Vikings stifle Eagles to earn spot in Spokane


In some ways on Friday, it was just one of those nights for Mossyrock.

Against No. 15 Evergreen Lutheran in the Regional Round of the 1B State Tournament, the tenth-seeded Vikings shot just 35.7 percent from the floor and turned the ball over 20 times.

In the most important ways, though, it was nothing but Mossyrock’s night, as the Vikings came away with a 53-31 victory in Chehalis to advance to the Round of 12 in Spokane on Wednesday.

It’s Mossyrock’s fourth consecutive trip to Spokane (including a trip to the 2B tournament in 2020), and the Vikings will have the chance to avenge their state championship loss from last spring.

“These girls have definitely put in the work,” Mossyrock coach Autumn Moorcroft said. “Their goal was to get back to Spokane, and I’m super proud of them. They're just super excited to be able to go do that.”

Coming into the season, expectations for the Vikings were tempered, as they took the floor down four starters from last year’s group. Moorcroft never doubted this team’s resolve, however, not on Friday or at any point throughout the season.

“They’re the grittiest team I’ve coached,” said Moorcroft, who is in her seventh season at Mossyrock. “They just grind tooth and nail … They found a way to get the job done.”

On Friday, the Vikings relied on their defense, a unit that held Evergreen Lutheran to just 19 points through the first quarter.

That gave plenty of time for the offense to build a lead, even if it was stagnant for large stretches of the game. It was anything but in the first quarter, as the Vikings scored 16 points to go up by double-digits.

In the second, however, they added just seven points, and nearly midway through the third, they had scored just four more.

“Sometimes when we do a press, our defense is so fast-paced that it kind of speeds up our offense,” Moorcroft said. “We kind of do it to ourself.”

Things began to click again late in the third, when the Vikings scored six points in a row to push their lead to 18.

And in the back half of the fourth quarter, Mossyrock had its best offensive stretch of the night. The Vikings ended the game on a 10-2 run, capped by an Adyson Barrows three that put the finishing touches on the victory.

“Once we figure out how to calm down, play at our own pace and move the ball, that’s usually where we start to be a little bit more confident offensively,” Moorcroft said.

Delaney Marshall finished with a game-high 12 points, while Abbie Lovan just missed out on a double-double with 11 points and nine rebounds. Barrows added nine points and grabbed five steals, while Renzy Marshall also scored nine and nabbed four steals.

Up next for Mossyrock is a loser-out Round of 12 matchup against No. 7 Wilbur-Creston-Keller at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday at Spokane Arena. A win puts them through to the quarterfinals and into the double-elimination part of the tournament.

Their preparation will continue into next week, and Moorcroft is excited to see what they can do with several days rest heading into Spokane.

“Their work ethic is what got them there,” Moorcroft said. “They’ve put in their whole heart during their basketball season, and that work has really shown.”