ROCHESTER — The Rochester girls basketball team came to a fork in the road Friday. On one side lay a simple path: beat Black Hills and clinch its spot in the 2A District IV tournament. On the other, a more complicated one: lose Friday and toss its hat into a three-way round robin with the Wolves and Shelton over the weekend for the league’s last bid.
The Warriors didn’t make the choosing look pretty the whole way through, but took the right way nonetheless, grinding their way to a 43-33 win to punch their ticket in expedient fashion.
“They didn’t want to play two more games,” Rochester coach Davina Serdahl said with a laugh.
Rochester did it in typical Rochester fashion, winning despite getting held to under 50 points for the fifth time this season. In place of high-flying offense, the Warriors got tough, out-rebounding the Wolves 44-29, including 18 offensive boards, forcing 16 turnovers, and holding Black Hills scoreless for multiple long stretches to help keep the lead well-managed.
And when the Warriors needed scoring, they turned to junior Mandy Andree-Cordell, who canned seven 3-pointers in a 27-point effort.
“They all have the green light, but you know how sometimes basketball is,” Serdahl said. “You can hit them and be hot one night.”
No other Rochester player scored more than six points, but all five Rochester starters came away with at least seven rebounds, led by Andree-Cordell’s nine.
Things started off chippy down low and progressed to downright feisty as the night went on, with technicals called in the first half and bodies getting thrown multiple times during tie-ups in the second. But those body-blows ended up favoring the hosts over the course of the night, with Rochester’s slightly-deeper bench helping the Warriors catch their breath and stay focused.
“It’s a physical game,” Serdahl said. “That’s just how it is. We go in with the mindset that we’re not playing dirty, we’re just playing physical. I have to say that my girls are the first to offer a hand up… but they don’t back down either.”
Black Hills’ Kiley McMahon, who had to exit the game early in the fourth quarter after hitting her head hard on the court, started to spark something in the final minutes, with a 7-0 Black Hills run partially on free throws she hit after getting clotheslined on back-to-back jumpers. But the Wolves ran out of time, as Rochester broke their press and got down the floor for one more bucket as time expired to push the final lead back to double-digits.
McMahon led the Wolves with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Amanda Aybar scored 10 points of her own for Black Hills, which finishes the season at 6-13 with a 3-9 2A EvCo record.
“We’ll be back,” BH coach Herb Guscott said. “Our season has been up and down… but we’ll be back, and we’ll battle them again next year. I’m proud of our team, they didn’t quit.”
Rochester, meanwhile, will get the weekend to rest up for its pigtail matchup; the Warriors will host either Washougal or Ridgefield on Wednesday in a loser-out game.