W.F. West couldn’t have drawn up a better start against its league rival, Tumwater, Friday night at home. But after a poor second quarter that saw the Thunderbirds take a 16-2 advantage, the Bearcats couldn’t recover in a 54-37 loss in Chehalis.
It was a dream beginning for the Bearcats (5-2, 2-1 2A EvCo), who rocketed out to a 9-2 start early and held on to a 13-9 lead after one quarter thanks to a tenacious defense and opportunistic offense. W.F. West coach Kyle Karnofski said it was their best quarter of the season so far.
But it wouldn’t last, as the Thunderbirds (5-0, 3-0 2A EvCo) found a rhythm against the Bearcat zone, and the Bearcats struggled to shoot in the final three frames.
“We struggled at the beginning,” T-Birds coach Robin Johnson said. “(W.F. West) always forces us into a frantic game. Once we settled in, we did better.”
But even after a lopsided second quarter, and a 10-point disadvantage, the Bearcats fought hard with their league rival, pulling it to within eight at one point in the second half before a late run from Tumwater made the game look worse than what it actually was.
Natalie Sumrok led the T-Birds with 18 points, making shots from the middle of the zone and passing to open teammates underneath the basket for high-percentage chances. Kylie Waltermeyer (13 points) and Aubrey Amendala (10 points) also finished in double figures.
For the Bearcats, it came down to shooting. Star forward Drea Brumfield was held to just four points, though she made plays in the pick and roll for her teammates to shine throughout the game.
Kyla McCallum was W.F. West’s leading scorer with 11 points, but Karnofski said Olivia Remund and Carlie Deskins stood out for their defensive effort and offensive spark in an otherwise disappointing shooting night. The Bearcats shot just 31.3% from the field and were 2 of 14 from deep.
“We’ll make adjustments and move forward,” Karnofski said. “We had the right attitude in the second half, shots just weren’t falling. I love my team, I’ll take them over anyone on any given night.”
The Bearcats will get some rest for the holidays before heading to a tournament in Lynden to play Anacortes on Dec. 28 and Lynden on Dec. 29. The Thunderbirds have a tentatively scheduled game against Bethel on Tuesday, before heading to a tournament at Lynden Christian, also on Dec. 28.