Columbia High's girls basketball varsity firmed up its second-place SWW 1A Trico Division standing last week with victories at home over Ilwaco and Castle Rock.
And, with just four games remaining in the regular season, the Bruins are all but assured of qualifying for their second consecutive Southwest District tournament.
Their 51-46 come-from-behind win against Ilwaco on Jan. 22 was their second of the season over the third-place Fishermen, who now trail the Bruins by a full two games in Trico standings (5-3 to 7-1).
Columbia pulled off the win by outscoring Ilwaco, 20-11, in the fourth quarter.
The Bruins took the lead for good at the 4:43 mark on a 3-pointer by Laurel Huth that broke a 37-all tie and ignited a 12-1 run that gave CHS its biggest lead at 49-38.
The closest Ilwaco got after that was 50-46 with 16 seconds remaining.
Lacey Kruse scored six of her team-best 15 points in the fourth quarter to spark the Bruins' comeback and finished with a game-high 18 rebounds. She also recorded six of CHS's 13 steals.
Ericka Ziegler added 12 points and eight rebounds, Michelle McMillen furnished five points and five rebounds, and Shannon McNallan tallied four rebounds, five points and six steals.
In addition, Huth and Adrianne DeLay each netted six points--both scored a pair of 3-pointers--and three assists.
For the Fishermen, Lanie Kary did it all, totaling 22 points, 14 rebounds, five assists, four blocks and three steals. Vallori Crowston chipped in 12 points, five assists and four steals.
At Columbia High 65, Castle Rock 54:
The Bruins closed out the first quarter of last Thursday's Trico game with an 11-1 run and later led by as many as 20 points.
Ericka Ziegler scored a game-high 26 points and had 19 rebounds and four steals for Columbia, which led 19-7 after one quarter, 34-21 at halftime and 49-36 through three quarters.
Shannon McNallan also was active for the Bruins. She put in nine points, grabbed eight rebounds, made six steals and passed for three assists. Lacey Kruse chipped in with 11 points and five rebounds.
Columbia's keys to victory were a defense that caused 17 turnovers and a rebounding effort that produced 17 offensive rebounds and 12 second-chance points.
Lacey Seidl scored 19 points for Castle Rock, which enjoyed its only leads of the game at 3-0 and 3-2 early in the first quarter. There was also one tie, at 4-4, with 5:28 to go in the opening period.
Three of Columbia's last four games are away. The Bruins go to Kalama tonight and to La Center next Tuesday, then complete their 20-game regular-season schedule with a Senior Night home game against Rochester on Feb. 8.