Columbia High outscored Forks by 10 points in the middle quarters but mustered only four points in the first and last periods of a 38-26 loss in a Southwest District Class 1A play-in game Feb. 17 at Castle Rock.
Senior center Lacey Kruse scored nine points to lead the Bruins, who finished the 2008-09 season with a 10-11 record under coach Mike Yarnell.
Forks took control of the contest in the first quarter, riding the scoring of Bren Billett (eight points) to a 13-2 advantage.
Columbia got back in the game in the second stanza, however, by cleaning up on the offensive backboard and limiting Forks' second-chance opportunities at the defensive end.
By the time halftime arrived, the Bruins had pulled within 17-15.
Freshman Aleigha Rude came off the bench in the second quarter to spark the Bruins with six points. Junior Adrianne DeLay added a 3-pointer, and Kruse and senior Michelle McMillen each put in two.
Columbia carried the momentum over to the third quarter, outscoring Forks, 9-8, to make it a 25-24 game entering the final eight minutes of action.
Kruse tallied five points, DeLay netted another 3-pointer and freshman Taryn Struck made a free throw to key CHS's post-intermission surge.
But, in the fourth, whatever ailed the Bruins in the first quarter returned to afflict them in the fourth as the Spartans outscored them, 13-2, to clinch a spot in the district tournament.
BRUINS 26 (2-13-9-2) --
Lacey Kruse 9, Adrianne DeLay 6, Aleigha Rude 6, Michelle McMillen 2, Laurel Huth 2, Taryn Struck 1, Rachel Connolly 0, Adrienne DeVore 0, Heidi Nybroten 0. FGs: (2) 7 (Kruse 4, Rude 3); (3) 2 (DeLay 2). FTs: 6/12, 50.0% (McMillen 2/2, Huth 2/3). Fouls: 6.
SPARTANS 38 (13-4-8-13) --
Bren Billett 14, Paige Kennedy 10, Kylea Allen 4, Mariah Anders 4, Alexa Justus 3, Erica Fonzi 3. FGs: (2) 16 (Billett 6, Kennedy 5); (3) 1 (Fonzi). FTs: 3/4, 75.0% (Billett 2/2). Fouls: 15.
Class 2B District
It was not the scenario Lyle/Wishram coach Chris Barthlow had envisioned for his team's Yakima Valley District Tournament game last Saturday in Yakima: An underdog weakened by illness taking on the district's Goliath.
"Playing a team the caliber of La Salle with a full team is very hard, and going in shorthanded made it even harder for us," Barthlow said following the Cougars' season-ending 60-20 loss to the Lightning.
La Salle struck for 18 points in the first quarter and 20 in the second in building an insurmountable 38-13 halftime bulge.
Still, Barthlow found reason for optimism in Lyle/Wishram's overall play.
"The girls played a lot better this game than the previous two against La Salle," he noted. "We ran a great offense, had some good looks at the basket, but we just couldn't get the ball in the hoop."
Lyle/Wishram shot 20 percent (6/30) from the field for the game, but was 8 for 12 (66.7 percent) from the line.
Sophomore Karlee Roth paced the Cougars with eight points, sophomore Callie Thysell added five and senior Tosha Cloud chipped in four.
Senior Lexi Becker, who practice just one day last week because of illness, led Lyle/Wishram around the basket with 11 rebounds and also played solid defensively in the middle of the Cougars' zones. Cloud furnished seven rebounds and sophomore Brittany Price collected five. (Lyle/Wishram's third senior, Jennifer Benash, was too ill to play last Saturday.)
The Cougars completed their 2008-09 season with a 6-15 record.
"We had a tough season, yet it seemed whereever we went, whoever we played always complimented the girls for playing tough and not letting down," Barthlow noted. "I'm proud of the way the girls played and handled themselves on the court this year, and I look forward to those returning next year."