Photo by Larry Bale Willapa Valley's Karli Friese Beast Mode's her way to the basket against Napavine. Friese was named the Pacific League's MVP.
By GEORGE KUNKE
Willapa Valley is headed to the 16-team regional tournament format with a chance to go to State this weekend. The Vikings (19-5) of first-year head coach and Pacific League Coach of the Year Matt Bannish play this Saturday at 4 p.m. in Ellensburg against highly regarded Northwest Christian of Colbert.
Valley got its regional berth by defeating Pe Ell 35-26 at W.F. West High School in the District IV tournament.
“Well, it wasn't the prettiest basketball game, but it was a win that gives us an opportunity to advance to regionals,” Coach Bannish told the Herald. “Qualifying for regionals was one our team goals we set at the beginning of the year. I am very happy for the girls and appreciate all of their hard work.
“We continued to struggle offensively today, but scored enough to pull out the win,” Bannish said.
“Sydney Wilkeson played great defense on Kayla Capps, Pe Ell's top offensive player,” Bannish noted. “Karli Friese (Pacific League MVP) scored all of her 13 points in the second half and Mackenzie Trotter gave us some good minutes off the bench,” Bannish added.
Valley led 13-4 after the first quarter, but was in front just 17-14 at halftime and 20-14 heading into the final quarter.
Brooke Harden collected 7 rebounds and blocked 2 shots. Friese took down 8 caroms. The Vikings turned the ball over 10 times.
Morton-White Pass 53,
Willapa Valley 44
Willapa Valley was defeated by high-powered Morton-White Pass 53-44 in the semifinal game last Tuesday (Feb. 18) night at W.F. West.
“We got off to a real poor start in the first quarter. shooting 1 of 15, thus scoring only three points in the quarter,” Bannish pointed out. “We did a nice job to battle back and tie the game at 40 with 4 minutes to play. We expended a lot energy during a 17-2 run and sort of ran out of gas at the end. We had some opportunities but missed some easy shots and free throws at crucial times.”
Friese paced the Vikes with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Alicia Smaciarz pumped in 11 points, and Lauren Friese scored 9 points and made 3 steals. Valley committed 7 turnovers. Napavine 62, Valley 49
Napavine outscored Willapa Valley 38-24 in the second half to erase a 25-24 halftime deficit to defeat the Vikings 62-49 Thursday night at Rochester. “I feel we let a golden opportunity to punch our ticket to regional slip tonight,” Bannish told the Herald. “We failed to make defensive adjustments and lost our composure in the third quarter, where the game was pretty much decided. We are a better team than we displayed in the second half tonight.
“Lauren Friese had an amazing game with 18 points and 16 rebounds,” Bannish noted.
Karli Friese scored 13 points and snared 11 rebounds, and Harden scored 10 and blocked 2 shots.
NW Christian 42, Raymond 41
Raymond's season ended with a 42-41 loss versus Northwest Christian of Lacey at the District IV tournament in Montesano last Monday (Feb. 17). First Team all-Pacific League Hailee Williams shot in 19 points for the Lady Seagulls. Raymond finished the year with a 14-8 record and a second-place finish in the league.