turnovers and a 29% shooting percentage, despite a team rebound advantage of 12.
Still getting in game shape, the Pirates have been unable to work on game situations in practice, and Bannish says that his team learned a lot on the fly Monday night.
“It’s a learning experience,” he said. “We haven’t been playing our best. We’ve been working on energy and motivation in practice, and wasting time there when we should be working on situational basketball.
“If they turn the corner, and work hard and get in shape like I think they can — and we will get there — then we’ll get those things done.”
Bannish praised the efforts of Todd, who played her best game of the season, and Faith Wellander, who scored 13 points and played solid defense on Winlock’s top threat, Hall.
The Cardinals will take on Toutle Lake next on Wednesday, while the Pirates look to rebound against Wahkiakum on the road.